Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force
- Refined feel
- Comfortable ride
- Strong competitors
- High price tag
- Rivals are more practical
What's the Alfa Romeo Stelvio like?
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio - the first SUV in the company's 100-year history – is a superb all-rounder, easily able to shrug off anything a family can throw at it.
Yet it also holds delightfully true to the long held company tradition of building beautiful cars that are a joy to drive.
It takes a good number of styling cues from the lovely Giulia saloon that has wowed motoring writers and owners ever since it came out.
And it’s based on the same superb rear or four-wheel drive (4WD) chassis, with suspension that gives tenacious roadholding combined with a composed and comfortable ride.
Since production started in 2017 there have been three petrol and two diesel engines to choose from.
Most have the 4WD chassis, but the lowliest 190bhp 2.2-litre diesel has also been available with rear-wheel drive and all drive through an excellent 8-speed automatic gearbox.
Petrol engines start with a 2.0-litre turbo that has 200bhp and reaches the benchmark 0 to 60mph in 7.0 seconds while managing 35mpg.
Then comes a 280bhp version of the same engine that brings the sprint down to an exceptional 5.5 seconds and is still capable of the same economy.
Finally, the range topping Quadrifoglio boasts a 2.9-litre V6 twin turbo with a supercar-like 510bhp. This firecracker covers the sprint in an almost unbelievable 3.7 seconds.
On the diesel front there have been 180bhp, 190bhp, and 210bhp versions of the same 2.2-litre power unit, but the 180bhp disappeared soon after launch.
The 190bhp gets to 60mph in 7.4 seconds and is capable of 49mpg, while the 210bhp version brings the sprint down to 6.4 seconds and is capable of 58mpg.
The 8-speed gearbox works perfectly for most people in normal fully automatic mode, but when pressing on, the manual setting can be brilliant.
This is because it has gear change paddles like those in a Ferrari, fixed to the steering column behind the wheel, rather than turning with the wheel as they do in Audi's and most others.
The Stelvio is a hugely refined, amazingly agile, and decidedly quick car, with brilliant handling and roadholding.
With such a fixed set-up, the driver always knows exactly where they are and changes are quick and easy.
When the paddles are on the wheel, they're often difficult to hit, and it's easier to use the Sport automatic setting instead.
In the Stelvio however, this gearbox setting only comes as part of the standard Alfa DNA package. This has three settings – Normal, Dynamic and All Weather – and uses adjustable dampers and the car's engine management systems to change driving characteristics.
In Dynamic, you get stiffer damper settings, increased engine torque, revised auto change up points, and weightier steering.
However, the Normal suspension settings are so good that most owners will never bother using anything else.
Levels of equipment are excellent throughout the range, so simply make sure you have everything that you want before laying your money down.
Find your Alfa Romeo Stelvio your way with CarStore
In typical Alfa Romeo style, the Stelvio combines good looks with first-class driving dynamics. While rivals are stronger in the practicality department, the interior is still roomy enough for the whole family to sit comfortably and plenty of equipment makes for a very enjoyable drive.
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