Based upon the Giulia platform, Alfa Romeo’s first ever Sports Utility Vehicle – the Stelvio – is nothing short of an exciting, family friendly and stunningly beautiful mode of transport.
With the mammoth invasion of crossovers and SUV’s in recent years, it is no surprise that they are now the preferred steed on many driveways throughout the country – but what is a surprise, is that Alfa Romeo have joined the fray with the Stelvio.
Alfa to the vast majority will spell unreliability with a sports heritage, and I guess Alfa’s of old were really only owned by the enthusiast, those who knew and understood what Alfa was about and saw many of its woes as part of the charm of ownership.
In the last number of years, Alfa have been churning out cars that appeal to absolutely everyone and with it, somewhat boring offerings that just slip into the mainstream unnoticed without charm and flair that I personally expect from an Alfa. That said, the reliability and woes of old were all but a distant memory.
Today though – there is absolutely no stopping the Italian maker that has resurrected the brand – thanks mostly to the Alfa Giulia which was launched a year or two ago – offering everything an Alfa Romeo should whilst appealing to everyone along the way.
So with the correct underpinnings in place, what exactly is the Stelvio and what can it offer?
Well… The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a front engine, all-wheel-drive, and five-door, mid-sized luxury crossover that looks nothing short of remarkable. Offering a sporty and ultra stylish SUV that in its design is unmistakably Alfa.
On the model tested, a dual exhaust features alongside a wheel design that suits the lines of the car to perfection and I can see some likeness in its shape around the rear quarter to direct rival, Porsche’s Macan, which is no bad thing.
A large boot will suit expanding families or those of an active nature with kit bags or equipment to carry and ease of access is helped on the model tested thanks to the electrical open/close tailgate – compared to Range Rover’s Evoque and Mercedes’ GLA the Stelvio has class leading load space.
Inside the Stelvio is a great place to be with a secure feeling cabin which is not only very comfortable but rather sporty too, featuring quality leather trim and sports seats and steering wheel on this model under scrutiny.
Four trim levels start from £35,090 with the ‘Stevlio’ which offers a great amount of equipment such as an 8.8” Alfa Connect infotainment system which incorporates AM/FM radio, MP3, Aux-in and Bluetooth alongside a few USB ports both in the front and rear.
17” alloy wheels, automatic Bi-Xenon lighting, front fog lights and rain sensing wipers all keep you safe with further help from lane departure warning , rear parking sensors autonomous emergency braking and hill decent control.
Next in the line up, and starting from £37,290 is the ‘Super’ adding just a couple of things that include 3D navigation, 18” alloy wheels, front parking sensors and a 7” instrument cluster inside – this model will suit the business lease user perfectly.
For those wanting something a little more – the ‘Speciale’ really is the trim to opt for as you get a plethora of quality options such as 19” alloy wheels, electrically adjustable seats and door mirrors which also fold at the flick of a switch.
A cold weather pack feature inside consisting of a heated steering wheel, front heated seats and heated washer nozzles while a sport pack adds aluminium across the tunnel cover, front door moulding, gear shift paddles and foot pedals with a sports leather steering wheel finishing off the looks inside.
LED front fog lights and a headlight washer system help light the way whilst a sporty feel is given thanks to the red brake calipers and chrome window surrounds – the Speciale starts from £41,490 and is only improved with the model tested.
Given the seductive title of ‘Milano Edizione’ – this range topping Stelvio starts from £43,990 and in a moody way removes most of the chrome trim, replacing it instead with black trim that blends into the rear privacy glass fantastically.
20” V-spoke alloy wheels look absolutely incredible on this model tested and inside can only be described as having concert-like sound thanks to the 11 speaker audio system with sub-woofer built into the side panel of the boot.
A sport interior pack adds fully electrically adjustable driver and passenger sports leather heated front seats whilst a convenience pack provides keyless entry, exterior door handle lights, an air quality system and cool box in the central armrest.
Finally a driver assist pack gives front and rear parking sensors and a rear view camera with dynamic gridlines for ease of manoeuvring around town.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is available with a brace of engines, one being petrol whilst the other, a diesel – both with a pair of power outputs on offer and all mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox only.
Starting with the 2.2L diesel – coming with 177bhp and 332lb/ft of torque or 207bhp and 347lb/ft will see the Stelvio from 0-60mph in 7.4 seconds or 6.4 seconds respectively whilst both returning over 50mpg.
Finally the 2.0L petrol comes with 197bhp and 243lb/ft of torque or a hasty 276bhp and 295lb/ft which will see 0-60mph in 7 seconds or a far from slow 5.5 seconds respectively whilst both returning close to 40mpg.
Driving wise, the Stelvio really puts the ‘sports’ into Sports Utility Vehicle but with it, a firmer ride compared to most of its rivals – a driving experience that I, as an enthusiast, very much appreciated, though for some it may be a little too firm.
The Stelvio, drives and handles like a car which is something that many SUV’s struggle to manage yet if you head to a point-to-point or a day at the races, will cope with getting you safely across undulating terrain for a day’s sport.
Alfa’s DNA driving system is key to the Stevio’s versatility as you can select ‘Dynamic’ for those times when you wish to be the nest Lewis Hamilton, ‘Natural’ for everyday driving and ‘All-Weather’ for when things under-foot get a little challenging.
Alfa’s Stelvio will suit rural living or a country lifestyle every bit as much as it will cope with the school run and city living – a three-year warranty and attractive leasing options certainly make the Stelvio worth looking at – if nothing else for its sheer beauty and driving experience!
Words and Photos: Graham Curry
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