New Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a sporting SUV

Hugh Maguire: Road testing 'a truly sporting SUV'

New Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a sporting SUV

The rise of the SUV is seemingly unstoppable! Nowadays every manufacturer wants a slice of this lucrative market and even legendary manufacturers such as Bentley, Lamborgini and Ferrari no less are getting in on the act. Its no surprise then that Italian sports car builder Alfa Romeo has followed suit. Their all new sporting SUV is called the Stelvio after that famous serpentine like mountain pass that runs through the Alps between Switzerland and Italy.

The new Stelvio is based on the Giulia saloon platform and it shares much of its technology such as engines, gearboxes and drivetrains.

Prices for the Stelvio kick off at €52,795 JTD rear wheel drive. There are four versions, Super, Speciale, Milano Edizione, and Quadrifoglio all with an 8-speed auto gearbox. Only the entry model is RWD all others are permanent AWD.

I am road testing the Speciale diesel AWD.

So has it any street cred?

Absolutely! I think this is a seriously good looking well proportioned SUV. The 19” Alfa Alloys really set it off too and I love the Alfa front end and chunky bold lines. Its gorgeous!

What’s it like inside?

The interior boasts a roomy well finished cabin with plenty of standard kit to please the most demanding of motorists. Conventional dials (which I welcome) a neatly integrated central screen and beautiful leather upholstery complete the luxury yet sporting feel. Highlights of the standard kit include, auto lights and wipers, Alfa “Connect” 3D Navigation, Lane departure warning, Autonomous emergency braking, Alfa DNA drive selector, aluminium gearshift paddles, heated seats, Bi-Zenon Lights, and much more.

Accommodation is excellent with bags of headroom both front and rear and the large load area is easily accessed via the electric tailgate.

What is under the bonnet?

A 2.0 petrol turbo is available as is a 2.9 litre V6 petrol, but the engine that sells here is the 2.2 JTD turbo diesel. With 210 bhp and that slick 8-speed auto it is a winning combination that endows the new Stelvio with plenty of pace. Overtaking is done with ease and it cruises happily all day in hushed refinement. Road tax is €390.00 per year and over some 900km of mixed driving it returned a healthy average of just 6.9 litres per 100km giving it a range of around 900km between re fuels.

Will I enjoy driving it?

First of all two things are immediately apparent thats different to most SUV’s. The steering is razor sharp, while the ride is pretty firm. The trade off is of course an SUV thats a blast to drive briskly down a twisty country road. The Stelvio aquits itself very well indeed. Its quite a sizeable car but gets down the road more like sports saloon than an SUV. Its nice to see that the Stelvio carries that sporting Alfa DNA and enthusiastic drivers who want a sports saloon but need an SUV will be very happy with this new Alfa.

So what is the verdict?

The new Alfa Romeo Stelvio is really a breath of fresh air in the often bland SUV market I really enjoyed every KM behind the wheel.

The Stelvio offers all the practicality of other SUV types but has true sporting driving characteristics. Its not a car for drivers who cant live with the very direct steering and firm ride, its a car for those who really enjoy a responsive car but need an SUV.

I would even compliment the Stelvio by saying only the Porsche Macan beats it for a rewarding driving experience. That's praise indeed!

The Stelvio Speciale costs €59,795.