Alfa Romeo 145 and 146 (1994 – 2001) Review

Alfa Romeo 145 and 146 (1994 – 2001) At A Glance


+Twin-Spark 2.0-litre engine goes well and sounds even better, quirky good looks of three-door 145

-Afflicted by mechanical and electrical problems that can prove expensive to fix, limited rear cabin space

The Alfa Romeo 145 and 146 were Fiat Tipo-based replacements for the slightly maligned 33.The new car, which really kicked off the trend for putting distance between three- and five-door versions of the same car, looked striking, and - like the 164 before it - also managed to look very different from its Fiat and Lancia bretheren. The complement its individual external styling, the 145/146 received an all new interior, with a most interesting dashboard design that was dramatically cut-away in front of the passenger. Safe and practical they might have been, but buyers just found it plain weird.

Luckily, the 145/146 was a great drive, even in its more basic forms. Handling was sharp, and steering was excellent (especially in later Cloverleaf form). Originally launched with the charismatic flat-four engine, which could trace its ancestry back to 1971, and the launch of the Alfasud. They were available in 1.6-litre eight-valve and 1.7 16-valve forms. Two years after launch, the old Boxer engines were dropped, to make way for the new Fiat-derived Twin Spark engine already seen in the 155. These 2.0-litre Cloverleaf models remain the pick of the range, even though they were not the revolution Alfa Romeo had hoped - that would wait for the 156, launched in 1998.