- Standard AWD and quick acceleration
- Great handling/ride comfort balance
- Seductive styling inside and out
- A rough and slow stop-start function
- Unknown reliability performance
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Expert Review
New for 2018
The Stelvio is an all-new model from Alfa Romeo that shares the same platform and powertrains as the Giulia sedan.
The Stelvio is Alfa Romeo's sole crossover with a starting price higher than the Giulia sedan but lower than the 4C sports car.
The 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Stelvio Ti come standard with all-wheel drive and are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produces 280 hp and 306 lb-ft of torque and delivers an EPA-rated 22/28 mpg city/highway. The high-performance Quadrifoglio model utilizes a 505-hp, 443 lb-ft of torque 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 that routes power to an all-wheel-drive system. Both powertrains are backed by an eight-speed automatic. In Motor Trend testing, the Stelvio Ti Sport hit 60 mph in a quick 5.4 seconds and the quarter-mile in 14.0 seconds at 97.3 mph.
The 2018 Stelvio comes standard with many features including HID projector headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, power folding and heated side view mirrors, an integrated rear spoiler, LED interior ambient lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7.0-inch color driver's display, a 6.5-inch center display with a rotary controller, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four USB ports, 10-way powered leather front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power liftgate, automatic up/down on all windows, Alfa DNA Drive Mode Selector, Brembo four-piston front brakes with one-piston rear brakes, and 18-inch wheels.
Available features include black roof rails, genuine Light Walnut Wood trim, leather-wrapped upper door panels and instrument panel with accent stitching, an 8.8-inch widescreen center display with 3-D navigation and rotary controller, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, aluminum sport pedals, luxury leather seats with Cannelloni design, heated front seats and steering wheel, 110V auxiliary power outlet, hands free liftgate, trailer tow hitch, a mechanical limited-slip differential, an active suspension system, an 20-inch sport aluminum wheels.
Some of the driver assist safety features can be found in the Driver Assistance Static package (also available with front parking sensors), which includes blind-spot monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, and auto-dimming exterior mirrors. The Driver Assistance Dynamic Plus package consists of Adaptive Cruise Control Plus with full-stop, Forward Collision Warning Plus (includes automatic emergency braking), Lane Departure Warning, and automatic high beams. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio has yet to be crash tested, however, the 2018 Giulia (the sedan on which the crossover is based) is considered an IIHS 2017 Top Safety Pick+, the highest honor issued by the institution.
What We Think
"Although there are people haulers and people haulers that haul ass, none do the latter with such glamour as the Stelvio. Damn, this thing looks good. And I hate SUVs," we said in a First Drive review of the 2018 Stelvio. We also loved the driving experience, "…I found the Stelvio to be a new contender for the best-handling SUV on the planet. Sure,?Motor Trend?recently?tested top-end versions?of the?Porsche Macan,?Mercedes?GLC, and?Jaguar?F-Pace, which will scoot quicker, but if we're looking at just base models, the Alfa could very well take the crown for most-fun-to-flog crossover."
The crossover's 5.4-second 0-60 time and 28 mpg highway are also impressive. However, we aren't fans of the low-revving 2.0-liter turbo engine, red-lining at only 5,500 rpm. In a controlled panic stop, the Stelvio "dove to a quick stop without fuss" instead of triggering "an instant and uncomfortable?ka-dunk ka-dunk ka-dunk?from the ABS fighting for traction," as in most vehicles (the Stelvio has standard Brembo brakes).
One drawback on the Stelvio is the lack of any kind of terrain driving modes for the all-wheel drive system in case the driver ventures off-road. We had a few complaints, "The engine drones a bit when cruising in the 2,500- to 2,800-rpm range. The navigation system cuts out all audio—rather than quieting it slightly—when it gives directions. The steering wheel requires manual tilt and telescoping adjustment rather than powered controls, which seems petty except that most luxury players offer it. The stop-start system is slow to react, and when it does, it's with an unpleasant jolt (but it can be defeated, fortunately)." We concluded by saying, "But these are minor quibbles for a vehicle that is dynamically outstanding and does a good enough job of ergonomics and features while packaging it all in a beautiful wrapper."
In our First Test review of the 2018 Stelvio, we immediately called it the "sports cars of SUVs," but it is a lot more than that. The Stelvio is the fastest four-cylinder SUV in its class and quicker than many V-6 (naturally aspirated or turbocharged) crossovers. Considering the starting price, it's a speed-bargain. The Stelvio aces canyon roads as well thanks to its superb steering and transmission, "The Stelvio scythes through a canyon better than some legitimate sport sedans. It flows around curves like massage oil over bare flesh. The steering responds immediately and precisely as the body leans in like a star running back changing direction. Both the steering and the car feel light and delicate, dancing down the road with the slightest effort. The transmission is always in the right gear, and the engine is surprisingly linear in response. After every corner, you marvel at how fast the Stelvio was able to take it and resolved to take the next one even faster."
The crossover is even comfortable for daily driving, "Left in 'N' mode, the Stelvio is more than happy to loaf gently through town. You have to try to make it spill your coffee. It's as easy to drive in traffic or on a long highway commute as any luxury SUV." During testing we experienced three electrical issues, worrying for a brand known for electrical problems. Also, the engine stop/start function is slow to restart the engine, the brakes have no feedback due to the brake-by-wire system, and the infotainment system got mixed reviews. "In that way, the Stelvio is everything we've come to expect from an Italian car. It's shamelessly good-looking and drives with a passion normally reserved for expensive sports cars, but it's got quirks you're going to have to be willing to put up with."
That Stelvio comes standard with a carbon fiber driveshaft, double wishbone front suspension, patented Alfa Link design with vertical rod link rear suspension, and Brembo four-piston front calipers clamping 13.0-inch rotors and single-piston rear calipers with 12.5-inch rotors.