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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Italian design flair, decent cabin space and smooth engines make the Alfa 159 a competent compact executive.

Against The Alfa 159 is not as good to drive as it should be, considering Alfa’s sporty reputation, and there’s the spectre of unreliability.

Verdict Great to look at, and distinctive, but ultimately bettered by German rivals in almost every area.

Go for… 1.9 JTD Turismo

Avoid… 3.2 JTS V6 Q4 Lusso

Alfa Romeo 159 Saloon
  • 1. Cabin space is good, and certainly better than the model it replaced, the 156 (’99-’05). Two adults can fit in the back, while front passengers aren’t left wanting for room.
  • 2. The 159 has impressive grip through bends and handles well on most road surfaces, but body roll isn’t contained and it can feel unwieldy on twisty roads.
  • 3. The 148bhp 1.9-litre diesel is the most common engine, and the best bet, followed by the 2.4-litre unit producing 200bhp.
  • 4. The engine’s ECU can give up the ghost, particularly on the diesel cars, resulting in a total loss of power and stranded owner.
  • 5. The 1.9-litre diesel manages 47mpg, the 2.4-litre does 41.5mpg, or 39mpg in four-wheel-drive trim. The 1.9-litre petrol can eke out 32.5mpg, but the 1.8-litre beats that with 36.7mpg.
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