159 test drive
Took the 159 2.4 JTD for a test drive yesterday and it was absolutely astounding. I had a 156 that I had to change 2 years ago and was worried that the 159 would be a really tamed version of the 156. However, the car was superb. The handling/suspension was really really good (with the traction control on!) and the acceleration from the 2.4 oil burner was astounding. The car was in its element on B roads but also very smooth on the motorway. One slight criticism was the noticeable turbo lag especially in the higher gears. Also, the 'polished aluminium' fascia was really quite bland looking - the serrated aluminium was a much better option and i think this is standard on the 2.4JTD - even though it wasnt present on the test drive model.
The cabin space front and rear is noticeably larger than the 156 and boot space is better, but the boot aperture is still amazingly small. Bizzarely, folding rear seats are an optional extra- £300 I think - isnt that a bit rich for a car that costs >24K?
Rather disappointingly there were quite a few rattles from the car - the most annoying of which sounded like a loose heat shield on the exhaust - a problem i had with my 2001 156. Lets hope the final production cars dont have this problem after a few thousand miles. Also, the low frequency 'judder' from the engine/suspension that occured in the 156 over uneven roads has been tamed, but not totally removed.
All in all, the car is (in my opnion) a huge improvement on the 156 and I'll be ordering one!!