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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I'm absolutely brand new to this forum - so firstly hello to you all.

I am currently chosing a car to replace my current one. (Volvo S60 D5 -for sale if anybody is interested!)

For years I've seen alfa 147s and 156s going by, I have a friend who has a GTV and swears by it, and now I'm wondering - is it time to go for something a bit unusual and different?

I went to look at 156s at a car supermarket a few years ago, same idea in my head. There were about 10 of differing trim levels. ALL had something broken on the interior trim. This really put me off. I then decided not to test drive one for that reason.
I bougtht a VW golf GTI - it never let me down, but it never really blew me away either.

Now, I'm back listening to the voices in my head:
I've checked out the parkers reviews, and thought long and hard about it. I still haven't taken one out for s test drive.

I thought I would do a cyber test drive with people who know about them before I go to my local alfa dealer (Perrys Canterbury).
I've got about 6k to spend.
Can you give me some advice about the 156s:
Reliability issues/running costs/handling and engine? What do I need to know.
Then I look at a golf sized car; the 147.
As above really - what's it like to own one? Are they good?
I have 2 youg kids - will I rue the day I bought this small car, or is it ok for using occasionally with kids in the back?

How do they both fare?

Also, does anybody know an alfa specialist in kent who can maintain any potential car, other than a dealer?
What are the dealers like?

Lots of questions,

Thank you
 

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I think the 156's are great; full of charisma - give a lot of 'feedback' to the driver abd have great handling. The V6 is just a fantastic engine - but if you use its performance then obviously you pay for that at the pumps.

I'd really recommend you test drive one :) :) :)
 

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I have a 147 myself and love it to bits, but there's usually only me or one other person in the car. If I had kids however, I would say its too much of a squash- there's very little leg room in the back. Think your intial gut feeling for the 156 would suit you better for that reason alone.
 

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Kevin Slegg said:
I'd really recommend you test drive one :) :) :)
what he said...only to add ASAP :D

Those 156s at the supermarket must have been mistreated as I've never had anything break on the inside of my Alfas.
As long as the car's been looked after properly and regularly, then it'd be as reliable as anything else, but with the bonus of looking great :)

There does seem to be a dearth of Alfas specialists in Kent...there's some good ones in Surrey/Sussex and S London if not too far from you.

Good luck with your search :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Well,
Thanks to you all for posting really useful replies to my initial question. (I am a member of a volvo owners forum and have never seen such a positive and swift response - has really made me think even more seriously about joining the club abd buying an alfa!)

Now I have to head on to my local dealer and drive as many as possible of the 147/156 and GTVs! Oh, and also need to sell my Volvo S60!! (D5, 2002)
Such a big choice and all sound bl**dy brilliant.

Just one thing:
To selespeed or not to selespeed, that is the question?

I hear so many horror stories about them - should I steer well clear?
Also, what do the trim levels mean.
lusso (Base?), turismo (Middle?), veloce (Top?)

Whatever I get I want a good one that won't cost a fortune to run, and will go like stink, whilst putting a HUGE grin on my face to look at and drive.
Any tips?


I hear so many horror stories about them - should I steer well clear?
Also, what do the trim levels mean.
lusso (Base?), turismo (Middle?), veloce (Top?)

Whatever I get I want a good one that won't cost a fortune to run, and will go like stink, whilst putting a HUGE grin on my face to look at and drive.
Any tips?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
alfaholic said:
There does seem to be a dearth of Alfas specialists in Kent...there's some good ones in Surrey/Sussex and S London if not too far from you.
Is there a list?
I live in Folkestone, are there any nearby that are good?
 

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I have a 156 and think the car is great, fantastic drive, i would say the V6 is the pick really, you get the glorious sound and performance to match.

My Father has a GTV 2.0, i have found this is much quicker than my 1.8, and has a brilliant spec level,you can pick up a really smart 3.0 gtv now for 6k easily.

