The beautifully designed Alfa Romeo 159 bridges the gap between mainstream family cars like the Ford Mondeo and premium models like the BMW 3 Series. Available as a saloon or Sportwagon estate, the 159's appeal lies in its sharp styling and sporty character. Even basic Turismo trim is equipped with climate control and alloy wheels, and the Alfa's cabin feels spacious and solidly built. The driving position is excellent, but practicality could be better and the engine range isn't the most economical compared to rivals. The last 159s left showrooms in 2012 to make way for the all-new Giulia, which arrives in 2014.
Alfa Romeo's two-door Brera is aimed directly at the likes of the Volkwagen Scirocco. The Alfa is a very stylish option, but its engines are thirsty and it's not as good to drive as its rivals. The interior is just as good to look at as the outside, and comes loaded with standard kit. However, this four-seat coupe is cramped inside, especially in the rear.
The Giulietta is Alfa Romeo's rival to the VW Golf. It comes as a five-door only, and features typically attractive Alfa Romeo styling. All five of the engines in the range offer a decent mix of economy and performance, but the driving experience doesn’t quite match up to the VW. The interior is classy, albeit with limited rear-seat space, and all cars come with plenty of standard equipment, such as air-conditioning and electric windows. The Giulietta is priced very competitively, too.
Price £17,760 - £26,660
The Alfa Romeo GT coupe looks sharp, and it's surprisingly practical for a sports car. There are two engines to choose from – a 2.0-litre petrol or 1.9-litre diesel, and the latter is the better all-round option. On the inside, space is OK, but because of the GT's dramatic styling, your view of the road is impaired, particularly out of the rear. All cars have generous equipment, including climate control, cruise control and a high-quality Bose stereo system.
The Alfa Romeo MiTo is a stylish, upmarket small car that is a direct competitor to the MINI. The MiTo is cheaper than the MINI, has more rear space and a bigger boot, but isn’t as good to drive. The range comprises six engines and five trims, and stretches from very economical diesel models to the high-performance Cloverleaf version. The MiTo is only available as a three-door hatchback.
Price £12,500 - £18,765
The open-topped Alfa Romeo Spider is based on the Brera coupe, and is a good looking alternative to more expensive two-seater convertibles like the Mercedes SLK and Audi TT Roadster. With good equipment levels and value for money optional extras, it offers a decent combination of high style and affordability. Sadly its engines aren’t economical and it's not as good to drive as its rivals.