Have driven Peugeots, Citroens, Fords, Rovers in the past. I now drive a Seat & a 147. Despite forking out for a few repairs in the 3 years I've had her & seeing her on a recovery truck 3 times, I love her & she's the best car I've had. I'd definitely buy another Alfa - the only thing stopping me at the moment is money or lack of it!
A mate of mine bought a nice looking Focus about a year ago, he's got leather interior etc, but quite honestly the the Alfa feels better, looks better (inside & out), drives better - there really is no comparision. The same can be said for my Seat, but I own that because it's functional the 147 is a bit of a squeeze now with the missus & 2 growing kids!
All I would say is buy one with your head in thinking mode - if you're not happy with it look for another one. Service history is critical - oil consumption can be high (certainly higher than most other cars) so you need to be convinced that it's been checked & topped up. I do mine weekly. Cam belts & tensioners - don't ever be tempted to go over 36K - I did & it cost me! That was before I'd discovered AO tho.
If you get a goodun you'll never regret it - just bear in mind though - at £2K or thereabouts , you will be getting a few items wearing out, so make sure you have a budget for the odd garage bill.
In 3 years I've had to spend out on the following -
Replacement key & programming - Approx £ 175
Slipped timing belt - bebt valves etc as a result - Approx £ 1400
Blown head gasket - wife's fault. Thermostat failed, but she didn't notice the thing had overheated until it was too late! Approx £1200 Also includes water pump & variator done at same time as the belt was off!
Catalytic convertor - Approx £ 185
Crankshaft sensor & brake light switch - Approx £ 85
2 full sets of tyres - Approx £ 300 a set
New pads all round - Approx £ 100
Plus servicing etc
She's worth every penny!