Used buyer's guide: Alfa Romeo Spider

Don’t be put off by Alfa’s reputation, the Spider makes a fine buy

What to look for

• Some paint finishes aren’t very durable; check for chips on sills and leading edge of bonnet.• With lots of power going through front wheels, the front tyres can last as little as 6,000 miles.• Alloy wheels are easily kerbed, and the intricate design means they can be a nightmare to keep clean.

Don’t be afraid of a car that’s been sympathetically upgraded. Items like stiffer springs and an engine remap can transform the driving experience. The V6 sounds great and is lots of fun, but servicing, fuel and road tax costs are high.

If you’re buying a Spider for occasional use, a petrol engine will be entertaining. However, the diesel makes more sense because the torquey engine copes better with the Spider’s weight, and it also offers the best economy.

German rivals continue to beat Alfa in ownership satisfaction polls, but Spider owners have generally found their cars to be dependable. However, Alfa’s dealer network was ranked 29th out of 30 in our 2012 Dealer Power reader survey.

Recalls

The Spider has been recalled twice so far, but only early examples were affected. The first recall was issued in July 2007, for models built up to February 2007. These could suffer from differential oil leaks, potentially causing the engine to seize and the driver to lose control of the car.

Five months later came a recall for Spiders built in October and November 2007. Some of these were fitted with sub-standard brake hoses, which could hamper braking efficiency; a complete failure was unlikely.

Check out the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) website for up-to-date recall information.

Driver Power

Our view:The Spider is too rare to feature in our Driver Power satisfaction surveys, but Alfa has – and it hasn’t done well. It was voted 23rd out of 30 manufacturers in 2012, which is worrying for a company that aspires to take on the prestige German brands.

Your view:Martin Wilson from Scunthorpe, Lincs, bought his 2009 Spider 2.4 JTDm new. “As a weekend toy it ticks all the boxes,” he says. “It’s torquey, frugal enough and surprisingly practical. Plus, it’s refined, comfortable and reliable.”

Contacts

Official: www.alfaromeo.co.uk   Forums: www.aroc-uk.com | www.alfaowner.com | www.alfabb.com | www.alfaworkshop.co.uk

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