159 Estate - any good as a long term drive? - Alfa Romeo Forum
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159 Estate - any good as a long term drive?

Hi,

I am looking to get rid of my Audi A6 saloon as it is now impractical for my hobby and family (triathlon needs bike space, and roof bars ruin the audi roof with a scuffed footprint, and need an estate for the new dog).

I have had a quick look over ebay and autotrader at what 159 estates are available, and am a little fuzzy over what to look at/for.

The car would be used to get me around the country as a consultant engineer (visit clients about 1-2 per month) so would be doing around 15-18k miles per year (so started with the 19 & 2.4 diesels).

Obviously, modern diesels come at a price (egr, dpf, etc), but what sort of reliability, economy, performance would I expect from either? WOuld the 2.4 be up over £250/year road tax?

What are they like for bodywork & similar, any "standard" failings to watch out for?

was looking to spend around £5k, but could squeeze up to £8k if something really nice were to be available. any pointers from you knowledgeable lot would be very much appreciated.

Also looking at volvo v50/70, merc c or e estate, audi a6 estate, mitsubishi outlander

Cheers,

Pete
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(Post Link) post #2 of 44 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Hi Pete,

I have a saloon 1.9. A few bits from me (that will probably be relevant to the wagon).

A big thing to look for is the condition of the subframe, the 159's rust really badly here.

The 2.4, (I don't think) is overly economical, however it is a much nicer engine to live with. The 1.9 has a M32 gearbox (well known as the cheese grater ), it's a failing point for the car as the gear bearings go and need replacing. I had mine done last year at only 58k miles. You'll know if a car as this issue as you'll hear a whine.
There is a specialist is Halifax that fixes these for around £300, I live in Cornwall and managed to find a good gearbox specialist that did mine (and the a new clutch) for £600.

Hope this helps

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Hi Karl,

thanks for the honest pointers! I would be looking for an auto box, and it seems "q-tronic" is the box in the auto 159s, I don't suppose yours is the q-tronic, or are they a bit like the TCT box where it is a manual conversion box (or so I have been led to believe of the TCT).

Cheers,

Pete
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Top suspension arms wear quickly and are prone to knock. Lower arms arenít much better although slightly more reliable.
Wheel alignment and tyre wear is another issue so that needs to have been sorted ideally or itís new tyres every 3/5000 miles if your lucky.

These cars are by no means unreliable but having some mechanical knowledge and capability certainly helps. They need a cuddle from time to time 😂
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efcbluepete View Post
Hi Karl,



thanks for the honest pointers! I would be looking for an auto box, and it seems "q-tronic" is the box in the auto 159s, I don't suppose yours is the q-tronic, or are they a bit like the TCT box where it is a manual conversion box (or so I have been led to believe of the TCT).



Cheers,



Pete
Mines a manual.

Agree with the tyre wear, though (depending on what brand you get) you should get more that 5k. I've got Michelin Effecientgrip, think when I looked I got about 12k out of the fronts, they wear bald on the inside wall when I had then replaced, and this was after having laser alignment to the recommended settings from on here.
If you're looking at the Ti's the 19" alloys don't give a lot of options for tyres (£££), I went for a Lusso because of this.

I've had mine for 5 years (although she's up for sale). I've not really had anything go majorly wrong with her apart from wear and tear items, think the only 2 things have been the gearbox and a window motor which just stopped working. She's only just hit 70k on an 09 plate.

I'll be sad to see her go, but she did bring me to the love of Alfa's.
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I've got a 159 saloon and echo the comments about the M32 gearbox, top arms and tyre wear. Mine is a 1750 TBi (petrol) but my comments below are still relevant.

Tyre wear is a really simple fix - get a 4 wheel alignment carried out (£50-£60 ish) and ask the garage to set the front toe to 0. There's a huge thread about this on the forum. You'll sacrifice a bit of high speed stability (which won't affect the vast majority of drivers anyway), but you'll notice a huge improvement on inner front tyre wear.

The gearbox is a weak point, but again can be mitigated to a certain extent by replacing the gearbox fluid and overfilling slightly. The M32 (from what I can gather) is a poor design in that some of the gearbox bearings aren't lubricated properly. I think the recommended fill is just under 3 litres, but a lot of people overfill and put a full 3 litres in. The M32 box also can't handle a boatload of torque, so be careful if planning to remap etc. As has already been mentioned, even if you have 'the whine' it's not the end of the World as there's a garage (A & S Clutch Technologies) in Halifax who can do a full in-situ bearing replacement for under £300.

The upper front arms on mine started knocking after the car hit 79,000 miles (it's on 79,950 now). I've just had the upper and lower arms replaced on both sides so they should last another 70k (way longer than I intend to have the car!)..

