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Thread: Alfa Romeo 159 – 4,000 mile review

  1. #1
    Regular Member MattB's Avatar
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    Default Alfa Romeo 159 – 4,000 mile review

    After five Vectra SRi 1.9 CDTi 150’s in a row, I thought it time to try something different so in January I took delivery of this:



    It’s an Alfa Romeo 159 1.9 JTDm Lusso.

    Here's my thoughts after 4,000 miles....

    Engine:

    The Vectra 1.9 CDTi engine is in fact the same Fiat unit used in the Alfa 1.9 JTDm. However, the Alfa Romeo is a heavier car (1535kg vs 1456kg) so, while the Alfa still feels brisk, it’s not quite as impressive as the Vectra. The fuel economy is affected too; I average about 38MPG in the Alfa compared to an easy 42MPG in the Vectra on the same roads.

    Ride & Handling:

    My Vectras were all SRi spec and running on 19” snowflakes (or 18” multi-spokes on the last one) so my Vectra experience isn’t typical of the whole range. The Alfa’s handling on 17’s is ‘almost’ as good as my Vectras were and I suspect the Alfa is better than a non-SRi Vectra. Again, I think the differences are down to extra weight.

    The Alfa ride is very good and it seems to soak up speed bumps more impressively.

    Equipment:

    The Alfa has all the extra equipment that my Vectra SRI’s were crying out for; rear electric windows, dual zone climate control, interior night lighting, gas strut on the bonnet, electric folding mirrors, auto lights, auto wipers, rear parking sensors, full leather interior and an electrochromatic rear view mirror. The Alfa does miss the Sat Nav though.



    The stereo is slightly better than the Vectra and the interior does feel like a much more special place to be. The leather feels higher quality and more sumptuous than any car I have ever been in.

    IT:

    The Alfa 159 is shocking in the way the IT systems are integrated. The Vectra brings CD, radio, MP3, navigation, trip computer and Bluetooth phone together very well with the menus on the large central screen. However, the Alfa doesn’t have a large central screen so has to try and cram the CD, radio, MP3, trip computer and Bluetooth phone settings on one little screen between the speedo and rev counter; it doesn’t work very well! Plus the numerous steering wheel controls are over-complicated.

    It all leads to a confusing and frustrating system with multiple menus and difficult to navigate functions. It’s probably as well that the car doesn’t have sat nav! The whole lot can be activated by voice controls but I haven’t made an effort to try and learn all the voice commands yet!

    Reliability & Quality:

    I have never had a breakdown in any Vectra-C (apart from a turbo hose issue on a 2.0T) and likewise the Alfa has been very reliable so far. Actually, the Alfa 159 feels better screwed together and the materials seem to be of a higher quality.

    Conclusion:

    My conclusion is that the Alfa Romeo 159 feels much more special than the Vectra. It’s also better screwed together and better equipped. However, the Vectra provides slightly better performance and economy. It’s just a shame that the Alfa Romeo designers did not consider the IT requirements of a modern car when planning the interior.

    Next Car:

    I have just ordered another Alfa Romeo 159 1.9 JTDm Lusso with a red leather interior. This time I have gone for 18” alloys and black paintwork.



    Apparently Alfa Romeo are going through a weight-loss programme with the 159 and the 2008 build models will be 45KG lighter compared to those built in 2007. I’ll be interested to see how this affects performance and economy when the new car arrives in late April.

    My next comparison will hopefully be Alfa 159 vs Vectra vs Insignia, as I have asked to be informed the minute the Insignia order books open.

  2. #2
    Regular Member Harry's Avatar
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    Nice write up Matt.

    The Alfa also looks better than the Vectra. They've got a great stance and look about them when they're driving around.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Matty H's Avatar
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    Just found this through the link in Dutto1964's Thread.

    Cracking write up. Gotta admit that I love the interior of the Alfa, but disagree with Harry about the exterior looks. I've never seen an Alfa that I've liked the styling of. I don't like the front ends on any of them, so for the Veccy wins by a country mile.

    Lovely motor though Matt. Let us know what you think of the new one you have on order

  4. #4
    Full Member VectraMat's Avatar
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    Nice looking Alfa you got there mate, The interior looks like arealy nice place to sit.

    Gotts agree with Matty H on the looks though, they are getting more and more aggressive looking and its because of that i prefer my vectra. I used to like the look of the old 156 GTA, which i think is one of the best looking Alfas ever but im sure if there was a 159 GTA then i would change my mind.

    Looking forward to seeing the new one Matt.

    VXR Gone - Now in BMW 320cd M Sport Convertible

  5. #5
    Regular Member BlueRob's Avatar
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    Alfa defo is a beauty!
    Did you robed a bank or what! LOL :
    Good good write up mate, I would love to jump in an Alpha soon

  6. #6
    Regular Member AndrewTi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VectraMat View Post
    I used to like the look of the old 156 GTA, which i think is one of the best looking Alfas ever but im sure if there was a 159 GTA then i would change my mind.
    Take a look at www.autolusso.co.uk Looka at the Alfa 159 Ti.

    I took a long hard look while buying the Signum. The only thing that stopped me was the thought of tieing up so much savings in a car, otherwise, it'd have been a black one!

  7. #7
    Regular Member ion's Avatar
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    Interesting write up mate!

  8. #8
    Regular Member steve1975l's Avatar
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    I hated Alfa's until I had to buy a car quickly as a stop gap as I had sold mine. My friend is a car salesman so a cheap trade in car would be good. I got a 156 2.0 and ended up keeping it 6 months. It never let me down and had less rattles than the Audi I had just sold.

    Has the new one arrived? Nice write up.

  9. #9
    Regular Member MattB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve1975l View Post
    I hated Alfa's until I had to buy a car quickly as a stop gap as I had sold mine. My friend is a car salesman so a cheap trade in car would be good. I got a 156 2.0 and ended up keeping it 6 months. It never let me down and had less rattles than the Audi I had just sold.

    Has the new one arrived? Nice write up.
    The new one's not quite here yet. I'm now being told mid to late May.
    My current one has now done 9,000 miles!

  10. #10
    Regular Member glenboy's Avatar
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    Looks a nice motor Matt,be great to see the new car and how it performs.......

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