19 February 2004

Alfa Romeo’s first four-wheel-drive model in almost a decade breaks cover at the Geneva show, but the 156 Crosswagon won’t be coming to the United Kingdom.

The Crosswagon is the first of a long list of future four-wheel-drive Alfas – Kamal, new 157, Spider and GTV – most of which are destined to cross the Channel.

At launch, Alfa limits the Crosswagon to a single model powered by the 150bhp 1.9 JTD. The new estate sits 60mm higher, adds aluminium protection plates, and rides on 225/55 R17 all-season rubber for limited off-road ability.

Alfa engineers favoured a permanent four-wheel-drive set-up with a central Torsen differential coupling that automatically varies torque between the front and rear axles as required.

Suspension changes aim to improve handling and off-road performance. Inside, the only obvious change is the addition of a compass.

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