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Is Alfa Romeo reliable? An honest look at the brand

  • Is Alfa Romeo reliable?
  • How reliable are consumer reports?
  • Why is Alfa Romeo unreliable?
  • Common Alfa Romeo problems

When you are looking at cars, reliability is an important factor. So important, in fact, that it is one of our top priorities when looking for a new car.

But, is this the case for those who are looking at buying an Alfa Romeo? As Which? said; “It’s widely accepted that anyone who buys an Alfa Romeo does so with their heart instead of their head”. Is this true? Are Alfa Romeo’s really that unreliable?

In this article, we look at whether Which are right, and whether Alfa Romeo’s are really as unreliable as people say, and how they fare against their competitors.

Is Alfa Romeo reliable?

No, is the short answer. As it stands, Which? is looking pretty accurate with its summary of Alfa Romeo.

ReliabilityIndex gives Alfa Romeo a rating of 214 for reliability, which is very poor. The UK Reliability Index takes into account the following:

  • The factors of a repair
  • The cost of the parts
  • The frequency of the failures
dark red Alfa Romeo Giulia driving fast down a road

The average of all cars is 100, and the UK average index is 118. So the lower the number, the more reliable the car is. And as we said, Alfa Romeo has a score of 214. Reliability Index state that the average age of an Alfa Romeo is 4.9 years old and the average mileage is 54,857 miles.

WarrantyDirect also scores Alfa Romeo as poor in terms of dependability.

However, if we look at the Auto Express reports from those that own the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the reviews are completely different. In fact, if we looked at those reviews alone, Alfa Romeo would look like one of the most reliable brands around.

That said, Auto Express, themselves have said that there is a problem with reliability, and in their Driver Power Survey of 2015, the Giulietta came 69th, which is quite a fall from the top ten when it debuted in 2013.

And of course, in the Which survey, Alfa Romeo came in the top 5 for most unreliable car manufacturers, with a reliability score of just 69%.

Everything but the driver reviews are telling us that Alfa Romeo are unreliable cars.

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How reliable are consumer reports?

Because everyone but the actual drivers are telling us Alfa Romeo are unreliable, how do we know if the consumer reports are reliable themselves?

To be honest, they are pretty reliable. Consumer surveys ask those who own the cars, and they also draw upon recalls and faults.

Red Alfa Romeo 4C parked on a road

WarrantyDirect, who work with Reliability Index, gather their results from their own data. WarrantyDirect sell extended warranties and have over 50,000 cars to gather their data from.

So, they are pretty reliable.

Why are the drivers on AutoExpress telling us differently? It could just be the people who are commenting. Consumer reports have a much wider range of people to gather results from, and the sample on AutoExpress is considerably smaller than the ones WarrantyDirect have had.

All in all, consumer reports and surveys are probably the most dependable way of knowing the longevity of a car.

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Why are Alfa Romeos unreliable?

There are a few reasons why Alfa Romeos are considered unreliable.

According to Reliability Index, one of the main problems falls to the Axle and Suspension. This accounts for 25.91% of all faults. Electrical faults come in second with 18.13% of the faults.

Jalopnik has said that the car’s quick development time could be to blame for the unreliability of the car. The Alfa Romeo Giulia was developed in just two and a half years. This is nothing compared to the six years Mercedes tend to spend, or the seven years Volvo spent developing seats for their newXC90.

However, Alfa Romeo is rebranding, according to Alfa Romeo. Well, at least in Australia. It has been reported that the new Giulia will come with a three-year, 150,000km (almost 100,000 miles) warranty, which is considerably better than some of their rivals. They are also offering a three-year capped-price servicing deal. Unfortunately, this is only happening in Australia as far as we know. But that’s not to say they won’t bring this incentive over to Europe should it go well down under.

Navy Blue Alfa Romeo Giulia on white background

Alfa Romeo is not the only one that have had to rebrand after reports of unreliability. The likes of Fiat, Skoda and Dacia have done the same. And look how successful those brands are now.

Common Alfa Romeo problems

If you are buying a used Alfa Romeo or you are simply looking towards the future then you should be aware of the common problems that people face with Alfa Romeo’s. These include;

  • Suspension problems
    • The front suspension can fail, and you will know this if you hear a knocking noise
  • Door alignment problem
    • This is more common in the 159 and you can tell if there’s a bit of a breeze coming in

So it’s worth looking out for these if you are looking for a second hand Alfa Romeo.

2017 Yello Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Profile
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Rachel Richardson
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26 Comments

  • Ian lee| 7th February 2021 at 3:10 pm Reply

    Another biast survey against alfa romeo .this is 1 reason why this marque don’t get far .but let’s face it alfa have more history than any German box builder. And its usually german owners that slat alfa .all I can say look after a car and it wont let you down as with all my 10 alfas I’ve owned never a problem .as with my giulia now a pleasure to own.

