Originally Posted by dmck
The missus wants to buy a 2001 Alfa Romeo 1.6 TS, 8,500 ono (bit pricey for me), usual spec, 31k on the clock,car looks ok on paper, i have heard very bads things about the Alfa Romeo's, in your opion is this substatianted? I am trying to steer her in the direction of a second hand Focus. What do you think?
I'd agree it's too pricey. The Focus is an excellent car, certainly much more practical than a 156. You're clearly not happy with the Alfa. Surely this is enough to make up your mind?
For what it's worth - the Alfa 156 is in my opinion an excellent car. Regarding reliability, you hear a lot about them, and there can be no smoke without fire. However, when we did a poll here of people who had actually owned an Alfa, almost 80% said they would buy one again. Personally I never had a problem with my 156, or with any of the 5 that my company ran at that time. I've never had a Focus, so I cannot comment on them reliability wise (this rule does not seem to apply to Alfas - if you know someone who heard that someone else's grandmother's dog was once hit by an Alfa, this is enough to loudly proclaim how crap the cars are)
Let me put it this way: if your wife is passionate about cars, wants the best second hand deal on the market, wants one of the best looking saloon cars ever made, and is willing to spend a bit more on servicing, she should buy the Alfa 156. Otherwise she should buy the Focus.
If you do decide on an Alfa, you should get an 01 1.6 for about 7500. There isn't much difference in the cost for bigger engine size, so if you can take the tax & insurance, go for the 1.8 or 2.0. The diesels are deservedly more expensive.
Have a search of this forum for common problems with the 156 so that you're not buying blind.
Oh, and enjoy the Focus !