Buying (2nd-hand) and Living with Alfa GT
Having just gone through the process of buying a second-hand Alfa GT and now having owned it for a few weeks, I thought it might be useful to pass on my experiences.
I waited quite a long to get the right GT at the right price. To be honest, there are not that many choices to be made in terms of specification and you obviously may have to compromise on some things. Here were my consideration points:
- Engine - Diesel vs. Petrol (did not consider V6 - too thirsty for me)
- Practicality - enough boot space / kids fit in back OK
- Leather vs. Alfatex
- Base vs. Lusso
- Options - parking aid / CD changer / heated seats / BOSE stereo
- Colour - Silver through grey to Black for me.
I decided pretty early on that I wanted a Diesel. My last car was a Diesel and I like the torque / pulling power at low revs. Plus you get the advantage of better mpg. I actually sat down and worked out a year's fuel costs using my average yearly mileage, price of fuel and published combined mpg figures. Even though Diesel is far more expensive at the pump, and a petrol GT was cheaper to buy, it still worked out that the Diesel was cheaper to run. Also the tax is cheaper because of the CO2 output - even more important when the tax goes up next year. And insurance was one group less.
My kids are 8 and 6 and we all went to look at a couple of GTs early on just to make sure the kids fit, and to be honest they are pretty good. My 6 year old is still on a booster seat, so she actually needs slightly more room as her feet will not go under the seat, so she sits on the passenger side.
I decided that I wanted to get a fairly low mileage c40,000 mile mark - as I plan on keeping it a while.
Ideally I wanted 17" wheels, leather and parking aid but eventually ended up with 18" wheels, Alfatex and no park aid.
And then I searched and waited - about 4 months until I found one that I liked.
I mostly referenced the following websites during my search:
- Auto trader
- Exchange and Mart
- Piston heads
- Subscribed to Cars by Mail - feeds from motors.co.uk and others
I ended up with an immaculate 2005 (54) 1.9 JTDm in Stromboli with 40k miles and paid £9000. I guess now we are in the credit crunch and used car prices are sliding, you will be able to pick up similar for less - and if you go petrol and higher mileage you could be talking thousands less.
I have had the GT for about 6 weeks now and still can't wait to get and drive it every time.
It looks fantastic and makes me smile.
- Engine is very good - maybe not quite as punchy as I thought it might be, but still excellent.
- It corners on rails, I can't believe how stable it is.
- Ride is very harsh - not used to it, so takes a little getting used to. Not helped by 18" wheels.
- Driving position - fine for me, I have the seat quite far back, so the high accelerator pedal is not so much of an issue. When my wife drives though, she cannot get the clutch down far enough using the same position, so moves further forward, and then the accelerator pedal is a little awkward. Clutch pedal is quite heavy by the way.
- Rear visibility is fine for forward driving - but is a little awkward when reversing because you really can't see any of the boot area. Plus there is no rear wiper, so in the morning when the window is fogged, you can only see behind using the exterior mirrors.
- Fuel consumption - well I haven't been driving it that frugally - but I got 47mpg on the one long journey I did, and then around 38mpg on the mostly short urban journeys I have driven since.
Alfaowner is a fantastic resource. Pretty well my minor issues have forums on the site, just search for key words:
- Clutch pedal squeak
- Cruise control not working
- Minor oil leak in engine
Also discovered the warnings about JTDm water pumps from various sources. Mine seems OK but will be keeping an eye on it.
Well hope this helps someone else. I feel amazingly lucky to be owning my dream car. If the GT hadn't been as practical, then I would have had to get something more dull and sensible - so the GT does truly combine amazing looks, performance and driving experience with a good level of functionality.
'World's worst optimist'