Thanks for all the replies folks.
Of course I would like a reliable car, wouldn't we all? No one wants to buy a car thats going to cost them. But I do realise that you could buy a Lexus that gave you nothing but bother, and an Alfa that never let you down.
But generally some brands are more reliable than others.
I do love driving and thats the reason why I have always thought about owning an Alfa. My Toyota was an MR2, so I honestly didn't buy that for reliability, it just turned out that way. Never blinked in over a decade of ownership.
I can honestly say that when the time comes to change the Golf I will more than likely end up in another one, or a Toyota. But there is a slim chance that I might just take the plunge with an Alfa. And if I do, what model would you Alfa owners recommend for a 07/08 model? Open to any suggestions.
Newer Alfa's are quite reliable. Post face-lift 156's and 147's are good and there doesn't seem to be any hassles with the 159. I'd go with the diesel in the 159 simply because I don't like GM much, and Fiat group engines would be much more interesting and more reliable. I'd go for the 1.7-and-a-half litre Alfa petrol if it fell into budget.
If it must be Toyota or VW then get a GTi Mk5 or a Celica or something that actually copes with corners rather than just goes around them.