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Alfa Romeo 156 1.9 JTD

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      07.01.2003 00:04
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      I drove one for a year. It was a loaner, as I was waiting to choose and have delivered, a new car. As it was a loaner, I did not get it from new, and it was a 2 year old, 80k (kilometers) basic 1.9 in silver. During that year, I did about 30k KM, it never missed a beat, and I never cleaned or serviced it! Pretty rock solid. The looks are outstanding, although they are really common here in the Netherlands, and this was the main reason why I did not take one as a new company car. The interior is basic, although the new model has really improved this, as it had the same console as the 147 and 166 has, including the colour LCD display. This console is one of the best in the business. I had A/C included, although I felt that the 1.9 diesels struggled to power it when I had it on full power in the summer. From reading on the web, the trick was to get the engine warm, and then put on the A/C, rather than simply leaving it on all the time. The seats were a kind of corduroy cloth, and very conformable. I did 3 long trips in the car, and the stiff (Alfa!) suspension could be felt, but I liked it. There was easily enough room for 4 people to travel in comfort, and the boot had plenty of space. The back seats did not fold down. They do on the new model. Handling, the car was very good. Previously I had a Primera GT, and I though the Alfa handled better than that. It would really be put into corners, and I could always feel the limits of the car. The brakes are the best in any car I have driven. Possibly some could call them too sharp, but I think that Alfa brakes are the best in the business. Gearbox was nothing special. It was quite heavily sprung, which is typical Alfa, so this makes the change very precise, and if anything, a little stiff, but a solid gearbox, and a stiffer than average clutch. Not quite a Ferrari Testarossa, but compared to my current car, a Peugeot 406 Coupe, which has a clu
      tch like marshmallow, it is on the stiff side! The 1.9JTd engine is an early generation common rail diesel engine. So compared to the newer, BMW, Peugeot or Mercedes engine, it is a little underpowered and noisy. I think that Alfa put the R&D dollars (Lira!) into the 2.4 Diesel, which is supposed to be one of the best in the business. I am not a fan of Diesels, but I have been a fan of Alfa?s, and the engine was not enough to temp me to another loaner car. The reason why I got rid of it was because I got loan of an Alfa 166, but that is another story.

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