Octavia or 159? - Nomag
The time has come to choose my wife's next lease car.
As the cost is heavily subsidised, we have decided that it would make sense for her to drive the larger car. Whilst I'm happy with my Toledo, the saloon bodystyle does have some compromises in terms of load lugging for our regular camping trips, so we decided a small estate would be ideal, eventually i can then downsize to something smaller.
We narrowed the list down to the folowing cars:
Alfa 159 Sportwagon 1.9 diesel Lusso
Skoda Octavia 2.0TDi L+K estate
VW Passat 2.0TDi SE estate
Audi A4 2.0TDi SE Avant
BMW 320d SE Touring

Not surprisingly, the Skoda came out cheapest. But much to our surprise, the Alfa is only £10 more a month. The tax is a little more on the Alfa however. The VW is same price as the Alfa. The Audi and BMW are both significantly more expensive.

So, we now have a head vs heart decision, the Alfa or the Skoda? We've looked at both, but test driven neither yet. Both of us love the styling of the Alfa, and as this is a fully maintained/insured lease deal, the reliability concerns are less. However, the Skoda is (slightly) better equipped, slightly cheaper, and something at the back of my mind is saying...the Skoda might just be a better proposition for our 15k miles a year.

Does anyone have any experience of these two cars, specifically with these power plants? VW group diesels are often critised for their lack of refinement, but seem to offer reliably good economy. By comparison, I've not heard much about the 1.9 150 Fiat/GM engine.

Your comments much appreciated!
Octavia or 159? - Lud
Without ever having driven or been in either car, I think I know what I'd go for. But try them both if you can.
Octavia or 159? - Lud
Out of the two actual possibilities, I mean. You seem to know what they are.
Octavia or 159? - tr7v8
1.9 lump has been around for a while in Fiat & Alfa's been very reliable as have all the Alfa diesels. Vauxhalls have only just started using it.
Had a 156 1.9 SW on loan 18 months ago & was impressed by the economy & performance. I got 45MPG & that was at an average journey speed of around 75MPH.
I know what I'd go for but it comes down to whether you want to drive something with all the style of a house brick or something that makes you sigh at it's beauty everytime you see it on the drive.
Octavia or 159? - Stuartli
The heart says Alfa, the sensible view shouts Octavia.

In the end it comes down to two extensive road tests on as many different types of road as possible.

The Toledo and the Octavia are basically the same vehicle, along with the Bora and the A3/A4.
Octavia or 159? - Citivanvin
The 1.9 diesel in my Fiat Brava, over the past 55k miles, with servicing at the advised intervals, has been faultless.

Octavia or 159? - artful dodger {P}
The order of choice for me would be:

Alfa for its looks and driveability

Skoda as this would be the nearest garage to where I live

VW because of the look

The other two are too badge oriented for my liking, but are still good cars.

These views are based upon my bias as I drive an older Fiat 2.4 TD diesel which is a grand old lump of metal. About 18 months ago I tried the 1.9 diesel in a Punto loan car, that certainly flew and was very quiet.

If you read HJ's report on the 159 you will see he was very impressed. If you do decide on the Alfa I feel sure you will be very pleased with it.

Hope this helps.

I read frequently, but only post when I have something useful to say.
Octavia or 159? - mike hannon
If it's a subsidised lease, take the Alfa - no contest.
The 1.9 diesel is excellent and, as mentioned above, every time you look at the car you'll feel good.
I would put money on the fact that, even if it doesn't prove to be totally faultless, you will look back on it and still smile.
Octavia or 159? - robcars
Taken servicing and repair costs into account too?

