In-depth reviews

Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV review

"The Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV blends good looks, a great drive and real quality at a competitive price"

Carbuyer Rating

3.9 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Fantastic design
  • Great to drive
  • Frugal diesel

Cons

  • Not as practical as rivals
  • No manual gearbox
  • Reliability concerns

Verdict - Is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio a good car?

The Stelvio nails its brief of being an SUV for driving enthusiasts, offering one of the sharpest drives in its class and strong performance. It’s also handsome and rare enough to stand out in a car park. It falls down slightly inside, where it’s perfectly liveable but doesn’t boast the very latest infotainment tech or a giant boot. Company car drivers may also baulk at the high Benefit-in-Kind ratings of its petrol and diesel engines; there’s currently no plug-in hybrid or electric option available.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio model models, specs and alternatives

The medium-sized premium SUV class is busier than ever, with the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC, Jaguar F-Pace, Volvo XC60 and Porsche Macan all fighting to come out on top. As it makes a push upmarket, Alfa Romeo joined in with its take on the formula: the Stelvio.

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The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a great car to look at; it takes all the best bits of the Alfa Romeo Giulia saloon and adapts them to suit the tastes of SUV buyers. It’s a sporty, muscular design that’s on a par with the Porsche Macan, or even the Maserati Levante from the class above. If you want your family car to turn heads, you can’t do much better than the Stelvio, especially since its 2023 facelift added distinctive ‘3+3’ headlights in a nod to iconic past models.

The Stelvio’s impressive interior might fall short of the Audi Q5 and Porsche Macan in terms of build quality and cutting-edge tech, but it’s still a lovely place to sit. This was maintained with a significant package of upgrades at the end of 2019 that included improved cabin materials and an updated infotainment system, while its more substantial recent facelift ushered in a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster for the first time.

There’s the high driving position you’d expect from an SUV, as well as plenty of space for five people. Standard equipment is generous, but it’s worth noting that leather is only available on top-spec models and isn't standard like on some rivals.

Engines include a 2.2-litre diesel with 207bhp, or a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol with 276bhp – both of which are shared with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and provide a good blend of performance and fuel economy. Four-wheel drive – Q4 in Alfa Romeo speak – is standard on all post-facelift models, while an eight-speed automatic gearbox that can be controlled with sporty steering-wheel paddles is the only transmission offered, with no manual option.

Facelifted Stelvios are available in three trim levels: the entry-level Sprint, Veloce and Competitzione, plus the range-topping Quadrifoglio, which is practically a separate model. This high-performance version takes on the Porsche Macan GTS in performance terms, and shares the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s Ferrari-developed twin-turbo V6 engine. It produces 503bhp and gets the Stelvio from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds. Better still is that it's an SUV that's not only fast in a straight line, but also one that handles beautifully.

Even in standard form, the Stelvio is great to drive. For a tall, relatively bulky SUV, it’s remarkably manoeuvrable and light on its feet, with responsive steering and barely a trace of body lean – the Stelvio is the lightest car in its class and it certainly feels it. Big tyres mean there’s loads of grip in corners and if the going gets slippery, the Q4 system can send power to the front wheels to improve traction. Despite its sporty character, the Stelvio still proves comfortable when all you want is to cover big distances.

According to our 2020 Driver Power survey, Alfa Romeo owners are a very satisfied bunch – the brand finished ninth overall out of 30 brands surveyed (even with concerning reliability feedback), but the maker hasn’t appeared in the results more recently.

In Euro NCAP crash testing, the Stelvio achieved the full five stars, with a "near-perfect" 97% score for adult occupant protection. It carries all the latest must-have safety features, including autonomous emergency braking, although some driver aids are optional and carry an additional cost.

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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