I'm glad I bought it, but probably wouldn't do it again!
Power steering reservoir failed at 110,000 km, causing the steering to fail.
Tailgate release button failed at 115,000 km; can only open the tailgate using the keyfob now.
Headlight bulbs blow regularly (at least five occasions now).
Trip computer selector switch doesn't work.
The glow plug relays & controller needed replacing.
Driving & performance:
Though not quite as engaging as its rear wheel drive rivals, the 159 estate is capable enough, and strikes a good balance between a comfortable ride and responsive handling. The shift action of the six-speed manual is notchy and discourages smooth changes, but you get used to it in the end, and reasonable progress is possible.
The 159 is a relatively heavy car, so even with 150 BHP and 236 lb-ft on tap, performance is adequate rather than really brisk. That said, it never has any problems keeping pace on the motorway, even in the tall sixth gear.
I have never got anywhere near the claimed 48 MPG (UK) combined economy figure. The best I've managed on a long gentle run with no A/C is 44 MPG, and my average figure for mixed driving is around 38 MPG, rising to 40 MPG when driven carefully on long runs.
In the cabin:
In Lusso trim, the 159's cabin is a pleasant place to be. The dials are angled towards the driver for a sporty look, and are clear and easy to read. While not the most modern in appearance, the interior has a classy feel and the car has a decent spec. The leather seats are supportive, easy to adjust, and comfortable. Some of the air con dials feel a little flimsy, but the overall impression is good.
Ah, the perennial Alfa bugbear! Apart from a few niggles, the Alfa really let us down once by breaking down the night before our holidays. The cause: failure of a non-return valve in the power steering reservoir. After three years of Subaru ownership, the Alfa has been quite a shock as parts are quite expensive too.
The 159 is a beautiful car and I love the way it looks.
Being and estate, the Sportwagon has a decent boot and we can squeeze quite a lot into its svelte form. The rear legroom isn't great, though, and it's easy to scratch the rear bumper when loading things into the bag (especially dogs!).
I'd give the 159 3 stars out of 5. It's expensive to run (even as a diesel), and not very reliable, but on the positive side, it's very comfortable and lovely to drive.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 31st August, 2013