Alfa Romeo 147 car review by Jason Dawe | Catalog-cars

Alfa Romeo 147 car review by Jason Dawe

1 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Alfa Romeo 147 car review by Jason Dawe
Alfa Romeo 147

Even prettier in the flesh than on the page the Alfa Romeo 147 makes Audi’s look bland, BMW’s sound dull and Golf’s feel portly. If you enjoy driving then the Alfa Romeo 147 should definitely be on your used car shopping list.

Voted European Car of the Year in 2001 the Alfa Romeo 147 beat the Ford Mondeo in to second place, but this promising start did not lead to huge sales success. Alfa’s previous reputation for dodgy electrics and poor build quality haunted it and whilst most drivers will admire an Alfa Romeo from afar fewer are prepared to invest their own money into one.

But sit inside the cabin of a 147 and on touch alone you would swear that you were sat in a German built car, the quality of materials and ergonomics are both superb. Only the wonderful three binnacle dash declares the cars Italian origin, the recessed dials designed to inform the driver, not the passengers of what speed the car is traveling at.

Another pleasant surprise is the driving position, gone is the straight arm, short leg style required by many Italian machines. With a range of adjustment to both steering column and drivers’ seat you can sit in a 147 as you want, not as you’re told. Rear accommodation is also on par with its competitors and the boot is usefully large.

When launched in February 2001, the 147 was available only with a 130bhp 1.6 litre petrol engine, the 2.0 litre 150bhp being delayed until June of the same year. Both units rev freely and return over 30mpg, but pick of the pair is the 2.0 litre whose extra torque is most welcome at lower revs. In 2003 Alfa Romeo added the stonking 3.2 litre 250bhp GTV to the range, and the frugal and refined 110bhp JTD diesel unit.

The 147 comes in two trim levels, Tourismo and Lusso, the names alone evoking more passion than the GLS and SE badges of some of its competitors. The base model Tourismo has air conditioning, alarm, trip computer and traction control but lacks the standard alloy wheels so essential to complete the cars aesthetic appeal. The higher spec Lusso boasts 15inch alloys to the equipment list as well as dual zone climate control and cruise control.

But the Alfa Romeo 147’s greatest virtue is how it drives, steering is accurate with great feel and the car handles beautifully with excellent ride comfort.

The 150bhp, 2.0 litre feels as quick on the road as the more powerful Ford Focus ST170 and comprehensively beats it in terms of ride comfort.

The 147 is available with a 5 speed sequential gearbox, the Selespeed, on the 2.0 litre petrol. Despite a Ј1,600 premium when new, second hand examples fetch similar money to manual cars as many drivers prefer the standard gearbox.

So my advice is, don’t buy a used VW Golf, Audi A3, Ford Focus or BMW Compact until you have driven an Alfa Romeo 147, or you may regret it. As one owner said to me recently ‘if you don’t understand Alfa Romeo, you don’t understand driving’.

Check the following

Alfa Romeo 147

Upholstery – leather seats a desirable option

Audio system – updated Bose sound system on 2.0 cars

Tyres – Prone to wear on inside edge if incorrect steering alignment

Door handles – solid aluminium door handles are a thing of beauty

Bonnet – prone to stone chips

Doors – 3 or 5 door available but 3 door wins on the beauty contest

Alfa Romeo 147
Alfa Romeo 147
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