RE: Shed of the Week: Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon

RE: Shed of the Week: Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon

Friday 24th November 2017

Shed of the Week: Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon

Not without its flaws, but could this 159 be a Sportwagon steal?



Sometimes, things are not what they seem. When Shed first met the future Mrs Shed, he thought she was a kind, caring and attractive person. It was only later, one day after the wedding in fact, that he discovered she was actually a spiteful, vindictive and ugly old bag.

Yes, that really is cloth
Yes, that really is cloth
A similar thing can happen with cars. You buy in haste and repent at leisure as all the demerits you made a point of not researching (because you just wanted that car) hit home with a dull thud.

Very occasionally, and happily, this process happens in reverse. You reluctantly spring for a car that you're not really sure of, and it turns out to be a lot better than you expected.

This week's Shed, a 2007 Alfa 159 Sportwagon, could well fall into that rare category. The first Alfa 159 to find itself tangled up in our SOTW net, our offering has been sitting around on PH classifieds for a few weeks now. Why would that be, do you think? Could it be it the cloth seats? The dull colour? The so-so performance? The scuffed lower panels and wheels, indicating a too-narrow driveway?

Likelihood is that it's a combination of the above, because if you look at this model in the round, it's a handsome (Brera-influenced, Giugiaro-designed) and surprisingly practical workhorse with a decent reliability record. OK, the back windows don't work on this one, but let's not go setting a falsely high bar just because it's an Alfa: German cars are just as likely to suffer from this sort of glitch.

1.9 rather than 2.4, but it's £1,300!
1.9 rather than 2.4, but it's £1,300!
So, what are you in for with a JTDM 159 wagon? Well, that sharp styling for a start, followed by a cabin that was a lot more spacious and comfortable than that of the preceding 156. When new, the 159's much stiffer bodywork offered a lot more protection for passengers (albeit not so much to pedestrians - it scored just one Euro NCAP star for that), but thinly-applied paint and/or underseal means you need to check for corrosion now, especially in the front subframes and floorpans.

The six-speed box is slick and usefully high-geared in the top ratios. The toe-out setup of the double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension is very particular to Alfa, which is known for favouring quick steering and 'bitey' turn-in. Down the line, this engineering philosophy can generate a foible or two, and indeed our Shed has had some trouble with the suspension, principally on the nearside, but by the looks of things everything has been sorted as it's come up. This one should start well anyway, as the starter motor is only a week old. It's worth checking that the ignition key activates and deactivates the immobiliser as it should. They don't always, and that sort of thing can be very annoying.

Turismo was the lowest spec of three available in the UK, and quite an uncommon choice. Mind you, anyone that picked a 159 wagon when the 'normal' choice would have been a BMW or an Audi was clearly not cut from common cloth, so the choice of actual cloth here as a seat covering is appropriate. Not that it is common cloth: it's Alfatex, a rather nice suede-a-like velour. Every now and then it's nice not to have leather in your Alfa.

Regardless of engine, it's still a looker
Regardless of engine, it's still a looker
The MoT history suggests that it went from its first or second owner in the Midlands to its new and possibly current owner in the North East at around 50K miles in 2010. In the seven years since then it's only racked up another 50K miles, which is a well below average rate of use.

One problem that never seems to go away for Alfa owners in the UK is the often flaky nature of the dealership experience. That, and this week's Budget hike in diesel tax, won't help our Shed's chances of finding a buyer. Nor will the fact that this is the 150hp 1.9 and not the excellent 200hp 2.4 JTDM unit. Not because of any power shortfall, and definitely not because the 1.9 drives any less well - in fact, many regard the smaller-engined diesel 159 as the best drive of the 159 range, and a heap better than the disappointing (and very thirsty) all-wheel-drive 3.2 JTS Q4 petrol 'star model'. It might be sticking on the shelves because the Fiat/GM/Saab 1.9 has a patchy history with some reports of clogged EGR valves, thrown timing belts and fragile swirl flaps. Still, the beauty of Shed motoring is that you'd never willingly venture into a dealership when there are so many non-franchised specialists around to help keep your Alfa going.

If you latch onto a good 159 JDTM, you'll be pleased you did, and glad that you had the courage to take what might, to some, appear to be a risky plunge - the exact phrase that pops into Shed's head whenever Mrs Shed thrusts her voluminous and disconcertingly spotty cleavage in his direction.

Here's the ad.

2007, new clutch, recent discs, all service stamps, MOT April 2018, drives well. good tires, Inside is clean and tidy. New Starter fitted 15 Nov 2017
BOTH ELECTRIC BACK WINDOWS NOT WORKING, some gate post scrapes on front bumper. wheels looking their age.

Author
Discussion

sidesauce

Original Poster:

757 posts

151 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
Despite my doubts of its mechanical integrity, this may well be the best Shed yet. Great shout!

Sa Calobra

26,939 posts

144 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
Wow they are THAT cheap now? Seems criminal

galaxie500

23 posts

96 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
My pal had one of the 2.4's; chipped and lowered, suspension foibles sorted it was quite a car.
Sold it for him to an ex racer down in Somerset who turned up in a new BMW i8 for a test drive.
The Alfa handled nicely, usefully spacious and great spread of torque made it a great motorway muncher.

only1ian

538 posts

127 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
Is it me or does it look like Diesel engined cars are going to replace large displacement barges as SOTW common fodder. In the same way we regularly saw V8's at shed money afew years ago?

