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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After my recent and (unfortunately ongoing) separation and forthcoming divorce saga I had had to part with my beautiful 159 2.0Ti SW, a car I had been building up to, owned for 6 months and then had to sell for a 2008 VW Golf Match TDi (105 BHP).

Now don’t get me wrong the Golf was zero trouble in 6 months but it was just a car. Something to take you somewhere you wanted to go without any fuss or bother. It was comfortable, economical (50 mpg+ from every tank, and a range of almost 600 miles), reliable, had a nice DAB stereo, auto light, interior mirror and wipers but suffered from a dreaded disease – dullness. Sorry Golf you just didn’t do anything for me. I washed you once in 6 months, I didn’t care where I parked you, I never glanced back at you or loved you like I did all my previous Alfas.

Yes of course I had a three month period where I was feeling the best and the Golf got me through but that was part of it – this was a car that I was almost forced to accept, a car I had to take to get out of the Alfa I couldn’t afford any longer – in short my separation car. It was doomed to fail.

One day I decided to start looking on Autotrader at various cars that might interest me. The 147, GT and another 159 all of course were candidates. I ruled out a 147 as I had had one and didn’t want to go back there and the Giulietta had succeeded it. The GT I didn’t think would be practical enough – I still have two children to cater to and all the 159s I could afford were high mileage and older than I wanted and being honest I really wanted a Ti again or nothing so that was out too.

Then I remembered the Fiat Bravo and started doing some research on it. Almost all owners reviews on this car were good. Of course What Car and Top Gear etc. were less than glowing but I always try and read as many ‘real’ owners reviews as possible and of course snooped around the Fiat Forum picking up information.

Of course I decided I wanted a Sport model. Hmmm, insurance might be pricey I thought so I rang my current insurers and asked for a quote. ‘£30 extra please Sir.’ Bargain  The hunt was on! What’s this, the 2.0 Multijet replaced the 1.9 in 2009 – great – the same engine I had in my last 159 and wrapped in a lovely looking hatch body............this is getting better.
In my research I find the following complaints:

Noisy engine
Noisy cabin
Awful steering
Poor handling
Poor ride
Cramped rear leg room

Hmmmmmmmmm..... but those reader reviews really rate this car and no-one is complaining about the above. I needed to find one to test.

Most cars I find are going for around £9-£10K. Quick ring to the finance people to check how much the settlement figure on the Golf is. I would owe them a little more than the quotes I was getting for P/X value on the Golf. So I set a budget and kept looking and lo and behold I found a car. A 2009, Black, 2.0 Multijet, Sport, 24000 miles. It came with rear tinted glass, rear reverse sensors, dual climate control, 18’’ alloys, rear electric windows - all are extras over the standard Sport. All for £8995!! My monthly payments went up only slightly even for a man on my reduced means I can afford this.

Ring to the dealer, yes I am interested, deposit down, wait a week, go down, test drive, yes I like it, let’s do a deal. Last Saturday I collected it. It is absolutely perfect inside and out – not a mark on it (so far as I can see at the moment). It looks fantastic IMHO and even better on those 18’’ wheels (tyres for it are reasonable too – I checked prices before I bought the car). Everything works as it should, there are no creaks, rattles, bits of trim falling off, anything loose. The car (at the moment, fingers crossed is perfect). I have had it a few days now and I thought I would give it a review so here is my summary...................

Looks: Fantastic, I turn back and look at it, park it outside my window and stare at it. It looks like a proper car – the Golf was just a box on wheels. It is far better looking than an Astra, Golf, Focus. Better looking than a 147...hmmm.....maybe!??! A Giulietta............maybe???!? Also comes with red painted callipers as standard, tiny roof spoiler and skirts, front fogs, and twin chrome tail pipes– looks great.

Interior: Why do people say it is not on a par with class leaders like ‘the Golf and the Focus’? I don’t get it:confused: First of all the Golf I had had faded plastics inside and plenty of rattles from the dash area and passenger seat. There was lots of hard plastic and the usual standard VW dash. Functional but oh so boring. The Bravo is like getting into an updated 147 – sure the dash MFD is a bit dated but those lovely recessed dials, nicely appointed and finished central console with a slight angle towards the driver make it a treat. The dash is finished in a carbon fibre effect and dash top in a soft plastic material. Nice too look at and touch. I do miss the arm rest from the Golf however and think Fiat should have included one as standard. The glove box is a good size and there is a storage unit under the passenger seat too. The interior seats are finished in black Alcantara with red inserts. The doors cards also feature red inserts. The seats are a little short at the front – I have long legs and it is taken me a little while to get comfy and I have found a good position now. There is no foot rest – slightly annoying too. The car comes with Bluetooth and a USB port – hurrah – I so missed them. The Bluetooth works better than in any 159 I have had, with no need to shout and a clear reception on the phone. The USB port is playing my 32GB stick just fine and is more random with its random function than the Alfa. The Blue and Me paired first time with my Samsung Galaxy Note (got that 2 weeks ago – wow what a great ‘phablet’ ;)

Rear space is slightly less in the legroom section but there is more boot space than the Golf. The doors shut with a ‘thunk’ instead of a weedy hollow sound as on the Golf – once again the Bravo comes across as well built and well screwed together.

