Took the plunge.
After deliberating for weeks between a Saab 9-3 1.9 TID, a Jaguar X-Type Diesel and other various cars, I took the plunge on Saturday and bought a Alfa 156 JTD 1.9 Veloce Multijet 16v (150bhp).
2005 model in red, 89k on it with FSH every 12,000 miles (this one overdue by 5000 miles though) for £2.5k, which I think is pretty good. Needs a service doing, 2 new tyres, windscreen wipers, bulb in the headlight and 2 fog lights (stone chip smashed I presume). Should cost around £500 but all in I'd say I'd have a lot of car for very little money (car was sold to its previous owner for 4.5k). hope I'm right. Interior is in very good nick aside from the central locking button not working on the drivers arm. Only my second car after having a Focus for the last 3 years, passed me driving test at the grand age of 32.
Just want to say thanks for the advice from posters that I have read already. MVC in Sale can be seen from my flat window so couldn't have asked for a closer specialist. Will be taking it in this week to do the work. Fingers crossed for no nasty surprises.