    • Rachel Richardson| 8th February 2021 at 8:34 am Reply

      Hi Ian,
      Thank you for your feedback. The data that is used to put together these reports is actually from multiple consumer research surveys as well as data from warranty companies. We are not affiliated to any specific manufacturer and acknowledge that there are exceptions to every single rule.

  • Thomas Davis| 25th April 2020 at 2:54 am Reply

    Despite the negatives, I am drawn to Jaguars and Alfas. I no longer work on cars, so I need a mechanic who works on these brands. The mechanic where I take my Mercedes says he doesn’t work on Jaguars “unless he doesn’t have to.” There is no one within ninety miles of here that might…MIGHT work on Jaguars or Alfa Romeos. So I keep a few thousand in a slush fund to see to repairs etc. I don’t care. That’s part the cost of keeping one of these cars running

  • Bogdan| 31st December 2019 at 4:54 pm Reply

    Before my first AR i ahve been owning a leading quality German cars. And all my impresion when I have switched over was, that I have been always driving a faulty or defected car. Since 2013 for another 4 years I was owner of Giulietta 1,4 TB MA TCT 170 HP, 4 years and – nothing. Tu be honest, there was problem with electrical lock of the back door. Water was entering over the logo push button for opening and rusting contacts of micro switches and that all. Driving fabulous. During that time was in use A3 and A Class. How many times with them have been visiting service with small and bigger problems I have lost count on it. So that I am some special or what? I am always surprised with reporting of the low reliability of the AR. I have one knowledge, Giulietta never failed on the road. Never happen that I had to call high way service for help, as the car with no reason just refuse to go. And what was excellent with the AR that not so obvious with the leading in reliability German motorized barrows as I call them by my own experience. For them fail and stop was just obvious, normal condition. Now has second AR, this time Stelvio Quadrifoglio adn C class Coupe. Stelvio 1,5 year and C Class AMG 2 months less. With Stelvio no any problem so far. And Merc just keep similar performance to the A class before. Within one year 2 times on the tow truck and plus 2 extra visits in the service. One on the signal as some hose on the cooling has burst and was leaking. Service was just behind the corner, so I could manage. But in reliability Merc is much higher of course. And as before with Giulietta I can evaluate it myself comparing both brands. And if I will look for next car, I will look for Maserati or AR again. And always purchase a factory new car. So have direct comparison.

  • Teti| 7th October 2019 at 10:25 am Reply

    We have alfaa in our family for very long yes, we had renaults, opels, vw, audi, fiat …. Our 159 is very old and it had few bigger repairs. We don’t have money for younger cars. Most people who soit on AR are those who drive themselves boring and unrealiable cars. I watched a video about a Mercedes from 2001, which was very popular and it impressed me too till the part where they found so many problems e.g. it coroded much under. Somebody mentioned that the hate to AR is psychological. It is true. People who drive for example german cars say always:”oh, but alfas are so unreliable”. Have you ever driven one? Do you know the past of the car owner. It is a fact that most guys destroy the car and sell it like this. We had this problem. We also own a mito, and we had never problems. I think that the writer of the article was either paid to write how people lie about their experiences a or he doesn’t know that every car has it’s flows

    • Rachel Richardson| 7th October 2019 at 1:11 pm Reply

      Hi Teti,
      This article was written using information from multiple sources, we aim to ensure that every piece we produce is both helpful to our readers and 100% unbiased. Ee are certainly not paid by any manufacturer to present innaccurate or biased information that will misinform.

      We understand that there is a very strong customer loyalty towards multiple brands, with Alfa being one. However, our article was written utilising information that was, at the time, up to date and obtained from consumer survey reports and data from warranty companies that look at data from a very balanced perspective.

  • Jason| 8th August 2019 at 12:52 am Reply

    You are neglecting the results of quite a few recent surveys. The Giulia was the third most reliable premium midsize car in Whatcars survey. Autoexpress also ranked Alfa Romeo in the top 5 most reliable brands last year. They also finished ahead of BMW and Audi in both surveys. BMW finished dead last in one of them.

    Also, I don’t think you should use Jalopnik as a source for information on Alfa Romeo reliability. They have a serious grudge against the brand. Search their website for “Alfa Romeo” and you will see nothing but articles that are slating Alfa (always based on anecdote and conjecture) and almost nothing positive at all. It’s gone beyond reasonable comment now and appears to be fuelled by a vendetta against the brand.

    • Rachel Richardson| 8th August 2019 at 9:52 am Reply

      Hi Jason,

      Thank you for your comment. We appreciate that many people are incredibly loyal to specific brands, especially Alfa. This article, and several other reliability pieces we have on the site are currently in review and will be updated with the latest data from multiple sources in order to get a balanced overview of the brand. Throughout the article we have cited several different resources where we have obtained information about reliability and never rely on one site or consumer survey in order to produce information which is unbiased.

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