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Four Alfas that won’t break your heart

Used Car Feature

Four Alfas that won’t break your heart

Alfa Romeos are known as cars that you buy with your heart rather than your head. With dreadful build quality, deeply flawed designs and appalling reliability being the rule rather than the exception, it is little wonder why. However, Alfas are much better than they used to be – here are four second hand bargains that won’t drive you to the depths of despair.

Alfa Romeo 159        (2005 to present)

The 159 is Alfa’s answer to the BMW 3 series and it makes a very good job of it. Top of its appeal are those ravishing looks with the distinctive triple headlights either side of the classic Alfa grille. It’s comfy, reasonably spacious and comes with bags of kit as standard. The handling is safe rather than scintillating but the ride knocks spots off its German rivals. There’s a range of engines to choose from but I’d pick the 185bhp 2.2 petrol which sounds fantastic or the 200bhp 2.4 diesel which delivers hefty performance. This car is a real bargain, £6500 gets you an 06 model 2.2 petrol with 75k on the clock. Expect to pay another £500 for a similar age 2.4 diesel.

For: Stunning looks, comfort, equipment levels.

Against: Lifeless handling, electrical niggles.


Alfa Romeo GTV Coupé       (1995 to 2005)

The GTV is a 2+2 coupé that is also available as a two seater Spider soft top. Oddly, while it looks sensational as a coupé, it looks distinctly odd as a Spider and removing the roof also turns the handling from bad to terrible. The interior is a lovely place to be and you have a choice of two great engines, a 2.0 litre 150bhp twin spark or a 3.0 litre 220bhp V6. The V6 delivers blistering performance but all that weight in the front makes the handling worse still, choose the compromise you prefer. The GTV is a true Alfa Romeo; the design flaws are many and various. You can’t open the doors in a car park, the turning circle is immense and the driving position is designed for an Orang-utan. They’re good value though; £4500 will buy a V6 ’03 model with about 60k on the clock.

For: Sexy styling, performance, Alfa Romeo character

Against: Handling, total impracticality


Alfa Romeo 166        (1998 to 2005)

The 166 is a big, well equipped executive saloon along the lines of a Mercedes E Class. It doesn’t have the most dramatic styling Alfa Romeo has ever produced but is still a pretty handsome brute. It rides and handles nicely and benefits from those charismatic Alfa petrol engines, though the diesels are a bit weedy if very refined. For some reason, executive car buyers stayed away in their droves making the 166 one of the fastest depreciating cars of all time. These days, £6000 will get you an ‘04 model V6 with modest mileage, luxury motoring at a bargain basement price.

For: Looks, charisma, comfort, value

Against: Mercedes drivers will turn up their noses at you


Alfa Romeo 147        (2000 to 2010)

This car is Alfa’s answer to the Ford Focus – compact, practical yet all wrapped up in a Hugo Boss suit. A base spec 1.6 litre model is a little plain Jane but the 2.0 litre Lusso with leather seats and gorgeous alloys is a car that truly stands out from the crowd. The styling got an upgrade in 2005 and the suit graduated to a Paul Smith. Throw in tidy handling, an easy ride and those peppy engines and you really have a winning formula. Like most Alfas, the 147 depreciates like a sinking stone so £5,000 puts you in a 2006 model with 60k under its belt.

For: Looks, practicality, fun, value

Against: A bit old hat now that the Guilietta has arrived 

Used car review provided by Walmley Pages, Sutton Coldfield community magazine advertising local business to the Sutton Coldfield public


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