156 - good or bad - help us decide - Alfa Romeo Forum
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156 - good or bad - help us decide

My wife and I are going to look at a 156 2.0 Veloce Sportwagon on Friday that is about six months old. We absolutely love the look of the car, etc but have been put off by the tales of poor reliabilty and Alfa servicing that we have read on the web, particularly on a site called carsurvey.co.uk.

I would be grateful if people would either post their experiences, or e-mail them to me (paul@trojans.co.uk) to help us decide whether to buy one.. We live in Woking, Surrey so would be going to Chertsey or Guildford for servicing.

Many thanks in anticipation
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Darren Marshall
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I bought a second hand 156 2.0 TSPARK SP3 (2000 Model) nearly a year ago with 7,000 miles on the clock. Since then I have put nearly 20,000 miles on it and the only problem I have had is a smashed front fog light!

I love the car, its fast, handles and looks the dogs.


rehan samee
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Hi Paul

I have been driving a 1998 MY 156 (2.5 V6) in Dubai for the last three years. The car has covered 80,000 km from new (60,000 km since I bought it). During this period, the only major work (in the sense that it was outside the recommended service program) that I have carried out at my expense is:

1) Radiator replaced at 65,000 km due to build-up of residue (cost GBP 225).

2) Airconditioner compressor replaced at 75,000 km due to burnt out clutch (cost GBP 300).

I think I could have avoided replacing the radiator if I had taken preventative maintenance precautions like annual flushing (the mean temperature in Dubai is over 40C). The compressor burn-out is probably due to the high ambient temperatures in Dubai as well (it's a common problem with prestige German cars running here as well).

The only "niggling" fault has been a dash rattle, which was traced to excessive sound absorbing material on the front bulkhead. This has been fixed.

Overall, I am a very satisfied Alfa owner and don't expect to change my car for, at least, another couple of years. I know that Alfa will remain my first choice even then.

I would strongly recommend:

1) Using Mobil 1 and changing oil / filter every 5,000 km.

2) On a cold start, letting the car idle for at least 2-3 minutes before putting any strain on the engine.

I hope this is of help to you.

Best regards,

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Hi paul,
I took delivery of my 156 selespeed about 2 weeks ago and was using for less than 24 hrs when the selespeed konk out(the gears can't shift from 2nd to 3rd).The car was sent back to the distributor and they changed a new gear box.However,the problem still persist and subsequently they changed the actuator,and the ECU.Now i'm enjoying the drive of my life [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]))
Peter Tan [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]
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I had no problems at all when I racked up 14,000 miles in 5 all too short months with my 156.Unfortunately I had to give it back when I changed jobs.You are correct that there have been tales of 156 unreliability,in fact we had a bit of a debate with one disgruntled ex 156 owner on this site just recently.I think that the outcome was that an Alfa is no worse than some others in the price range.At the end of the day,you are getting a seriously desirable car for Vectra money.
I notice that you drive a Renault.In our company car fleet the Laguna has often proved to be problematic,more so than the Alfas that we ran.My only advice to first time Alfa owners,is go in to ownership with your eyes wide open,make sure that you find a good dealer and all should be well.
And when you get one, don`t feel silly when you get up in the morning and need to go for a drive for the sheer hell of it! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Some days you`re the statue and some days you`re the pigeon
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My 156 broke down with dodgy engine management system 2 weeks after delivery. Quickly fixed, never gave any more probs. Loved every moment in the 156 but never felt the interior would stand the test of kids and/or pets. People who have had problems with alfas shout louder than those who havent. Doesnt mean there are more them. You dont find many alfa owners complaining of owning one. Those that do never really wanted one, more of accessory for some I think.
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Mike D
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After nearly 2 years of Alfa ownership I'm still not looking around at new cars and that's unusual for me. It's had a few niggles which have annoyed me at the time but you get over that.

When I think about the other cars that I was looking at when I bought the 156 I don't think any of them would have offered the sheer driving pleasure of the 156. With some cars you need an excuse to go for a drive, with my 156 I go for a drive purely for the sake of it.

Ironically the 156 was the least powerful of all the cars that were on my shopping list but it ended up having the greatest "grin factor" and that is the reason I went for the 156.

Unfortunately reliability and build quality seems to be inconsistant with the 156. It's hard to tell if you have a good'un or a lemon just by test driving it. Based on my experience I would go with your gut feeling, let your heart decide.

Mike [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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If all that isnt enough just stand back and look at it, I mean really look.
Have you seen anything else on the road in the same class with its looks,it is beauty personified.
If I hadnt just moved house and wasnt spending money(moan,moan)like it was water
I would be down to my nearest dealer in seconds.
Honest Paul There is no decision. As Mike D says "let your heart decide" and you wont go far wrong. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

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