Needs commitment and I didn't have it
"Alfa control" warning light system had a mind of its own - blinking and flashing at random.
Fuel gauge would deviate from empty to full on every roundabout and could not be relied upon. Don't know if this was a fault, or a design intention, but annoying nonetheless.
Indicator switch packed up. Dealer wanted £69 + VAT, but luckily found one in a breaker for a fiver.
An absolute pig to drive in traffic when it would stall and be reluctant to restart. Temp gauge nudged the red on the M25 during rush hour so I pulled over and killed the ignition. Left it half an hour to cool off, and it repaid me by refusing to restart. Towed in and checked out by the local dealer and everything was as it should be. The problem never reoccurred.
Hated the damp - would cough and run on 3 cylinders in the rain and it was an utter pig to start if it had been left out overnight when wet. Always carried a can of WD40.
Clutch started to slip at 50,000 miles. Then found out that nobody wanted to touch it apart from a main dealer, and they wanted (wait for it) £495.00. The clutch on my Astra (at 95,000 miles) cost £110 fitted! You expect some difference between Vauxhall and Alfa repair costs, but nearly 5x the cost?? Come on!
Acquired from a family friend who had owned it from new and had it religiously serviced. But that's no guarantee of trouble free motoring with an Alfa. Despite being mollycoddled by its previous owner, it cost me over £1,000 in maintenance and repairs, and broke down three times in just 6 months / 6,000 miles of running. Lost patience and sold it.
Engine - goes like a 2.0, not a 1.7 and sounds the absolute business.
Handling and steering - as good as front wheel drive gets.
Comfort - it surprised me too. Nice seats, reasonable driving position.
Pretty much everything else: Reliability, niggling faults, knitting needle in bag of marbles gearbox, criminal repair costs, poor build quality.
I remember thinking if only the same care and enthusiasts attention lavished onto the engine and chassis had gone into the whole car, it would have been as close to an affordable dream car as it gets. As it was, engine, chassis and badge apart, I found very little to like about it.
I've never sold a car on so easily though. 7 calls within a day of advertising it and first guy bought it - slipping clutch and all. They obviously got the bug that I failed to catch. There is a fine line between character and unreliability, and for me, this crossed it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 5th August, 2003