Alfa Romeo Stelvio is an SUV created to combine performance car handling with the
versatility of an SUV. It’s a good-looking machine, the front is classic Alfa with its
prominent triangular grille, together with black trim, fat exhaust outlets and black 20-inch
rims with red brake calipers visible through them.

The term classic returns to mind when it comes to the interior, with its analogue dials,
driver-focused dash, aluminium trim inserts and heavily-bolstered sports seats.

You’ll find the start button located on the steering wheel and another one labelled DNA,
which provides access to three drive modes, along with another less conspicuous button in
the console that can be used to soften the ride in sport mode.

DNA stands for Dynamic, Natural and Advanced efficiency, in other words Sport, Normal
and Eco, with Dynamic mode delivering sharper brake and steering feel with more
aggressive engine, transmission and throttle tip-in calibrations

There are four grades from which to choose, starting with 147kW Stelvio from $64,950
(available by special order only).

For $5000 more, you get the Sport, also with 147kW and priced from $69,950. Then
comes our test vehicle, the 206kW Veloce, priced from $78,950.

At the top of the tree sits the Quadrifoglio, priced from a nose-bleed $146,950. Justifying
its price is 375kW twin-turbo V6 and mouth-watering o-100km/h time of just 3.8 seconds.

Standard kit includes Alfa DNA Drive Mode, dual climate control, heated leather sport
steering wheel, leather sports seats with power adjust bolsters, along with aluminium
pedals, shift paddles, with aluminium dashboard, tunnel and centre console inserts.

There’s also sporty red brake calipers, push button start on steering wheel with keyless go,
auto headlights and wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror, front and rear parking sensors,
and 35W bi-xenon headlights with auto high beam and an adaptive front lighting system

As well as more power and torque, Veloce adds a limited slip rear diff, active variable
suspension, beefed up brakes and 20-inch alloys.

There’s also a sports body kit, dual exhausts and a hands-free tailgate.

Inside you’ll find ambient lighting, stitched leather dashboard and door trim, 8-way power-
adjust front seats and heated rear seats.

Infotainment consists of an 8.8-inch touchscreen, with 3D Navigation, 10-speaker, 400-
Watt sound system, with subwoofer, AM/FM and DAB+ digital radio, plus Apple CarPlay
and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

It can be controlled from the screen, a rotary selector or advanced voice recognition

There is one front, two centre and one rear USB port, along with wireless phone charging.

The 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine produces 206kW of power at 5250 revs, and 400Nm of
torque from 2250 revs.

Drive is to all four wheels through an eight-speed traditional automatic, with over-sized
aluminium, column-mounted gear change paddles that make manual shifting extremely

Although it’s all-wheel drive, the system is biased towards the rear wheels to give the
Stelvio a sportier feel, with a limited slip rear diff that transfers drive between rear wheels.

Five-star safety includes six airbags and autonomous emergency braking, with forward
collision warning.
There’s also driver attention alert, rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, active blind
spot assist, lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring with rear cross path detection.

The powertrain is shared with the Giulia sedan, but because the Stelvio is larger and
heavier, it’s not quite as punchy — not that you’d notice.

Top speed is 230km/h and it does the dash from zero to100km/h in a brisk 5.7 seconds.

Being a high-riding SUV, there’s more body roll than a sedan. The trick is to reduce that
roll as much as possible.

The resulting ride quality is okay, but can be jarring at times, especially when it encounters
potholes, speed humps and some of our second-rate roads.

Surprisingly, there’s no head up display and the instrumentation is a bit, well . . . dated.

Two standard analogue gauges flank a small central driver display, without any of the
pyrotechnics of a fully digital cluster that is fast becoming the norm.
I imagine the Italians dismiss this as irrelevant. It’s how the car looks and performs that is
most important after all.

I kept looking for any mention of LED lighting, either inside or out, and found none which is
unexpected. Bi-xeno, yes — but they are so last season.

There are three drive modes: Dynamic (D), Normal (N) and Advanced efficiency (A) — ergo

As mentioned, in Dynamic or sport mode, it is possible to dial up softer suspension, but
surprisingly the ride is worse — so we left it where it was.

On first impression the 206kW turbo provides easy, effortless acceleration, but the ride is
fidgety, fussing all the time instead of settling down, with steering that requires constant
and undivided attention.

Take your eyes off the road for a moment and the car is likely to go walkabout.

The eight-speed auto is spot on most of the time, with slick timely changes and those big
paddles if you want to do it yourself.

But changing between forward and reverse can be tricky if you’re in a hurry. Pull the shifter
towards you and remember to put your foot on the brake while doing so, otherwise it just
won’t work.

The brakes are generally more than adequate, but lack some bite if you start pushing

Unlike most cars these days, the touchscreen is integrated into the dash, a style I
personally prefer as it’s more practical.

A generous boot comes with a 12V power outlet for the fridge, luggage net and adjustable
tie-down rails, with a space saver spare tucked under the floor.

Rated at 7.0L/100km, we were getting 8.6 litres per hundred from the 64-litre tank after just
over 1000km, including a run from Sydney to Canberra and back. It requires 95 RON
petrol which is ridiculously overpriced in Australia.

Like most Alfas, life with the Stelvio is something of a love-hate relationship. It’s a head
turner and it’s pretty quick off the mark, and it can carry a family in reasonable comfort.

For many that and the badge will be enough, but there’s room for refinement. The ride is
jerky, the steering touchy and so are the brakes, while the infotainment system doesn’t
really cut it compared to others.

Looks: 8
Performance: 8
Safety: 7.5
Thirst: 7.5
Practicality: 7.5
Comfort: 7
Tech: 7.5
Value: 8
Overall: 7.6


Stelvio: $64,950
Stelvio Sport: $69,950
Stelvio Veloce: $78,950
Stelvio Quadrifoglio: $146,950
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Alfa Romeo dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce, 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol five-seat

Capacity: 2.0 litres
Configuration: 4 cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 206 kW @ 5250 rpm
Maximum Torque: 400Nm @ 2250 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 95 RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 7.0 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 161 g/km

8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

Length: 4687 mm
Wheelbase: 2818 mm
Width: 1903 mm
Height: 1648 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 64 litres
Turning circle: 11.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 1619 kg

Front: 330 x 28 mm Ventilated disc, Two-piston floating caliper with ABS
Rear: 320 x 22 mm Ventilated disc, Single-piston floating caliper with ABS

Five years / Unlimited kilometres

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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