There has been recently so many annoying rattle posts here, that to keep things in correct perspective I had to post these reliability statistics (taken from Auto-Moto magazine). Facts are based on 13 millions cars checked in Control Technique during 2002 here in France.
Scoring was based on 4 criterias: breaks, steering, mechanical parts (which means other than breaks and steering, i quess) and pollution. (Max points 20)
Toyota RAV4: 17.7 (best of all - but sad news stop here
Fiat Bravo/Brava: 12.5
Audi A4: 12.4 (9th in it's category)
Alfa 156: 11.8 (11th in it's category - same category as A4)
Ford Focus: 11.7
Skoda Octavia: 11.7
Alfa 145/146: 10.6
Audi A6: 10.0
Saab 9-5: 9.8
Volvo 70 series: 9.5
Land Rover Discovery: 7.6
Land Rover Range II: 7.6
147 and 166 have not yet reached Control Technique-age and other Alfas didn't reach the top positions or were too rare to be included.
156 got same excellent points (17.5) from mechanical reliability as toyhota avensis, bmw 3 series and VW Goof. But then 156 scored only 6.7 points from steering department (those front wishbones).
Mechanical reliabily for some other lesser models as a reference...
Merc C-class: 17.3
Merc E-class: 16.6
Audi A4: 15.4
Audi A6: 7.5
Not surprisingly most french cars scored quite well in this study. That may well be partly due to journalist's patriotism or more likely due to the fact that service network for french cars works properly here in France.
Happy first of May and enjoy your beautiful Italian mistresses!
Other Finns will know what I'm going to do soon