Alfa will prove very expensive!
Octavia or 159? - Nomag
Thanks for all the replies, and for the reassurance regarding the Alfa diesel engine. HJs review is indeed incredibly complementary of the 1.9JTD sportwagon. I think we're both leaning towards the alfa - as this isn't a private purchase, it does seem to offer the opportunity to have a beautiful car and not have to worry too much about the maintenance side of things.....the only slight swaying factor is that the nearest Alfa dealer is 25 miles, whereas the Skoda dealer is 10 miles away....
Having said that, hopefully we'll only see them for servicing! Robcars, this is a fully maintained lease, so we don't have to worry about servicing/maintenance/tyres etc.
Hoping to arrange test drives in both this weekend - I hope the refinement of the Alfa lives up to expectations on the motorway.
Octavia or 159? - Martin Sweeney
I haven't got around to driving the 159 but drove a 156 2.4jtd sportwagon as a company car. It was great to drive, really fun and inside and out the looks were to die for; from everything I've seen, the 159 shares these qualities. Alfa say that reliability issues are a thing of the past, but they said that when the 156 was released and over the period of the lease my car was off the road for 4 months, mainly with endless electrical problems. There?s a lot of luck involved and any car can have problems but Alfa compounded the problems by having truly dreadful and unhelpful dealers. Several other drivers in our company had similar experiences and Alfa were consequently removed from our lists. Luckily when my car was off the road my company organized hire cars, but having to change plans and call so frequently on this safety net became really irritating and tiresome. Long story short, if you are a two car family and/or have hire cars included in your lease then I would probably go for the Alfa as they?re good for the heart and a fast for the eyes. If not then I?d give the Skoda some serious consideration as it?s a really solid car that?s much less likely to leave you in the lurch and by all accounts the dealers are sound.
Octavia or 159? - autumnboy
The time has come to choose my wife's next lease car.

Skoda Octavia 2.0TDi L+K estate
VW Passat 2.0TDi SE estate
Audi A4 2.0TDi SE Avant

All 3 use the same 140ps engine.

The 1.9td 16v 150ps is used in the Alfa/Vaux/Saab and I don't think its the same engine used in the Fiat Grande Puntos/etc at 130ps.
Octavia or 159? - Honestjohn
Superchipping transforms the VAG TDI 140 by getting rid of the torque spike., Superchipped it pulls from 1,000rpm and oulls uphill in 3rd from 1,200rpm. A huge difference. Choice between Octavia and 159 on a lease I'd go 159 for the looks and handling. But if the lease cost of the 320d Touring gets close then it would have to be that.

Octavia or 159? - Nomag
Thanks for the further replies.
We went to look at the Alfa and Skoda today and drove both. The Alfa is a much smaller car inside, but it won hands down I'm afraid for the drivability of the engine, and we can't chip the VAG TDI as its a lease! We'll have a towbar fitted and get a small trailer for our longer camping trips.
The subsidised lease means the Skoda is 240 a month, Alfa 250 and BMW 370 so it's the Alfa for us, in Alfa red with black leather, and let's hope it doesn't have to be back and forward to the garage too much!
I'll post a report after a few thousand miles.
Octavia or 159? - Tomo
Quite right. I hurt sometimes that I have never had an Alfa. With every appreciation of Skada merits, not having one does not bother me.
Octavia or 159? - Tomo
Of course I meant Skoda, was that a Freudian slip?
Octavia or 159? - Bo-ard
Glad you chose the Alfa over the Skoda, given the circumstances. But it's such a shame about the price difference, because I definitely agree with HJ that the BMW would've been the one to go for, if at all justifiable. We chose it after trying all the (so-called) competition - forget all the badge-related image nonsense, it's simply the best car!
Octavia or 159? - paulb {P}
The 1.9td 16v 150ps is used in the Alfa/Vaux/Saab and I
don't think its the same engine used in the Fiat Grande
Puntos/etc at 130ps.


Same block and multijet CR injection system, but different head - SOHC 8v as opposed to DOHC 16v. I notice that GM use a 120 bhp version in the Vectra and so do Fiat for the Eleganza model of the Grande Punto, but whether it is actually the same 8v engine in both I haven't been able to discover.

Ask Honest John

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