From my short experience with my 159, they are built like a tank! They don't really suffer with any reliability issues which aren't common with any other car of a similar age. The key is to look after them and service them regularly (don't skimp on servicing!). Find one which has been well looked after and, unless you're really unlucky, you won't have any issues. Plus, at the end of the day it's a 159... Arguably one of the best looking cars of recent years..!
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How big is the dog? The SW has a raised lip on the rear loading bay which would be difficult to jump up to. I don't have roof bars ,but use roof bars directly fixed to the roof. They work very well for carrying cycles. They don't leave scuff marks.
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He's a big dog, so after looking at pics of 159sw I see what you mean about the lip, but I guess my dog would be more of a worry with regard to ducking under as he jumps in. I notice on some 159sw there are roof bars, and on some there are not, so I guess it is a bit of pot-luck as to what trim specs are about when I finally do part with my cash.

thanks,

Pete
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Roof bars were not part of trim specs, but an independant option.

Regarding size, the 159 SW is not that big, so if you want to put your bike in the boot, take it with you when you go visit the car. The 159SW is clearly smaller than an A6, or V70. But bigger than the V50.
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Everyone pretty much covered the basics - the opening at the rear is a different shape than the cargo compartment itself and a bit smaller too, with the famous lip (other "sporty wagons", like the 3-Series Touring, share the same characteristic - I guess to improve body rigidity).

As for the engines, if you have to go diesel the 2.4 is got plenty of power; At the time it was one of the most powerful diesel engines in relation to its capacity, and at 7.4s to go from 0-60 it can be quite engaging. Also, the gearbox is a more robust F40, without the issues plaguing the M32 on the 1.9 - and it's a much more pleasant 'box to operate too.

Probably better still if you're looking for a 4-pot (the 2.4 is a 5 cylinders), you want to look at the newer and relatively rarer 2.0 JTDm with 170HP - it's a revised engine, more efficient and it also comes with an F40 gearbox.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H3llR4iser View Post
Everyone pretty much covered the basics - the opening at the rear is a different shape than the cargo compartment itself and a bit smaller too, with the famous lip (other "sporty wagons", like the 3-Series Touring, share the same characteristic - I guess to improve body rigidity).

As for the engines, if you have to go diesel the 2.4 is got plenty of power; At the time it was one of the most powerful diesel engines in relation to its capacity, and at 7.4s to go from 0-60 it can be quite engaging. Also, the gearbox is a more robust F40, without the issues plaguing the M32 on the 1.9 - and it's a much more pleasant 'box to operate too.

Probably better still if you're looking for a 4-pot (the 2.4 is a 5 cylinders), you want to look at the newer and relatively rarer 2.0 JTDm with 170HP - it's a revised engine, more efficient and it also comes with an F40 gearbox.
I'd echo this about the 2.0 170HP - I'd have been looking at one if I'd been doing a longer commute although I'm certainly far from disappointed by the TBi engine

As others have said, it's a great car and you just need to decide if the "limitations" of loading are an issue or not. Maybe get your dog a ramp ;-)

It's not the tallest car (which is partly why it looks so good) and whilst I have the Ti, it has the Lusso front suspension. If you traverse many high speed bumps, be careful of a standard Ti. I have driven other estates including a brand new V90 CC but even they are sporting in style. If size is a big issue, an E-Class or A6 Estate may be more your thing, but it may be more expensive to run and won't be as much fun... or anywhere near as good looking. There are a couple on Autotrader including at LoveAlfa in Birmingham.

If dimensions are important, I came across the following website that was very useful checking things like prams would fit...

https://www.ridc.org.uk/content/car-search
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I have a Ridgeback and there is no way she would fit in the back of my sw. The 159 SW is not really a full on estate. It's somewhere between a large hatch and an estate. It has a style and presence that it's competition simply can't match, but the compromise is its level of versatility. Roof rails were not standard so most don't have them. The Thule wingbars work well on cars without roof rails. A towbar carrier is an option as well.

With a large dog , you really need a flat (no lip or minimal lip) loading area with a wide tailgate opening.
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I'd not even seen the 2.0 diesel, and now having removed the auto box filter from my trader search a few appeared. Seem to be a good mix of economy and performance.

Just whether I can get used to a manual box again (I do frequently drive my son's old fabia manual, so not like I've forgotten), or if any auto boxes come up on ebay or trader (I've been spoiled by the A6 with auto everything, but am set on getting a dog carrier with the hope of roof bars for roof rack bike carrying, or tow bar bike carrier).

I am drawn to the 159 just because it is a very good looking car, and even the 156 is a distinctive car, just not sure about the age of them, though.


Cheers,

Pete
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efcbluepete View Post
I'd not even seen the 2.0 diesel, and now having removed the auto box filter from my trader search a few appeared. Seem to be a good mix of economy and performance.

Just whether I can get used to a manual box again (I do frequently drive my son's old fabia manual, so not like I've forgotten), or if any auto boxes come up on ebay or trader (I've been spoiled by the A6 with auto everything, but am set on getting a dog carrier with the hope of roof bars for roof rack bike carrying, or tow bar bike carrier).

I am drawn to the 159 just because it is a very good looking car, and even the 156 is a distinctive car, just not sure about the age of them, though.


