|Lease Term (months)||36|
|Miles per year|
While others are busying themselves sweating details such as fuel economy, cargo space, and long-term reliability, you could be raising your pulse driving the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio on your favorite curvy back road. This Italian thoroughbred is one of the sharpest driving of its ilk and it borrows heavily from the also-entertaining Giulia sports sedan. A turbocharged four-cylinder provides decent power, while the cabin offers a driver-focused layout and a stylish design. Speaking of styling, we think the Stelvio looks great and it certainly stands out among blander designs from Acura, Audi, and BMW. The fact that Alfa Romeo’s reputation for reliability is checkered is a reason to hesitate, but driving enthusiasts will find plenty to love, and the Stelvio’s charms may outweigh those concerns.
An all-new infotainment system is featured prominently on the 2020 Stelvio’s dashboard and features an 8.8-inch touchscreen interface that’s prettier, easier to navigate, and can be customized to the driver’s preferences. A handful of new driver-assistance features are now available as options, including a semi-autonomous driving mode, and Alfa Romeo has made autonomous emergency braking a standard feature this year. The interior has been elevated slightly, with a redesigned center console, improved knobs and switches, and an available wireless smartphone-charging pad. Sport, Ti, and Ti Lusso models now come with a body-color exterior design kit that replaces the black plastic lower cladding with painted pieces for a sportier look.
We’ve driven several versions of the Stelvio but we think the best one is the Ti model with the Performance package. It comes with more standard equipment than the Sport—including all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, aluminum doorsill protectors, and front and rear parking sensors. The Performance package adds an adaptive suspension and a mechanical limited-slip rear differential that turn up the heat on the Stelvio’s performance.
The Stelvio’s turbocharged four-cylinder sends a hearty 280 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic transmission with your choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. While this powertrain was effortlessly quick in our testing and sounded great, the Stelvio’s sole setup—aside from the high-performance Quadrifoglio—eliminates choices for the buyer and limits towing to a maximum of 3000 pounds. During daily driving, we were particularly fond of its responsive throttle and smooth power delivery. Its raspy exhaust note sounded enthusiastic and appropriate for this application. In addition to its beautiful design, the Stelvio boasts athletic handling and a compliant ride. Even with its 20-inch wheels, our Ti Sport test vehicle provided sufficient isolation from all but the harshest bumps. While its maximum cornering grip was similar to rivals, the Alfa is the alpha dog when it comes to driving engagement. The chassis, which is shared with the Giulia sedan, had damping that was composed and comfortable. Although the Stelvio’s steering isn’t as sharp as the Giulia’s, its light effort and quick reflexes were still exceptional—especially for a crossover.
Although the Stelvio’s real-world fuel economy and highway range are unremarkable, they align with most competitors. The version we tested returned 26 mpg on our test route—2 mpg shy of its EPA highway estimate. The Alfa’s unrivaled performance and unique persona make this a nonissue in our minds, but alternatives such as the BMW X3 and the Lexus RX are thriftier at the pump.
Like the Giulia sedan, the Stelvio offers a stylish interior and a comfortable driving position. Sportier models can be had with carbon-fiber trim, but those seeking a more upscale appearance can choose wood inlays. Leather upholstery covers the Stelvio’s supportive seats and handsome aluminum accents adorn the dash, doors, and center console. The Stelvio has some useful storage tricks up its Italian sleeve, but with a small cargo area behind the back seat, it’s not the most capacious crossover among this set. Although the Alfa’s other cubbies only held average amounts, we appreciated the useful smartphone slot between its cupholders and the tray near the driver’s left knee. The center console also has a nifty removable tray at the bottom.
The new infotainment system comes only in one size—8.8 inches—and although it now features a touchscreen, Alfa has retained the handy rotary controller on the center console as a redundant control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are standard; navigation is optional. We found the infotainment system to be visually attractive, but navigation alerts occasionally occurred too late, resulting in missed turns. Using one of the two standard smartphone-integration interfaces for navigation solves this minor issue.
The Stelvio has not been crash tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Italian-bred crossover is available with a host of high-tech safety and driver assists. Unfortunately, almost none of them are standard. Key safety features include:
Despite the company’s reputation for reliability woes, Alfa Romeo endows the Stelvio with average warranty coverage.
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