Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon packs loads of style

Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon is a stylish, lifestyle estate that is entertaining to drive.

Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon is a stylish, lifestyle estate that is entertaining to drive. - Credit: Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo's 159 Sportwagon is a lifestyle estate car that is loaded with style, character and driving appeal.

Used Car: Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon (2006-11)

Engines – For conscious drivers who rack up the miles, there's only one fuel and engine combination to consider – diesel. Fortunately Alfa Romeo has a solid track record in this area and the 159 can be had with a choice of frugal and refined motors. Of course, the petrol alternatives are pretty good too, and would suit buyers who don't travel far or tow anything heavy.

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Exterior – One thing that separates Alfa Romeo's cars from rival offerings is the look and feel of the exteriors. Typically Italian in that it's not afraid to flaunt its bold lines and clever details, this 159 has got to be one of the more attractive estate cars in the executive sector. And it's also a practical car despite the emphasis on design.

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Interior – Just like the outside, the 159's cabin is full of extrovert design. The car's big, bold fascia is a perfect example, while there's no shortage of space thanks to the car's size. Pick a car with leather and you'll feel like a million dollars.

Driving – Front and four-wheel is offered depending on the chosen engine, and while the characterful petrol V6 is good fun the big 2.4-litre diesel delivers torque and power in spades, plus it's going to be more frugal. A supple ride and direct steering round off what is an appealing package to rival that of the established German alternatives.

Ownership – Easy to drive and park around town, the 159 Sportwagon easily copes with a growing family or active lifestyle. The car's spacious load bay should accommodate most things, while long-distance journeys are dispatched with a level of refinement on a par with that of its closest rivals.

What to look for – Ex-company cars are not uncommon, so check that the high-mileage tallies with the paperwork. Don't dismiss such cars as, so long as the overall condition is good, savings can be made. However, parking dents and kerbed wheels could signal more costly neglect so proceed with caution. The test drive should flag up anything untoward, and be sure to check everything works – electric windows, climate control, stereo – before buying.

Model history – 2006, Alfa Romeo launches estate version of its 159 saloon, the Sportwagon. Handful of petrol and diesel engines offered, with specifications and equipment mirroring the saloon variant. High level of standard kit offered in Tourismo and Lusso trim levels.

Reasons to buy – Stylish, capable, spacious, practical, impressive diesels.

Reasons to beware – Petrol engines lack character, lots of choice in this sector.

Pick of the range – 159 Sportwagon 1.9 JTDM Lusso.

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