I would suggest looking at the 2.4 150hp engine as in my experience (vauxhall vectra & Saab 9-3) the 1.9 16v engine is far more fussy and I believe slightly higher stressed than the more simple 2.4. I also don't believe that fuel efficiency is actually very different either. Possibly that is due to the way you drive them as the 2.4 doesn't need to be worked as hard.....
Totally agree. I've ran the following in the last 8 years:
156 1.9 8v 115bhp
156 1.9 16v 140bhp
156 1.9 16v 150 bhp (and remap)
156 2.4 10v 136bhp (and remap)
156 2.4 10v 140bhp
156 2.4 10v 150bhp x 3 (1 x remapped)
156 2.4 20v 175bhp (tweaked turbo & exhaust, awaiting remap) my current vehicle.
My pick of the bunch is without a doubt the 2.4 10v, in 150bhp guise (facelift interior). I wouldn't say the 1.9 16v engine is far more fussy. Its a bit more fussy, but still not a particularly fussy engine. The 10v though is absolutely rock solid, and in my opinion anyway a much more pleasant drive. Bags more grunt off-boost, better sound, similar fuel efficiency, all of which more than makes up for the extra 30kg in the engine bay and a bit more in road tax.
Sorry but the bit about the 20v above is pure garbage.........
Very fast, can hit high 50's mpg and never touched a drive shaft in nearly 100k miles
Artermis - do you have experience of running a 20v - or just adding hearsay to the thread? I will give you credit, the rest of what you say makes sense though
My 20v with full service history looks to have had a pair of driveshafts in 160k miles - which is fair enough really. The spider bearings are now available, so as long as you catch it quickly you can repair your driveshafts for thereabouts £100 a side in parts when needed. My clutch and flywheel is still original, amazingly! DMFs are mega expensive on the 20v though, about £600+! 1.9 8v, 16v and 2.4 10v all share the same £300 part.