The mail on Alfa
Its form is franked— as far as the 159 goes, it’s not all bad news
easily read, and controls spread around in a way that is logical and makes them easy to use.
The front seats, however, won’t be for everyone. They are supportive but the heavily contoured shape will suit some bodies, not others.
From behind the wheel, the limitations of the 159’s vision become clear. The high tail and thick pillars make vision from the driver’s seat an issue.
Rusted-on (so to speak) Alfa owners are willing to accept foibles others simply wouldn’t tolerate. Committed owners are prepared to write them off as character, others say they are character-building.
Anyone not familiar with Alfas should approach the 159 with caution. But don’t be deterred, as the 159 is generally reliable, with no major flaws. Those things that detract from its appeal are a result of variable build quality.
Have an Alfa specialist check over any potential purchase— they will be familiar with the issues that can affect a 159. Sloppy build can result in rattles and squeaks in the body and trim that can be hard to find and eliminate. They can also be expensive to fix. Also check the interior trim, looking for bits and pieces that are poised to fall off.
On the road, the diesel engine is noisy— something you need to live with. The ride can be too firm for some, so make sure you’re happy to live with that day to day.
Servicing is crucial, so look for a service record to confirm that all maintenance has been done according to the book, preferably by an experienced Alfa mechanic.
A five-star tick of approval from ANCAP shows the 159 is a safe car. It comes with front, side, head airbags and driver’s knee airbag along with antilock brakes, traction control and stability control.
The diesel and petrol engines give 159 buyers plenty of options. The diesels are the best pump performers, each using about 7.0 L/100 km.
The petrol V6 is the thirstiest of the bunch, using more than 11.0L/100 km.
Timeless style: Alfa 159 in sedan (top) and Sportwagon variants