I've found myself in the market for a car, seeing as my Vauxhall Corsa has been a tremendous let down and the quality of service at my local Vauxhall dealership has been appalling. I've had my eye on the Alfa 147 for some time now and after doing some research on fuel consumption figures, insurance, servicing costs and whatnot, one question has loomed ominously over the beautiful hatchback - reliability.
I've heard varying reviews from people who have claimed their 147s have spent over seven weeks off the road and in garages because of assorted problems from snapped cambelts (the prevalent problem I've seen), air conditioning that has malfunctioned in cold weather, uneven tyre wear from unbalanced wheels, faulty electrics and oil burners. Having said that, I've seen people claim to have had their 147s run perfectly, breezing through every service with flying colours and minimal cost.
I'm looking at buying a 2001-2004 1.6 Lusso model, there are some very good examples with mileage below 30,000 in my area and all are offering very reasonable prices. My question though, is how bad are Alfas when it comes to reliability? I thought that if I should ask anybody for an honest opinion, it should be people with obvious expertise who pay care and attention to their Bellas
I don't claim to know much about car engine mechanics, but my theory so far would be that seeing as the 147/156 engines have such low torque peaks (somewhere around the 2000RPM mark) then their power peaks shouldn't be much further on (3000-3500RPM?) and so excessive revving and thrashing the car about puts unnecessary strain on the engine and the components within, like the cambelt? Just a theory, which could quite likely be irrelevant.
Any other tips/hints/pointers about buying an Alfa would be much appreciated. I'm pretty much set on the 147 because it is a beautiful car, it's Italian design and manufacture (I'm 1/2 Italian) and because for me, the best cars are usually a design of heart, rather than head