Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.0 280 hp AWD Speciale review.
For – handsome, responsive, drives well.
Against – fiddly stuff, pricey “extras”, weany screen.
Competition – Jaguar F-Pace, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Skoda Kodiaq, Honda CR-V, Volvo XC-60, VW Touareg, Porsche Macan, Ford Edge, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Mercedes GLC
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV was supposed to accelerate the storied Italian sports-car maker’s long-term revival plan but so far higher gear has yet to be engaged.
The Giulia was the lead dog in the campaign and sales haven’t been huge. After the Stelvio there should be a bigger SUV, a full-sized sedan, a coupe Giulia and a new small Giulietta, but Alfa surprised everybody when it unveiled the Tonale compact SUV at the Geneva auto show in March.
The Stelvio, named after a mountain pass in the Italian Alps with an epic 12 mile driving route with more than 75 hairpins, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio looks handsome and serious. The red paint job is a no-brainer must-choice, and I’m sure the driver of a black one coming the other way one day was cursing himself for making a dumb judgement.
The version I drove was the 280 hp 4-cylinder 2.0 litre version, and it was fast and responsive. The eight-speed automatic felt very effective and kickdown was pretty much instantaneous. There is no manual gearbox choice. The Stelvio hugged the road to the manor born and flattened out the bumps well.
The cockpit was attractive and practical when it wasn’t fiddly. For some reason Alfa Romeo insists on using a little wheel on a stalk to activate the windscreen wipers. I suppose if you owned a Stelvio you’d soon get used to it, but why bother to do something different that doesn’t at least have an advantage.
I also found the seat belt mechanism maddening. The clip that you have to find to click the belt into was buried deep into the narrow recess between the driver’s seat and the glove-box and in the week I had the Stelvio it was a problem every time. And the screen that monitors satnav, media and radio etc was miniscule by today’s standards. There was plenty of room in the back, and the boot passed the golf bag test, fitting snugly and diagonally even with the driver in place.
Fuel economy was hopelessly exaggerated. Alfa claims an average 40.4 mpg, but Honest John data shows you won’t get much more than 26 mpg. Not that 26 mpg is anything to be ashamed of in a big SUV like this.
This was a Q4 version, signalling four-wheel drive. The base price was £43,705, which surged to £48,490 with additions like Sports Leather interior £1,150, Harman Kardon stereo £950, and Active Cruise Control £990 (and standard on my Suzuki SZ5!). There are 3 trim levels – Stelvio, Super, Speciale. Prices start at £37,505 if you make do with two-wheel drive. You can choose a 2.2 litre 190 hp or 210 hp diesel or a 200 hp or this 280 hp petrol. At the top of the range is the Quadrifoglio 510 hp 2.9 litre 6 cylinder Bi-Turbo. But prices for this beast start at £69,500.
The entry trim level ‘Stelvio’ offers things like 17-inch wheels, LED rear lights and double lateral chrome exhaust pipes. There’s an eight-speaker audio system and two front and two rear USB ports. A multi-function leather steering wheel houses all the main controls.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Super adds stuff like bigger wheels and front and rear parking sensors, as well as a two-tone leather dashboard and leather and cloth upholstery.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Speciale features yet bigger 19-inch wheels with red brake calipers, chrome window surround, Bi-Xenon 35W headlights and power folding door mirrors. Inside you get heated front leather seats with six-way adjustment. Aluminium shift paddles on the steering column co-ordinate with the aluminium interior finishing’s and metal pedals to complete the look.
There is an impressive audio system featuring eight speakers which is standard across the range. 10 speakers and a 14 speaker Harman Kardon system are available.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio features the new Alfa D.N.A selector, which allows the driver to modify the car’s dynamic behaviour with three modes: Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency. I never raised the courage or inclination to mess with that.
What to buy?
When you are thinking of parting with such a huge amount of your hard-earned, the decision is made harder by the strength of the opposition. There’s the Jaguar F-Pace, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Skoda Kodiaq, Honda CR-V, Volvo XC-60, and VW Touareg, to name but a few fabulous choices. The Alfa scores well on looks and performance, but will undoubtedly lose out when you start comparing residual values. Best look for a tempting lease deal. I never got to test its off-road performance, but there’s no reason to think it wasn’t the equal of any on the list. If you want to avoid the conventional and the German, I’ve always had a soft-spot for the Volvo XC60. The Skoda Kodiaq deserves consideration too. Did I really just say that in the same paragraph as BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo?
|Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.0 280 hp AWD Speciale|
|Engine:||2.0 liter, 4-cylinder petrol|
|Power:||280 hp @ 5,250 rpm|
|Torque:||400 Nm @ 2,250|
|Acceleration:||0-62 mph-100 km/h 5.7 seconds|
|Top Speed:||143 mph-230 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined 40.4 mpg (7.0 l/km)
Honest John data 26 mpg
|Emissions class:||Euro 6b|
|Suspension:||double wishbone-4-1/2 link|
|Boot capacity:||525 litres|
|Competition:||Jaguar F-Pace, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Skoda Kodiaq, Honda CR-V, Volvo XC-60, VW Touareg, Porsche Macan, Ford Edge, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Mercedes GLC|
|For:||handsome, responsive, drives well,|
|Against:||fiddly stuff, pricey “extras”, weany screen|