Used Alfa Romeo 145 1994 - 2001 review

Category: Family car

The 145 is a car for the enthusiast who is prepared to live with its many faults.

Alfa Romeo 145 (94 - 01)
  • Alfa Romeo 145 (94 - 01)
  • Alfa Romeo 145 (94 - 01)
Used Alfa Romeo 145 1994 - 2001 review
Star rating

What's the used Alfa Romeo 145 hatchback like?

This is a classic 'Marmite' car – you either love it or loathe it. However, the Alfa Romeo 145 is certainly a more appealing design than its 146 sister, which has ungainly, mini-saloon styling.

Inside, the 145 is not terribly pleasant. The cutaway dashboard is blunt, the stalk controls fiddly, the rear seat cramped and the driving position set quite high.


The 145 is a car for the enthusiast who is prepared to live with its many faults.

  • Unique styling
  • Sweet-sounding engines
  • Ideal if you want 'something different'
  • Poor build quality
  • Ugly interior
  • Reliability is questionable

The 145 has a small boot, too, so if the looks aren't a deal breaker for you, the more spacioius 146 could be a better bet.

As for the driving experience, all 145s have a poor turning circle and a lumpy ride. But, on the plus side, they have energetic and raspy Twin Spark 16-valve engines, and a positive gearchange.

Ownership cost

What used Alfa Romeo 145 hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Alfa Romeo 145 hatchback?

The Alfa Romeo 145 is certainly affordable to buy: if you're canny, you can pick up a decent 1998 1.8 TS for around the £1000 mark.

However, cheap as they are up fornt, they're actually quite pricey to insure, particularly if you go for the 2.0-litre engine

A 1.8-litre will return about 32mpg if you are light-footed on the throttle pedal, but the throaty engine will probably prove too tempting, so a more realistic average consumption figure is 27mpg.

Service intervals are every 12,000 miles, which is reasonable, and cambelt changes are required every 60,000 miles. Don't expect repair bills to be low, though, especially if you have the work carried out at a franchised dealer.

The most vulnerable part of the car are the suspension bushes, and you can expect to have to replace them at some stage as an owner.

Our recommendations

Which used Alfa Romeo 145 hatchback should I buy?

Go for post-1999 models: these more recent versions have improved engines and chassis which made the 145 a much better car.

The smart choice is the 1.8 TS. It provides plenty of excitement, and you can be confident of a sale when you come to pass it on. This model also benefits from quicker steering than the basic models, and that makes for a more rewarding drive.

If outright performance is your thing, there's always the 2.0-litre Cloverleaf hot hatch, which was the flagship of the range, but there's no real point in spending the extra on it. Some used Alfa Romeo specialists have low-milers with healthy histories, but you will pay a premium for one, and there is no guarantee you'll get a trouble-free car.

At the bottom of the range, the 1.6-litre is no more than acceptable. But, if you are set on this engine, the later Junior is a reasonable buy.

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