- Alfa 159? Or something "sensible"? (warning long boring estate car post)
Afternoon all. I’ve spent what seems like forever looking for a family estate car which will last for a few years, be reasonable to drive, reasonably economical and reliable, and fit two child seats, dog, etc. as well as being bike/camping/etc. friendly. I have been looking at £4-5k, but would go up to £6k.
I’ve whittled it down to:
I’m going for these mainly because they’re bigger and get generally good reviews. BMWs seem to be pricier to service and maintain (although an old 5 series would be nice). Octavia is an option, but would have to get a vrs which might cost a bit to insure.
I’m not going to be doing mega miles (c.10-12k/yr, shopping/local and regular long runs), so am looking mainly at petrols given the age of the cars and apparent likelihood of problems with e.g. DPFs. I wouldn’t rule out a diesel, but the balance of opinion seems to favour petrol.
I am out of the country presently, so will have approximately three days next week to identify, test drive and buy the car (long story). I’m conscious that with such a short time to get out and look I need to be well-organised and focused on what I want, otherwise I’ll end up being sold a pup.
My question to you is: Why shouldn’t I just go and buy the nicest Alfa 159 estate I can find for the money? I mean, look at it! It’s lovely!
Any advice from the hive mind?Posted 6 years agoPJM1974Member
I’ve owned Alfas since 2003 and for the most part, they don’t deserve to be labelled with the usual cliches. Since 1999 they’ve been built with Bosch electrics which has rarely given me any hassle. My 156 V6 had a recurrent problem with air mass meters that was really down to my choice of aftermarket air filter and my 147 twin spark had a problem with a crank sensor recently but otherwise it’s been okay.
Steer clear of main dealers, find a really good specialist and shop around for parts – they aren’t massive expensively expensive – and keep an eye on the service schedule. Suspension parts should be replaced as a matter of course as it’s easier to replace a wishbone than to refit new bushes apparently. It’s tempting to skimp this but you’ll be left with a whopping bill when you need to replace all four wishbones and the track control arms too.
If it were my £6k it would be a diseasal Mondeo… but having said that if I found a 159 TD then I’d have a very hard time talking myself out of it.
And yes, the 159 is gorgeous.Posted 6 years agopedalheadSubscriber
I have an Alfa 159 (saloon) and it’s a peach. Even the 1.9 diesel is quite lively once remapped (allegedly). Mine’s been reliable, though it is only a 59 plate. Handles great, though again mine’s the lowered one on big fat 19″ wheels. If looks are important, there’s nothing in the segment to touch it imho, plus equipment levels are way above the equivalently priced Germans.Posted 6 years agotitusriderMember
My first Car was a 1.6 Tspark 147
second was a Mito
Third will be a 4C
nothing wrong with Alfa’s 🙂
apart from my dad’s 2600 Sprint a few years ago, Money pit!
the Spider he has now is much better
Really like the 159, watch for front tyre wear issues and check out Alfa owner for other stuff to watch forPosted 6 years agojefflSubscriber
I’ve got an Accord Estate. Great care and love it. However they do have a price premium over a Mondeo and there are less of them around. Love mine to drive, had Mondeo as a hire car and whilst ok no where near as nice as the Accord.
Saying that petrols are fairly cheap and you can get the 2 or 2.4 litre. Parts can be a little pricier than Ford and I guess insurance is a little higher to reflect this. Have a look on http://typeaccord.co.uk for loads of useful info.
Mine has been reliable with no issues. By all accounts the Petrols are even better in this respect. I think the only thing that can get a bit wappy is the automatic tailgate which can be expensive. Only other thing is wheel bearings.
I beleive the Mazda 6 is based on the same chassis as a mondeo but for some reason seems to be cheaper, which is good. TBH I don’t think you can really go wrong with any of them.Posted 6 years agorichiethesilverfishMember
I’ve got a 159 Estate, or as Alfa prefer, a Sportwagen.
Its a diesel but its a TI spec 178BHP with all the toys so its pretty pokey and looks amazing.
Its great to drive, not bad on fuel, not bad insurance and not bad tax.
Not the biggest boot of all the estates but still practical.
