This car will make you feel it all. And a little bit more.
I review a lot of cars and often get the question “What is your favorite car?” It’s an impossible question to answer, really. But I can answer this: What car did I most love driving in the past year? The Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
This is a luxury SUV and like a true luxury product, it changes how you feel and how you see yourself. Refined. Knowledgeable. Rewarded. Capable.
Some people will look at you and get it. She’s all that. Others won’t but they will get that there’s something special going on. What is she all about?
Here’s the magic that Stelvio casts, and why I loved driving it:
1. It drives like a dream. You won’t know you’re driving an SUV. It’s perfectly balanced, sharp as a laser and lighter than air. During my test drive, I parked next to a Suburban at our local grocery store. As I was getting out of the Stelvio the fellow driving the Suburban was returning with his purchases. “What’s that like to drive?” He asked. I could hear the envy in his voice. “Light and agile,” I replied.
2. You have all the benefits of driving an SUV without the weighty, muscle-y truck feel that SUVs typically have. The Stelvio’s power is at your fingertips, literally. No need to put your back into each turn or steel your core to see over the hood. You might forget you are driving an SUV until you want to bring home a table or have to clear 18” of snow in your driveway. Then you’ll remember.
3. It has the most unique and lovable steering wheel. Yes, they are not all alike. Alfa Romeo’s steering wheels are thinner than most, easy to grip —especially by more refined female hands— and a delight to hold. Car designers will tell you the steering wheel is everything; it’s the only part of the car you constantly hold in your hands and you spend a lot of time looking at it. It should look and feel great, as well as being incredibly functional. Stelvio is a solid 10 on each point.
4. Its elegant driver controls don’t get in the way of the drive experience. It’s a classic design at its best: Understated, minimalist, elegant. Everything you need at your fingertips. And, there’s no clutter: Close the cup holder cover and turn off the infotainment screen and all you see is beautiful wood, leather, chrome, and the road. Ahhhhh.
5. The Stelvio’s DNA drive modes let you pick the drive experience. Mostly, I’m an eco driver. I like to save gas and don’t mind taking it easy on the road. But sometimes the road offers too much fun—great curves, hills, and a nice, plump speed limit—and I want to remember why I love driving. Putting the Stelvio into D mode (dynamic) tightens the drive experience; you can hear the engine a bit more and the accelerator is more responsive. The other modes are N (natural), which you might also call comfort or normal mode; and A mode (advanced efficiency) delivers the best fuel economy (and the least power).
6. Take the experience to the next level in the Quadrifoglio. The model we test drove, the Ti, has a 4 cylinder 280 horsepower turbocharged engine. The Quadrifoglio takes the power up to 505 horsepower (.supplied by a V8 engine). Shortly after my week-long test drive I attended an event and took the Quadrifoglio out for a spin. Holy cow. It’s sort of like adding a rocket booster to all that light-as-air, perfect balance and laser focus driving. And it’s simply fantastic.
7. Interior details that complement your excellent taste and personal style. Panoramic sunroof, cream leather upholstery and very courageous white carpets (which I might honestly cover with rubber mats considering the muddy-footed people who are often in my back seat). Every time you get into the Stelvio you’re reminded you’re in a special place.
8. Those wheels. Talk about balance—they are open and elegant, distinct and gorgeous, like the perfect piece of jewelry that compliments everything you wear, from jeans and boots to a cocktail dress. I never get tired of looking at them.
9. Be a standout on the road. I see plenty of Stelvios on the road—more than I would have thought considering this is a newish outlier brand in the auto world. But they are not the wallpaper of the gym parking lot or school carpool lanes, so you won’t accidentally try to unlock someone else’s car when leaving the mall. You’ll know exactly which car is yours.
And with that perfect balance and laser-focused drive experience, there’s no ‘meh’ here at all. And that’s exactly what a $50,000-something SUV should deliver.
This is what you get for the price of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio
- Alfa Romeo Stelvio TI AWD base price, which includes 4 cylinder 280 HP turbocharged engine, DNA drive modes, power liftgate, 8.8” infotainment screen, downhill descent control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, heated power front seats, one USB under the center console and two in the back seat: $44,745
- Add the Lusso package with all-wheel drive, upgraded leather seats, aluminum pedals, and roof rails: $2,500
- Add the driver assistance package with blind-spot monitors: $650
- Upgrade the driver assistance package with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning auto-dimming bright headlights and forward collision mitigation: $1,500
- Add the panoramic sunroof: $1,350
- Harman/Kardon premium sound: $900
- Heated rear seats: $350
- Navigation: $950
- Walnut door trim: $350
- Price of the model we test drove with delivery: $56,990
- Starting price of the Quadrifoglio: $80,425
What We Listened to in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio
You’re in a refined cocoon. Fill it with music. This is what sounded really fine during our test drive.
Disclosure: The Alfa Romeo Stelvio was provided for this test drive. All opinions are my own.