Driving it: Plenty of poke from the 2.0 Multijet (it has a DPF ) which develops 165BHP. The gearbox is a 6 speed (bye bye 5-speed Golf) and is slick and precise (the Golf felt like you could feel every gear change). Clutch is just right. Brakes need a firm dab – don’t know if this is something common to the car or something I should get investigated. The car stops well enough but requires a good squeeze on the pedal. The steering is one area the car is heavily criticised on. First of all there is a ‘City’ button on the dash that makes the electric steering finger light for parking in town etc. However once this is turned off the steering is fine to me. The wheel does a slight tendency to self-centre but it is not overly light as has been reported and it is far better than the Audi A3 I once test drove. In that thing I couldn’t feel a thing. There is plenty of feedback from the Fiats wheel but not quite the same as the 159 but nowhere as bad as the popular press would have us believe. The ride is well, erm, firm!! Obviously the 18’’ wheels make this a little worse but yes over the rutted city streets of Liverpool it is crashy – no worse than a 147 Ducati Sport or a GT Cloverleaf – so you get the idea. The chassis is from that era so not up to the refinement of the 159. Some of that feel does transmit into the cabin so although I can cope with this my children might not appreciate it. Cornering is again no worse than a 159 and better than the Golf which had lots of understeer and body roll.
The Golf was probably the most comfortable and laid back car I have ever driven however. Having said that the Bravo is relaxed on the motorway. The engine is quiet and refined and does not intrude; even at idle it is at acceptable levels of ‘dieselness’. The only obtrusive sound is tyre roar – again the optional 18’’ wheels and tyres don’t help here and I wonder if a change of rubber might help.

The stereo is the best I have had in a car – I don’t know what make it is but it looks like perhaps a Sony. The finish on it is lovely too; sort of a rich red/brown. The sound is rich and full even using the USB stick. CDs sound even better. No DAB like in the Golf – that was a nice touch to be fair as all CD song titles came up and the same with songs on the radio stations. The loudness function means is adjustable to a number of levels meaning that the audio rises and falls with car speed – I know the 159 stereo has this but it was either on or off. As I said before the Blue and Me paired first time and phone call quality is good, far better than in my 159’s. There is two cup holders front and rear and dual zone climate control which works just like the 159. Nice touches are the sport alloy pedals, full set of Bravo branded car mats, tiny lights recessed into the interior door handles and also two in the overhead light console, giving a nice warming orange glow at night. White instrument dials in deep set individual settings too, electric windows all round.

So as you might tell I am very satisfied with my purchase and think this is a car I can run for a few years before looking around again (I always say this however :lol:). It feels like I am in a proper car again, one that turns heads and stands out from the norm and is quietly confident in itself. The Bravo is very under rated. I don’t know what the ride is like on the non-Sport cars but besides this and the wish I still had an auto dipping rear mirror and wipers I am happy. Oh and it is giving me 46.5 mpg at the moment. The Golf was giving 50mpg per tank; both are in the same tax band too.
 

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I read this on another forum ;)

I really like ours, it has been fantastic (still is), and is used as a real workhorse (purchased in Oct 2007, now on 128k miles). Keep wobbling towards a Giulietta to replace it but since there is NOTHING wrong with it I cant justify it at all! (Its still on its original front discs :wow:)
 

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Yes...I rather like the Bravo. I thinks if Alfa was bought by VW .. or some other calamity.. I'd probably defect and have a Bravo.

Or I still might anyway.. :)


Ralf S.
 

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Photos :rant::lol:;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's durty but here is a garage one
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes...I rather like the Bravo. I thinks if Alfa was bought by VW .. or some other calamity.. I'd probably defect and have a Bravo.

Or I still might anyway.. :)


Ralf S.
I can recommend one :thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
cheers Damo. I am enjoying it more and more and as it's parked just outside my bedroom window I keep just standing there and staring at it - soooooooo much better than the poor ole Golf
 

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Yeah, nice :thumbs::)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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Just caught up with this thread. My wife has a Bravo TJet Sport and it is a cracking wee car. :thumbs:

The car is a June 2007 ex Fiat fleet car which we bought in July 2008 with just under 6,000 miles on it.

It's the same metallic red as is used on the Giulietta and it has the standard 17" two tone alloys (which are now powder coated black - long story). The only faults so far are a small coolant leak which turned out to be a leaking banjo bolt, a faulty anti-pinch sensor in the passenger side electric window which was fixed under warranty and a noisy front wheel bearing which was probably down to the wife clobbering that wheel off a kerb.

Interesting that PR is still on the original discs, as I had to replace the front discs a short while ago (around 33,000 mile mark). I had replaced the pads last year with Mintex and it seems they were pretty hard on the OEM discs. I've now got Brembo discs and pads on the front and they are excellent. Braking initially lacks bite and they do need a reasonably firm shove but are very effective.

Recently had a bad noise and slight vibration from the front and worried it might have been a drive shaft or CV joint but turned out it was the Goodyear Eagle F1s needed replaced.

Just put new Eagle F1 AS2s on the front and had the wheel alignment checked/adjusted and the wee car is running sweet.

Personally I find the steering and clutch action very light and not as good as any Alfa I've driven (MiTo included). There is a Sport button on the dash rather than a City button and has a similar function to D mode on Alfa's DNA (sharper throttle, slightly more torque and beefier steering feel) but even then the steering isn't as good as the Giulietta.

I love that little 1.4 turbo engine though. Sounds rorty but it does run out of breath a bit above 5000 rpm.

I've tried to talk the wife into a MiTo and more recently a Giulietta but she loves the Bravo so much she's adamant it's staying :lol:.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for your input Jon - might look into the Brembo brake solution and hopefully that will sharpen them up a tad. Funny that my car doesn't have the 'sport' button:confused: Perhaps they deleted it on later models:confused:
 
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