The Stelvio’s one of the best handling SUVs out there but it has sacrificed a degree of comfort in return for outright grippiness
You can get the Alfa Romeo Stelvio with three petrol and two diesel engines and with either two or four-wheel drive.
Pick the 200hp 2.0-litre petrol model if you spend most time in town. It’s smoother than the larger 180hp 2.2-litre diesel and quieter at slow speeds, too. Alfa Romeo claims it’ll return 40.4mpg but expect to see around 30mpg in normal driving.
The 280hp petrol manages to return almost identical fuel economy to the smaller 200hp version yet can sprint from 0-62mph in a little over seven seconds. That’s hot-hatch quick from a high-riding practical SUV, but still some way off the range-topping petrol Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s 505hp 2.9-litre V6 3.9-second figure.
Don’t go thinking the Stelvio’s going to be particularly at home in the dirt. Thankfully, it is brilliant on the road and huge fun to drive around corners like those on the Stelvio pass…
One of the 2.2-litre diesel models will be a better bet if you cover lots of motorway miles. The 180hp version is quick enough for overtaking slower traffic, and the 210hp model is downright fast when you put your foot down. Both versions will return around 50mpg in the real world compared to Alfa Romeo’s claimed 58.9mpg.
All models come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox to help make long journeys and heavy traffic as stress-free as possible. You can also get four-wheel drive across the range that’ll be handy if you live somewhere prone to snowy winters, but don’t expect it to take you far off road.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s raised seating position gives you a decent view out over the road ahead, but the thick pillars – where the doors meet the roof – produce some large blindspots at junctions. The small rear windscreen makes reverse parking difficult too, but you do get rear parking sensors as standard across the range. Top-spec versions come with a reversing camera too.
The Stelvio’s firm suspension means it isn’t nearly as comfortable as an Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC but it beats the Jaguar F-Pace for outright driving fun and may even be better to drive than the Porsche Macan. The Alfa will carve through tight corners with confidence and feels more like a saloon than a tall off-roader.
Models with large alloy wheels fidget slightly over rough roads – especially at slow speeds – but they soon settle down into a fairly comfortable cruise on the motorway. High-spec Stelvios come with the option of adaptive suspension that’ll let you choose between relaxing or sporty handling. It’s better than the standard setup but still not as comfy as the Audi Q5’s system.
Unfortunately, the Stelvio isn’t as quiet as the German SUVs either. You’ll hear plenty of wind noise coming from the door mirrors and its four-cylinder engines make a higher-pitched noise than the smooth-sounding six-cylinder units offered by Audi and BMW.
You don’t get any particularly fancy off-road driving modes like you get in a Land Rover Discovery Sport either. Instead, you’ll have to rely on its standard hill-descent control and raised ground clearance to keep you out of trouble if you wander off the beaten track, but you’re best off keeping your Stelvio on the road.
The Stelvio scored an impressive five-star safety rating in the strict 2017 Euro NCAP crash tests making it one of the safest SUVs currently on sale. All models come with automatic emergency braking, which will stop the car for you if it detects an obstacle in the road ahead – perfect for a little extra peace of mind.