Caroline reviews the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is Alfa Romeo’s new SUV and it arrives in Ireland after the Italian brand’s renaissance led by the Alfa Romeo Giulia saloon in 2017.
With demand for SUVs seemingly unstoppable and any premium manufacturer worth its salt building one, it was inevitable that Alfa Romeo would turn its artistic hand to an SUV – enter the Stelvio.
The result is every bit as sensuous and dramatic as the Alfa Romeo Giulia saloon: from the deep plunging V-shaped grille around to the muscular rear, crowned with two large double exhausts. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is stylish and chic without being bulky or ungainly, the plight of many large SUVs.
Inside much of the interior design is carried over from the Giulia saloon. Many will love the higher ride height – in some ways this feels like a Giulia hatchback though I don’t know if Alfa Romeo would be impressed with that summation. While the Stelvio also sits five, it feels more practical for coping with family life.
The rear seat is comfortable for three and the footwells a decent size. The boot is 525 litres and aided by a powered tailgate as standard.
The interior looks and feels solidly built however the material finish is average for a vehicle with a starting price from €47,295. It’s a comfortable cabin and the driving position is reassuring with all controls falling to hand easily. The Alfa Connect infotainment system with 8.8” screen comes as standard and is controlled by a rotary controller. Safety equipment like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, integrated braking system and autonomous emergency braking also come as standard.
In Ireland Stelvio is offered with four trim levels: Stelvio, Super, Speciale and Milano Edizione. Standard equipment includes dual zone air con, cruise control, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, keyless start and 17” alloys. My Speciale model included 19” alloys with coloured brake calipers, full leather upholstery and heated front seats.
In terms of engines, the Stelvio is offered with a 2.0-litre petrol with 200hp or 280hp, and a 2.2-litre diesel with 180hp or 210hp. There are rear wheel drive and all wheel drive models available.
My test car was powered by the 2.2-litre diesel with 210hp, and it was also fitted with all wheel drive. The engine is noisy on start up and idle but it smooths out at speed. There is plenty of power and torque in this model and power is fed to the road via a standard 8-speed automatic gearbox. My fuel economy over a week of driving was 6.4l/100km.
What’s the Alfa Romeo Stelvio like to drive?
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is agile on the road and retains composure through bends with not too much body roll. The steering lacks feedback and it’s not as engaging to drive as the Giulia saloon. The Stelvio will settle down well for a motorway cruise, but there is some road noise audible. A firmer set up means that it’s not the softest ride in the class but it’s far from uncomfortable either.
The Stelvio SUV fills an important gap in the Alfa Romeo range with insatiable demand for SUVs among consumers. While in all senses and purposes, the Stelvio is competively sized and priced, and drives with style too, the interior finish makes the car less palatable at the luxury end of the market. Yet for ‘something different’ that’s practical and stylish, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio carves out its own niche.
Model tested: Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.2JTD Speciale
Price: €55,995 (Range from €47,295)
Engine: 2.2-litre turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 6.6 seconds
Top speed: 215km/h
CO2 emissions: 127g/km
Motor tax: €270 per year
If you are looking for a mid-size luxury SUV, you might also like this review of the Jaguar F-Pace.