Review: Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon (2006 – 2011)
Stylish estate. Goes and handles just like an Alfa should. Strong performing JTDM diesels, Available with four-wheel drive.
Driving position could be better. No spare wheel as standard. High rear load lip. Problems with 1.9 JTDM diesels.
Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon (2006 – 2011): At A Glance
The separate launch of the Sportwagon gave a chance to drive the 3.2 JTS V6 Q4 and get re-acquainted with the 1.9 JTDM.
Round the back it's a deep-booted high sill wagon; more like a hatchback than an estate. But there is plenty of room in the back with useful size cubbies and two fold down panels behind the rear wheels that either provide storage space behind or provide the width to take golf clubs. Boot volume is actually 445 litres, 10% more than the saloon and 24% more than the 156 Sportwagon. There is also a bit more headroom in the back seat, especially for the centre rear passenger. The rest is as the 159 saloon. Same engines. Same dashboard. Same controls.
What does a Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon (2006 – 2011) cost?
Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon (2006 – 2011): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 445–1245 litres
Another criticism is the very thick B pillar that at my driving position meant I had very little side vision, especially pulling out of oblique junctions. There are side mirrors, though, conforming to the new EU legislation and giving an excellent view along the flanks.
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What's the Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon (2006 – 2011) like to drive?
First out we tried the chain cam 3.2 JTS Q4, the 159 a lot of people have been waiting for. 90% of its 290Nm torque is under your foot from 1,800rpm to 6,250rpm with the limiter cutting in at 7,250rpm. First disappointment was what the engine looked like on lifting the bonnet. No delicious induction tubes, just a rough casting. No beautiful alloy cam covers. Just a plastic fake cam cover with fake Allen screws. We had been told that though the block came from GM, the rest of the engine was pure Alfa.
Gearing is a bit odd. First gives just over 30mph and is over very quickly, like the original Mondeo ST200. Second then gives 70, so there's big gap between the two and no chance of ignoring the low first to start in second. Third, fourth, fifth and sixth are then closely spaced with 6th giving 27.5mph per 1,000rpm. Sure you can pick up a lot of speed very quickly, but not like an old Alfa V6 and it certainly doesn't sound like one.
The four wheel drive Torsen centre diff system is supposed to bias to the back 57/43 giving immediate response with slight oversteer at the limit. The torque split is 78 rear to 28 front on acceleration and the opposite on lift-off. Ours didn't give that impression. Yet on roundabouts it's very difficult to kill the understeer. You go in and try to power out, but you don't fee the transition to rear bias, then the harder you press the more understeer you get. There is obviously a technique to driving this car that I didn't learn in the 25 miles or so I spent behind the wheel.
After that it was back into a 150PS 1.9 JTDm Sportwagon, with the ASR turned off. Sixty joyous miles and the best drive I've had this year. As I wrote before, this car may be a diesel but it's a pure Alfa (Alfa did, in fact, invent the common rail diesel). The high sill at the back keeps the body nice and rigid. Front end bite is exactly right, steering feel is excellent, the chassis is totally trustworthy and even the ride is comfortable. It simply feels like exactly the right car.
This was confirmed by the fuel consumption. 34.2mpg, knocking on a fair bit, compared to 15.4mpg from the 3.2 Q4. End of story.
|1.8 MPI||36–36 mpg||10.4 s||183–187 g/km|
|1.9 JTDm 16V||41–49 mpg||9.4–9.7 s||153–182 g/km|
|1.9 JTDm 8V||53 mpg||10.9 s||140 g/km|
|1.9 JTS||32 mpg||9.9 s||209 g/km|
|1750 TBi||34 mpg||7.9 s||186–194 g/km|
|2.0 JTDm 16V||51–52 mpg||9.0 s||142–145 g/km|
|2.0 JTDm 16V 136||54 mpg||10.1 s||137 g/km|
|2.2 JTS||30–30 mpg||8.9–9.0 s||220–224 g/km|
|2.4 JTDm||35–41 mpg||8.3–8.5 s||181–210 g/km|
|3.2 JTS||25–25 mpg||7.2 s||262–272 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon (2006 – 2011)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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