The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is good value, has powerful engines and is loads of fun to drive for an SUV – but the interior materials don’t feel as luxurious as in similar cars and the suspension is a bit too firm
Okay, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s swooping exterior design may look better from some angles than others – it’s essentially an Alfa Romeo Giulia that’s been stretched vertically – but the it costs a good chunk less than the Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5, and also the similarly sporty Jaguar F-Pace.
Like the Jaguar, the Stelvio’s interior gives you the sensation that you’re in a sports car rather than an SUV thanks to recessed dials and plenty of silver trim accents. Unfortunately, you’ll find some cheap-feeling plastics in the Stelvio’s cabin that you wouldn’t find in a BMW X3, and the buttons you press don’t feel anything like as sturdy as the ones in the more premium-feeling Audi Q5.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is behind the Audi Q5 when it comes to infotainment, too. All models get an 8.8-inch system that comes with sat-nav and smartphone screen mirroring but it can’t match the Audi system on speed and ease of use and also doesn’t have graphics that are as crisp and colorful.
You sit closer to the road than in many alternatives, giving you a better feel of the car. That said, you can still jack the seat up quite a fair bit for a commanding view. Sitting lower doesn’t mean overall visibility in the Stelvio is bad, but you still need the assistance of the standard-fit rear parking sensors when reversing into a parking space.
Space in the back isn’t bad either. There’s room for two adults in the back of the Stelvio which is similar to what alternatives can do and kids will find it massive back there. The 525-litre boot is big enough for a week away with the family, but it’s not the biggest in class. The Jaguar F-Pace beats it with a 650-litre boot that’s about 20% bigger making it the more-practical choice.
The Stelvio is spacious and practical enough, and loads of fun to drive – but just isn’t quite on par with SUVs from Audi and Mercedes
That said, there are few alternatives that can challenge the Alfa Romeo Stelvio for its enjoyable driving experience and only one comes close – the more expensive Porsche Macan. In the right spec, a Stelvio steers and grips almost like a sports car which is sure to put a smile on your face if you enjoy driving. There is a drawback – the suspension is firm over most roads and becomes quite bouncy on really poor surfaces.
As for engines, your best pick is the 2.0-litre diesel. It has more than enough oomph for quick overtakes and it’s possible to get around 50mpg out of it in normal driving. The diesel, however, can be a tad clattery when cold making the smoother and quieter petrol a better bet if you drive mostly in town – it is considerably thirstier than the diesel, though. There’s also a 510hp performance model that is utterly bonkers – read our Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio review to learn more about it.
You don’t need to go for the most powerful model to enjoy driving the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and if you’re willing to sacrifice some comfort and practicality, you’ll find the Stelvio to be an SUV that can put a very big smile on your face. However, to some, the roomier, comfier and more luxurious Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5 will still remain the go-to choice.
The Stelvio is less expensive than the GLC and Q5 so have a look at our Alfa Romeo Stelvio deals to see if you can fit a few extra choice options while still keeping within budget. For more detailed analysis of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, read through the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages.