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Considering 156 1.6TS; what to look for & facelift?

Hi all,
Considering a 156 1.6TS, and as well as the usual newbie concerns over reliability and general running costs (which by the way this forum in equal measure reinforces at times and dispels at others, depending on which thread you view!), I'd like to ask:
(1) Is there anything specific to look out for on the 1.6TS? Is it really that underpowered?

(2) When did the facelift(s) come in, and what are the differences on the facelifts over the pre-facelift models?

(3) Finally, with a baby on the way, I'm weighing up a saloon against a SW...but have heard the SW actually has less space in it, albeit perhaps a more accessible/flexible use of the space...anyone verify this? Are there any specific complaints against the SW?

Very much appreciate any help you guys may be able to give.

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Re: Considering 156 1.6TS; what to look for & facelift?

I don't think the 1.6 is particularly underpowered, not with 120 bhp, which is somewhat more than rival contempories.

There were effectively 2 facelifts, the first in about 2002 gained body coloured bumper trim and door mirrors as well as the info display on the top of the dash and silver dash trim. The second in late 2003 had the 'bignose' restyle by Giugiaro.

I believe, with the seats up and the luggage cover in place the SW does have a slightly smaller boot, but has the flexibility to remove the cover so increasing height and also folding the seats to increase length.

A well looked after one should be as reliable as anything else, as long as the servicing has been carried out in a timely manner.

Good luck with your search

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Re: Considering 156 1.6TS; what to look for & facelift?

I've run one for well over 2 years now. Power is reasonable as the car isn't overly heavy - so it is nippy enough. They love to rev, sound great and, consequently, don't expect startlingly good fuel consumption.

Find a local specialist mechanic. Parts are a bit dearer than Escorts etc., but not horrendous.

Get a well serviced example - get the belt done - make sure you get all the keys with it. Check all the electrics twice.

There are a never ending set of interior specs - so have a look around and see which one you like best.

Finally, if you're looking for an Alfa then you're, to some extent, buying with your heart - but don't be a mug, walk away if she's rough.
Good luck!
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Re: Considering 156 1.6TS; what to look for & facelift?

Why a 1.6 (apart from they're cheap)?

The 2.0ltr Twin Spark is becoming a an all-time classic (if only for the number of cam-belts it's destroyed! )

You'll have much more choice if you look for a nice 2.0 ltr and it'll have just a bit more grunt.

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Re: Considering 156 1.6TS; what to look for & facelift?

Thanks for your comments gents.
Ralf S, it really is just the running costs that's pushing me towards a 1.6. I was previously considering a 2.4jtd to get more mpg, but someone at work has a 1.6 SW and that just made me think about that option.

Steveisfrowning, what kind of mpg do you get from yours (is it a saloon or an SW?); or perhaps more indicative, what does it cost to fiill a tank and how many miles do you get?

Alfaholic, thanks for info on facelifts; will keep an eye out for body-coloured trim and mirrors...hoping to spend around £4k max so it might just squeeze into the reckoning.

This may seem like a daft question, but do you guys think it's better to go for an older example with lower miles, or a newer example with higher miles (all other things being equal ie fsh, general condition etc)

Again, your help & comments very gratefully received.

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Re: Considering 156 1.6TS; what to look for & facelift?

I had a 1.6 - it was nippy enough - loved to rev and did 34mpg combined.

The boot is OK, but a pram will fill it, the SW boot is smeller - but if you only have one kid you fold the seats to help.

Mine was a 2004 with the interior facelift and sold 3 months ago for £4500 with 68K on the clock.

Go higher miles - newer car definitely over an older car.

The ones with the painted rubbing strips and infocentres after late 2002 are th ones to go for, bags more kit and fewer electrical gremlins.

Make sure the timing belt and tensioners were changed every 36,000miles, if not take £500.00 off the price and get it done pronto.
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Re: Considering 156 1.6TS; what to look for & facelift?

Fuel consumption - 30ish depending on right foot. What's strange is that I always seem to get better mileage if I fill her up..........i.e. pro-rata £40 quid seems to last more than 4 times longer than 4x£10. I know part of this may be pschological - but.....

drove from Durham to Devon with juice to spare from a tank and I've just done the sums......say 380 miles and say I had a gallon left....that makes it around 30mpg on the dot, which doesn't sound clever.............but I was driving at 3am.....and made good time!!!!!

one final comment - ride is.....communicative, wind noise noticeable
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