The mail on Alfa

Its form is franked— as far as the 159 goes, it’s not all bad news

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Review -

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

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