Mines only a year old so I’m still driving around with my fingers crossed regarding any mechanical issues but it has, so far, been terrific.Posted 6 years agoTurnerGuyMember
Steer clear of main dealers, find a really good specialist
on my third alfa 🙂
make sure your wife can cope with the ride if you get stupid low profiles – I have 17s on a GT and the wife still complains – the ride and handling on my sportspak 156 with 16s was better.
But it gives me an excuse to upgrade the suspension 🙂Posted 6 years agostewartcSubscriber
Saddest part of leaving the UK for me was selling my 159 Sportswagon. If you follow the usual 2nd hand rules (i.e. check the service history etc) you should have no problem. The load space is tricky if looking to put your bike in the back but hey, get a roof rack, its not worth scratching the leather interior.Posted 6 years ago
Alfa’ built since the 156 are as reliable as any other car, in fact my 56 plate Golf gave me more hassle than my 59 plate 159, the only issue recently was the crap dealership support which has been rectified….mostly.doctornickrivieraMember
I loved my mazda 6 until about 65k . Since then it has been a catalogue of problems with the emissions systems and sensors! The dpf is a nightmare… I believe it was on watchdog recently as it can kill the car. Mazda wont admit a problem or recall despite there obviously being an issue. The dealers in my area are a right shower too! Unfortunately mazda has made it very difficult for the independents to access and reset the ecu on the car forcing you into very expensive> £1k trips to the dealers to get dpf issues sorted. Ive had various sensors changed – maf twice and fuel/air sensors but the dpf light keeps on coming on.
So do not buy a diesel mazda 6 estate! It will not do mega miles and its very hard to get issues fixed by the independent garages as independents struggle to reset the ecu.
If i was looking for a 2nd hand diesel estate id go for a 2006 or earlier pre dpf vw passat diesel . See this months what car – they reccomend it because it has no dpf on the 1.9 tdi. To quote what car magazine… “One benefit of buying this age of passat is that the car comes without a particulate filter which helps to cut potential reliability issues”
Dpfs faults are currently an industry wide issue. Its a shame because otherwise my 6 estate (2006) is a great car and i was hoping to get 150 k miles out of it. Now im looking for a new car and seriously considering a hyundai or toyota estate as they have a 5 year warranty.
So my mazda 6 is again at the dealers. Im getting it fixed and then getting rid. I wont sell it on here because i dont want to land you all with a dud. I will never buy another mazda!Posted 6 years agotonyg2003Subscriber
I had two Accord diesels and they were quite reliable until over 90K (I had the first from new and the second one almost from new) when I had manifold and turbo, sensor problems. Well know issues with MkVII Accord. Check out the petrol vs turbo issues list on the type accord forum 173 vs 3700 posts. Says it all. If you aren’t doing too many miles the 2.4 is very good.
The Accord handles well and is much bigger than the Alfa for bike carrying too. Terrible image though! Our MkVIII Accord is a great car too.Posted 6 years agomtbmattMember
Very hard to beat the Mondeo in my opinion, especially the ST models.
They are well equipped, very reliable and good economy for the diesel (not DPF either).
We have had a ST TDCI for over 3 years and it has been a brilliant car, trouble free and great to drive. Just so happen to be selling it (as I have a van, so no longer need a big car) and within your budget as well 😉
We looked at a few, including the Accord and Octavia VRS before deciding on the Mondeo.Posted 6 years agorkk01Member
Kids, Bikes, Dogs & Camping???
You need to be looking at my “For Sale” Ford S-Max…
Has been the perfect family activity / kit car
ETA – as well as being a very versatile car, the S-Max is also a very good car to drive 😀 . Far, far better than the A4 Avant that I (temporarily) have from the company stable… 🙁Posted 6 years agomtbmattMemberexilegeordieMember
Just resurrecting this thread. We currently have a 2004 Subaru WRX Wagon which is getting a little long in the tooth. We love the performance (it has the Prodrive Performance Pack which kicks out about 265bhp), but dislike the agricultural interior and the fact that the boot could be larger to accomodate all of Geordie Junior’s odds and sods.
So, I’ve always liked Alfas (used to own a 146Ti cloverleaf which was a hoot when it wasn’t back at the garage), so was interested in the 159 estate. Does anyone know whether this can be chipped – the petrol models in particular as we don’t do enough miles to warrant a diesel. Is it the usual suspects (Revo), or are there specialists out there?Posted 6 years ago
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