Cheers,

Pete
I had a 156 saloon and if you that's even tighter on space (plus the 159 is better built and better looking)
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The last 159s are getting on for 9 years now and if you have a second car to use if there should be an issue with the Alfa....
Not because itís an Alfa but itís getting on a bit. How about a Giulietta with a roof rack?
The boots are probably about the same size!
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I have to declare that I'm probably biased as my wife has a 170 2.0jtdm Ti SW. As well as everything else that has been said about the 2.0 diesel, its also true to say that it is much more reliable than the 1.9 and 2.4 diesels as the re design of the diesel particulate filter and EGR make them pretty much trouble free in this respect. MPG is much better than the 2.4 and performance of the 170 isn't that far behind the. A may be wrong here but i'm not sure about the quoted 0-60 in 7.4 for the 2.4. Everything I've read suggests its 8.4 with the 170 2.0 being 8.0secs. The 5 cylinder 2.4 does make a pleasant sound for a Diesel though
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Having had a SW aswell as having a fairly large hound I would say you will struggle with a 159, I currently have a Giulietta and a 5 series touring. The dog goes in both but the beemer is better suited.
Also having owned Alfa and German marks in my opinion you would miss the Audi for the interior quality and spec,granted the Alfa looks nice with better styling etc but interior wise it is lacking.
Have you considered an avant version of the Audi as that would be better suited for the dog and your cycling. Plus I know I will get slated for this but the Audi at the age of Alfa you are looking at will provide less trouble than the Alfa.
I am not slagging the 159 off but they do throw up some repairs,if you can do work yourself (as I do) it’s not so much of a problem but if you are relying on garages it could be expensive.
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We have a 2.4 SW Ti. Bought it with 40k on the clock, now at 125k

With 2 German Shepherds, we have no problems getting them both in the boot. The younger one just flies in, and the older one (10) sticks itís front paws on the lip and we boost its backside in. Dogs will fit in an absurdly small space - if youíve ever seen travelling kennels for show dogs, youíll get the idea.

Bikes will fit in the back, but then bikes fit in the back of anything - I used to regularly have a bike in the back of an Alfetta GTV (2 door), tri-bars and all.

As a long distance machine, it is very good. Less satisfying punting it down small lanes, but thatís not what it is good at.

Maintenance - it will be a 10 year old car (says the bloke doing 25k a year in a 20 year old car.....). It helps a lot if you can do some of the small jobs yourself. Ours has chucked some big bills for the engine (turbo, inlet manifold, clutch & DMF) but is remapped to pretty much the limit and is driven accordingly. It has never let us down - what you notice is something is not quite right, and you take it in. When it is on song, it is a very civilised place to be.

Economy? Driven sensibly the 2.4 will do 45 mpg average. Itís hard to drive it sensibly....
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If possible, get a 2.0 JTDm, better all round for reliability, far fewer though! Also have a read:
https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?url...8&share_type=t


Definitive 159/ Brera Buyers Guide

Sent from my SM-T800 using Tapatalk
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We have a 2.4 SW Ti. Bought it with 40k on the clock, now at 125k


Economy? Driven sensibly the 2.4 will do 45 mpg average. It’s hard to drive it sensibly....

Really?...well I don't know anyone who gets close to that on the 2.4...just search this forum. Most average around around 30 and might get somewhere between there and 35 if they are driving Miss Daisy around! The 2.0 is much more economical and I only get around 43 in that on my 12 mile commute and 45 to 50 in a longish motorway trip. Trying really hard driving to Wales last year I got 53 measured tank top to tank top. The 2.4 was not engineered for economy. Just think of it as not to uneconomical for a 200/210 car...nothing more. These days most 200 brake petrol engines return better mpg. The 1750 TBi gets close to the same figures if driven sensibly.
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If you do go hunt for a 2.0 for fuel economy reasons, then find an ECO version with longer end gearing.

Mine (non-eco) isnít close on average, to whatís being promised by the manual. Probably also due to the wider Ti spec tires and more heavy interior (seats).

But I also do rather short trips of just 20 KM in the mornings and evenings back. I usually get 14.5 KM/L on a full tank. Longer hauls, driving within all speed limits (100 - 120kph over here, but busy traffic), itís somewhere between 17.5 and 15.5 KM/L. The 4.9 litres promised by the book for 100 KM distance is only achieveable when driving with a velvet right foot and stress not to ruin your fuel economy
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what size frame do you ride?
I can get my 54cm road frame in the SW boot (seats still upright) with both wheels off - the derailleur fits neatly into the cubby whole on the pass side.

We've just sold our TBi SW but it was/is a great car with a good size boot. We only used the roof carriers once (i'm too precious about my bikes) but if you want the rails, make sure you get one with them fitted as you cannot readily retrofit them!
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You could even put them on the roof!
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Thank you all for the interesting, and sometimes contradictory, thoughts and comments. I need to look at seeing one in the flesh at a 2nd hand dealer forecourt or similar to see if I think my large staffie x-breed will go comfortably in the back, and if I am ok with roof bars (will definitely need to have pre-fitted roof rails if I decide to carry bikes on top) for the bikes.

Practicality of a bigger estate or SUV vs the looks of a 159, that is something I need to resolve in my head.

thanks again,

Pete
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Hi Pete. Where are you based? There may be someone on here near to you who could let you have a look. I'm based near Doncaster if that's any good to you.
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