|Positives: Provides Giulia-like driving thrills, potent turbo-four, lovely Italian sheetmetal, gorgeous matte paint finish.
|Negatives: Dinky infotainment screen is annoying, some cheap interior bits, tight second row.
|Bottom Line: Aside from the crappy in-car technology and the tight second row seating, the Stelvio is a wonderful sporty crossover that drives as good as it looks.
The Stelvio is a driver's luxury crossover. In fact, even in Competizione guise, it's not all that luxurious. It's more of a premium sporty crossover because of the way it handles, steers, and manages directional changes. You almost forget that you're in a crossover.
Ride Quality: Even with 19" wheels, the Stelvio Competizione handles road imperfections like a champ. The ride is firm but compliant, sporty but well-dampened. It never feels isolated from the road in the process, though.
Acceleration: Despite the fact that it only has 280 horses under the hood, the Stelvio will rocket to 60 mph in a little under 5.5 seconds, which is very quick. The 8-speed automatic transmission makes quick work of shifting duties, and the huge paddle shifters are an asset.
Braking: The Brembo front brakes are strong and progressive. They're a great companion to the engine and scrub speed well as you enter turns.
Steering: The steering has good effort and decent feedback, and it's on center at highway speeds. It's not as good a the Giulia's, with whom the Stelvio shares chassis, but it's close.
Handling: There's some minor body roll, but it's not very noticeable. The balance of the Stelvio is remarkably good, and you can hit apexes and exit like a champ.
The in-car tech in the Stelvio is better starting this year because of the new 12.3" configurable instrument cluster. It's easy to read and attractive. It's too bad the infotainment system is a pain to look at, as well as to operate.
Infotainment System: We actually can't say very good things about the Stelvio's small-ish 8.8" touchscreen. It would be better if it weren't as cramped with the graphics and menu, and it just doesn't seem all that responsive. We find it to be quite distracting from the driving experience.
Controls: For the most part, we really like the physical controls like the big climate control knobs, the traditional shift knob, and the huge paddle shifters. We're also very thankful for the physical audio controls.
The Stelvio is a looker no matter what trim you get it in. The curves and creases add up to a distinctly Italian flavor that even borrows from sports cars like the exotic Competizione 8C and the 4C roadster. The Moonlight Grey Matte paint dials up the looks even more.
Front: The triple beam headlights and the iconic Trefoil grille look great together. The contours of the hood also give the Stelvio additional aggressiveness from the front view.
Rear: We love the taillights that come from the Giulia, as well as the round pipes and the protruding Alfa Romeo Milano badge.
Profile: The Stelvio looks great from the side view with excellent proportions, short overhangs, and a total absence of chrome. The black 5-hole wheels add appropriate menace.
Cabin: The horizontally stitched seats with the debossed Alfa Emblem headrests look fantastic. We also love the red stitching on the steering wheel, dash, shifter, and seats. Overall, the layout is very good inside, but there are some cheap plastics that are obvious upon first look.
Overall, the Stelvio is comfortable, but it gives up too much rear seat space in our opinion. We would've sacrificed a bit more cargo space to make the biggest Alfa actually practical for families. It's too bad there's not more space for adults.
Front Seats: The front row seats are excellent. Bolstering and cushioning lend to comfort for long drives and great support in spirited turns.
Rear Seats: A mere 35.9 inches of rear legroom isn't very impressive, especially when the smaller Tonale gets 38.0 inches. The BMW X3 is a tad bigger (36.4), as is the Genesis GV70 (37.2). Thankfully, all three positions in row two are decently comfortable in the cushions and seatbacks.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Sound deadening is decent, but some road noise does come through. There are no squeaks or rattles that we could notice.
Visibility: Overall visibility is very good. Only the C-pillar is on the thick side and obstructs the side rear view a little bit.
Climate: The climate system responds well to inputs, and the large vents in the dash provide good airflow.
Despite the fact that the Stelvio hasn't been tested by the IIHS or the NHTSA, it has strong sets of both standard and optional safety tech. Further good news is that the Giulia sedan on which the Stelvio is based did well in crash tests.
IIHS Rating: Not tested.
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: The Stelvio comes with Full–Speed Forward–Collision Warning Plus, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control with Full Stop, Blind–Spot and Cross–Path Detection, Front and Rear Park–Assist Sensors, and a Rear Back–Up Camera
Optional Tech: Our tester came with the Active Assist Plus Package for $700, which includes Traffic Sign Information, Active Driving Assist System, Lane–Keep Assist, Intelligent Speed Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Active Blind–Spot Assist, and Driver Attention Alert. It's a very comprehensive set for not much money.
The Stelvio is practical when it comes to cabin space and cargo space. It's a bit ironic given the fact that the second row is tight.
Storage Space: The front row has good, easy access points like the decently-sized cubby, armrest, and door pockets.
Cargo Room: There's 18.5 cubes behind row two and 56.5 cubes with the seats folded flat. The load floor is flat, and the opening is wide. We love the small cubbies behind the wheel wells that hold items that might otherwise roll around.
The powerful engine in the Stelvio, combined with all-wheel drive, isn't hugely efficient. But even with a heavy foot, we seemed to do ok with efficiency. We primarily drove in sport mode, but we managed to do decently overall in mostly local driving. More conservative driving should net very close to EPA estimates.
Observed: 18.4 mpg.
Distance Driven: 163 miles.
Our tester came with the well-appointed but pricey $6,100 Preferred Package that comes with the excellent 14–Speaker Harman Kardon Premium Audio system. It sounds great with strong bass and good clarity. It's just too bad you have to spend this much to get the upgrade.