Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland here lad.
147 was my first car (still is). I paid around £4000 for it when it was 5/6 years old. Considering that it was a diesel, limited edition, with low miles and in good condition, I was reasonably ok paying that.
I was very late getting licensed myself and didn't get the car til I was 27/28. Even so, I got a shock when the quotes came in; for my 150 break it cost £1300, paid in full for the first year. Now 4 years later it's around 400/500, renewal is up soon so I'm hoping it comes down a bit more.
The day I got the car the silicon turbo pipe burst, dealer wasn't happy, but he paid to get it replaced. That's something to keep an eye on, if you search for it you'll find threads about it. After that the only problem I had was an EGR valve, which is a simple job to swap out. So for almost 4 years I'd no trouble really.
4 years on now and the car is starting to look and feel a bit dated. I've spent a total of a grand so far this month on servicing/timing belt/replacing bits and pieces. (£90 for a shock, mechanic said was basically a piece of crap). I'll likely be spending more, but it's absolutely a little bit my fault for not spending what I should have when it needed it.
Finding a good Alfa can be like looking for hens teeth, finding one that has been looked after properly is even harder, Though I'm seeing lots of Mitos and Guiliettas now. 147 spare parts are getting a little more awkward to come by without having to pay hefty and/or order in from England. If you're in the south it might be a bit better, though when I was looking for mine it didn't seem that way.
As has been said, don't buy the first one you see, get a nosey around the car (inside, outside and as much underneath as you can, in my case the little clip holding the exhaust had snapped, so I got the dealer to fix it before I'd take it) and take it for a run, you'll need to be insured unless you're getting it from a dealer to test drive, so if you can, instead get someone you trust, who is insured to test it for you. So many people just take their cars to a local for an oil topup and tire kick, just enough to pass an MOT and don't get them serviced properly. So keep an eye out for things held with tape or squeeky sounds. clutch can sound squeeky, I forget if thats normal.
If the car looks like it's been chav'd out with awful alloys and bodykits, I'd avoid it on principle. These are cars you absolutely can modify, but not in the fastnfurious way and young guys with them will rake the **** out of them. Most upgrade recommendations are for suspensions, the odd engine tweak and remap, seen some decent led light options too.
Living with it
It does have a sizeable turning circle, but really I haven't had any issues parking, manoeuvring etc.
Fuel costs are reasonable in any 147 barring the V6 (but even it was considered more economical comparatively iirc).
It will cost more to service and maintain in general than say a ford or a vauxhall etc and might get harder as I said with the parts seeming to get more and more rare. So before you drop money on it, be sure you can live with it.
You'll likely have people telling you this already, but dealers like to slap as much money on a car as they think they can get away with. I got at least a grand off mine before I'd even look at it. Compare prices for the car you want from private sellers, and go to a dealership with that figure in mind. They won't like it, but if you're paying cash you'll have more wiggle room.
Ohohoh, you'll also take a hit on the devaluation, more so that any other car, so bare that in mind. Being brutally honest, if I were you looking for a 147 now I might consider guillietta or mito instead.
I don't know what you're willing to pay, but try to get the newest one you can, I'd even consider getting a 159 instead.