Alfa Romeo 159 Sportswagon 1.9 JTDm Turismo - ALFA ROMEO 159 Car Review

Review

Added: 18 Jan 2007
Last update:

THROUGHOUT its long history, Alfa Romeo has been famous for its sports cars and coupes.

And this new generation sporting estate embodies the best elements of that tradition but manages to combine them with genuine practicality.

What you are served up with is a truly impressive, good looking vehicle offering plenty of precious space, along with the great performance and handling characteristics you would expect from this marque.

There are a "magnificent seven" versions of the new Alfa 159 Sportswagon, ranging in price from just over £21,000 to a fraction under £29,500.

The two-trim level range includes five engines mated to smooth, six-speed gearboxes.

To me, on the face of it, those prices appear to be quite expensive. But the old adage of 'getting what you pay for' is also applicable - and you get the type of car which you will reminisce fondly over in 20 years' time.

The build quality of the Sportswagon is guaranteed, for its shares its platform, as well as both frontal and passenger compartment bodyshell structure, with the Alfa 159 saloon.

That vehicle has been awarded a maximum five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, as well as four stars for child occupant protection.

But it also features an all new floorplan in a chassis which is all about promoting safe, high performance driving dynamics.

The latest vehicles, styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, are longer and wider than the old ones.

The front end is purposeful and features the legendary Villa d'Este style shield with horizontal chrome bars.

It is sleek and taut-looking in profile, while at the rear the strongly raked top-hinged tailgate is capped by a roof spoiler housing the third stop light.

Because the new version is longer, both front and back passengers benefit from extra legroom, more head and shoulder room particularly in the rear and there is also improved front and rear door access.

The designers have been very focused on the driver's needs, with the emphasis on ergonomic functionality.

A height adjustable driver's seat allied to a rake and reach adjustable, leather steering wheel means you can tailor fit the best driving position to suit.

The instrument binnacle houses large, deeply hooded speedometer and rev counter dials, while a multi-lingual, multi-function display gives access to a wide range of functions as well as the trip computer.

It's very cleverly done and has a truly sporting feel. If you were put in the car blindfolded and could only look forwards when unmasked, you'd never guess the vehicle was an estate.

Though identical in length to the Alfa 159 saloon, the Sportswagon, with rear seats in position, provides 40 litres more loadspace below the retractable luggage cover.

The space can be rapidly enlargened to an impressive 1,235 litres overall.

And, additionally, there are up to 14 storage areas of various sizes within the passenger compartment itself, including an insulated bin in the front centre armrest.

As you would expect from a sports estate, the vehicle radiates exceptional build quality, elegant and superior comfort levels.

Engine-wise, my 1.9 JTD never roared - purred is more like it - and cabin noise and vibration is minimal.

FAST FACTS

Alfa Romeo 159 Sportswagon 1.9 JTDm Turismo

Price: £21,595

Mechanical: 150bhp, 1,910cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox

Max speed: 129mph

0-62mph: 9.6 secs

Combined mpg: 46.3

Insurance group: 12

C02 emissions: 162g/km

BiK rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles, 3yrs paint, 8yrs anti-rust

Words: Andy Richards

Keywords: ALFA ROMEO, 159