Only problem with the gtv is the lack of space in the back for your kids. There is no space.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So there I am, looking at Autotrader website and ebay and dreaming of the alfa that I will own.
The I think, maybe I should look at parkers to see what they thing about them.

147 gets a reasonable write-up, and as you all say - rear room isn't the best (but with 2 little kids under 3, that shouldn't be an issue)
GTV - reads well, apart from, aagain,the rear and boot space (but if I get one of these the kids won't be seeing too much of it - my wife's MPV will do more of the lugging about)
156 - argh, looks good apart from, well read for yourself from the parkers review:
"156 was a massive leap forward for Alfa Romeo in terms of build quality. But 156 has had its fair share of problems, including faulty electrics, blown head gaskets and water leaks. This is often a problem in a market that demands perfection.

No, no, no.

Is this really common?
All cars suffer these problems across millions of units, are alfa's more prone?
 
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Water leaks is into the interior....there's a webpage about it here: http://www.flyvholm.dk/wetalfa/ ....head gasket failure is rare and the electrics are pretty good these days.

But, as with any car, they can go wrong!

btw...shame about the Volvo site, we pride ourselves on the warm environment ;) Hope you enjoy your time here :d

wrinx
 

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Lad, you are knacked.

You "should"... at least to find out for yourself if you should or shouldn't have. Otherwise you'll never be able to rest. :D

The '56 is pretty good for reliability. The T/S engine does seem to be fragile but generally only if it's been neglected. It's more "thoroughbred" than "cart-horse" so needs TLC. Look for evidence of a caring previous owner, regular servicing etc. and it should be okay.

A few leaked but that should be sorted by now. Electrics are mostly German but don't let that put you off! :D Once they're fixed they tend to stay fixed.

The cambelt and the oil are the most crucial things on the T/S. Keep the oil at Max, learn how quickly it gets used and top it up accordingly (every fortnight etc.). Cam-belt should be changed along with the tensioners every 36,000 miles. AR say "72k" but a lot don't make it past 56k. There's a debate about whether the belt or the tensioner causes the problems, so don't skimp on the tensioner (it's only a few extra quid in quite a big job).

The v6 is more or less indestructible and does what it says on the tin. I'd say go for one of those as your first Alfa. It may appear more frightening to have more shiny pipes under the bonnet but it's a more user friendly engine.

Check the head gasket and radiator/cooling on the v6. Water pump can be weak. Everything costs £500 plus parts and labour to fix.. but most of the time it'll run and run without major grief.

If you like tinkering your '56 will be reliable. If you need a map and the owner's manual to find your way to the engine, then be afraid (a Toyota Carina may be a better bet). Any AR needs you to tinker with it.. I think that's part of what makes them special cars.. you have to put something of yourself into keeping it running. Enjoy...


Ralf S.
 

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mooonthemoon said:
Also, what do the trim levels mean.
lusso (Base?), turismo (Middle?), veloce (Top?)
Turismo = Touring (entry spec, but still well equipped)
Lusso = Luxury (usually leather and wood and sofa soft suspension)
Veloce = Speed (side skirts, firmer suspension)

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Lol!:lol:

When you say tinkering?

I'm not much of a mechanic, I'm comfortable checking oil, changing bulbs and the like etc
I am always worried that my confidence will overtake my ability when it comes to mechanics and I might actually [email protected] a car up if I started changing plugs etc.

Is the V6 a thirsty beast?
Are they particularly expensive to run?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Update:

I've now contacted my local alfa dealer.
I told him that I'm looking to buy either a GTV, 156 or 147 and would like a test drive.

He said they only have 147s in stock (apparently GTV and 156 are now hard to get hold of - ?????), so will go tomorrow and try a 147.

I'll update on what I think about it. I should be trying a 1.6 and a 2.0.
 

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Whereabouts are you? You might find that there are more cars available at an independant specialist such as Veloces or Black & Whites.
 
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