Love Alfa's suspect this one is cheap because the current owner is fed up of spending money on it



Edited by only1ian on Friday 24th November 07:01

Brompty

133 posts

77 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
only1ian said:
Love Alfa's suspect this one is cheap because the current owner is fed up of spending money on it
Edited by only1ian on Friday 24th November 07:01
I agree - the starter motor in November was the straw that brake the camel's back. But what a car for the money? Best looking estate ever - it's 10 years old and looks super fresh.
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mrpenks

184 posts

88 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
I really liked mine - very similar but with the 6 speed auto. The gearbox was a nightmare - slipping and locking up all the time. The rest of the car was utterly lovely. Ironically, the gearbox (a Japanese Aisin unit) was the only failure in my 2 years of ownership. They are heavy though so MPG never surpassed 38 and not very quick (remap did help though)

Filibuster

1,067 posts

148 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
only1ian said:
Is it me or does it look like Diesel engined cars are going to replace large displacement barges as SOTW common fodder. In the same way we regularly saw V8's at shed money afew years ago?

Edited by only1ian on Friday 24th November 07:01
This could be true indeed! Although large displacement petrols are a good thing and Diesels are not!*
What a great Shed, well if it would be any form of petrol. Be it 1.8 or 3.2..










  • there we go again...... sorry!

tim-jxv5n

27 posts

29 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
I thought used diesels had come away unscathed in yesterdays budget?

wal 45

432 posts

113 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
What a great shed but it just seems far too cheap, thought you'd struggle to get a 156 SW for that price.

Love my 159 Sportwagon(1750 TBi) and would highly recommend one, not a fan of the diesel engine in these and would have a very careful look at the front subframe as lots are scrap by this age. MOT history looks good though so assuming subframe, M32 chocolate box isn't shot and it doesn't need too many new suspension arms that is shed of the century.

Blackpuddin

8,170 posts

138 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
tim-jxv5n said:
I thought used diesels had come away unscathed in yesterdays budget?
Every diesel (new or used) goes up a band from next year (I think). By my reckoning our '02 Golf goes up from £150pa to £190pa.

wormus

9,543 posts

136 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
I had one of these when new and it was rubbish, looked nice but it was riddled with electrical faults. After numerous attempts to get it fixed I gave it back to the dealer and got a refund. As a replacement they found me the Monaro (they were an Alfa/Vauxhall dealer) which I still have 11 years later.

Jimmy Recard

14,825 posts

112 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
Yep, I’d be phoning up if I was looking for a car at the moment.

culpz

3,893 posts

45 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
Surely, this has to be one of the newest "Shed" cars out there, featured on PH? Even with the revised budget, i'm struggling to even call it the S word! I genuinely thought it was a Brera, at first, from the front. It's definitely a looker, and that's coming from someone who's rarely moved by Alfa's.


MXRod

1,012 posts

80 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
Blackpuddin said:
tim-jxv5n said:
I thought used diesels had come away unscathed in yesterdays budget?
Every diesel (new or used) goes up a band from next year (I think). By my reckoning our '02 Golf goes up from £150pa to £190pa.
Not sure that is correct , all I have read ,ie BBC web and daily papers indicate only new cars affected, not existing
Well I hope not , my Daughter has a zero rated Seat Ibiza ( £0.00 road tax) and that would be a strain on her limited budget if it came into tax bands .
I stand to be corrected , But hope not

J4CKO

25,032 posts

133 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
Good shed, very cheap when you look at diesel Golf's, probably a reason for that, but £1300 vs three to four times that ?

tim-jxv5n

27 posts

29 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
I thought it was new cars only, different sources say different things.

Someone should be along soon to clarify

Blackpuddin

8,170 posts

138 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
MXRod said:
Blackpuddin said:
tim-jxv5n said:
I thought used diesels had come away unscathed in yesterdays budget?
Every diesel (new or used) goes up a band from next year (I think). By my reckoning our '02 Golf goes up from £150pa to £190pa.
Not sure that is correct , all I have read ,ie BBC web and daily papers indicate only new cars affected, not existing
Well I hope not , my Daughter has a zero rated Seat Ibiza ( £0.00 road tax) and that would be a strain on her limited budget if it came into tax bands .
I stand to be corrected , But hope not
Hope you're right on that, I'll have a dig about.
EFA looks like you might be right on that, that's a relief. Sure I read it somewhere that all cars were affected but that could have been an error by the writer or panic by me. smile

Edited by Blackpuddin on Friday 24th November 08:42

crostonian

2,427 posts

105 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
No wonder the mainstream media get their facts wrong when the specialist media also peddles fake news. The diesel tax increase announced in the budget does NOT affect used cars, it only affects the first year tax applied to new cars registered after April 2018. Maybe PH should run a headline article explaining this as this misinformation continue to spread.

Blackpuddin

8,170 posts

138 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
It is entirely possible/probable that used cars will be targeted, though.

HorneyMX5

4,152 posts

83 months

Friday 24th November 2017
quotequote all
crostonian said:
No wonder the mainstream media get their facts wrong when the specialist media also peddles fake news. The diesel tax increase announced in the budget does NOT affect used cars, it only affects the first year tax applied to new cars registered after April 2018. Maybe PH should run a headline article explaining this as this misinformation continue to spread.
Agreed. I was surprised there wasn't a piece up on here about it TBH.