BEHIND THE WHEEL: Alfa Romeo Stelvio
MONDAY JULY 13, 2020
Despite being another wagon on stilts, Alfa Romeo’s take is more pleasing in the eyes than most jacked up wagons. Furthermore, the base models don’t look inferior to its more faster and pricier Ti variant.
Only one Stelvio has left the showroom so the Veloce Pack that comes with heated leather seats, larger alloys, KONI dampers and cosmetic garnishes gets thrown in to accelerate sales and things suddenly look like a good deal. I gave the 2.2-litre diesel a go because it is the quicker car and it is a better choice if you do a lot of mileage.
A driver’s car
Upright back seats
0-100 km/h: 6.6s
Top speed: 215 km/h
$ 67,900 AUD
Inside the Stelvio, you can leave FCA Group prejudice at the door. I have a Giulietta, while it is nowhere as bad as what many think Alfas to be but nothing from that vehicle can be seen in the Stelvio. Sad to say, every switch and button feel a lot better than those found in my car.
The driving position is easily the best in class. Piloting a Stelvio is no more difficult than your familiar hatchback and when it comes to parking, it is actually easier than the Giulietta. I am no fan of diesels for the noise that intrudes the cabin but very little can be heard in this car and it is the first time I’d consider getting one.
Brakes are a touch grabby and those big paddles, you’d use them because they work very well with its decisive gearbox that shifts imperceptibly. If response is still slow to you, select dynamic, drive like a madman and it’ll still return 6.8l/100km. Billions that have been spent on the Giorgio platform does show in how masterfully the Stelvio carves corners. All that goodness from behind the wheel hardly comes by these days only to be ruined by springs that are simply too stiff.
As a result, every imperfection on the road will be felt. I can tolerate the ride quality but most buyers for this type of car will not. Moreover, space in the second row is limited and upright. The infotainment may lack definition but it is a lot more user-friendly than many mainstream giants'.
What Alfa’s first SUV really loses out on is technology which is something the masses look for today. Gesture gimmicks, massive displays and a million mood lighting to choose from. These features are hardly an essential but if car makers would like to stay relevant, they should at least be available as options.
That being said, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is one of the most enjoyable modern cars to drive even in diesel guise. An interesting exterior to go with a red or chocolate interior does make the Stelvio a desirable car that’s no worse than the usual German suspects.