Review: Alfa Romeo Stelvio (2017)
Interior much improved over previous Alfa models. Excellent handling for an SUV. Impressive engines including 2.0-litre turbo petrol. Five star Euro NCAP rating.
Still not as well-executed as German rivals. Odd brake pedal feel.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio (2017): At A Glance
- New prices start from £36,990, brokers can source from £31,011
- Contract hire deals from £357.05 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 29–36
- On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio manages to capture Italian charisma and enjoyable handling in a practical, family-friendly package. It’s not as flawlessly executed as a pricier Audi Q5, but it has plenty of appeal – especially if you want a dose of style with your family SUV.
Underneath the bigger, taller body, a lot is shared with the Alfa Giulia saloon. That means strong 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines along with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional on lower trim levels and standard towards the top of the range.
On the road, the Stelvio has impressive handling for an SUV, with very little body roll, direct steering, and strong engine response. The only oddity is the fly-by-wire brake pedal that lacks feedback and feels a little alien, at least for the first few miles on a country road.
Inside, the layout has typical Alfa features like deeply-recessed instrument dials, plus there are some really nice touches like the option of open-grain wood. Material quality is good, though it’s not up to the standards of an Audi or BMW, with some ugly-looking plastics on the infotainment controller, for example.
But practicality is good, with a wide, flat load area and a decent level of rear leg- and headroom. Even older kids and teens will be able to get comfy – but if you’re really after practicality and family-friendliness, the Audi Q5 is better, with more space for passengers and a larger boot.
However, the sacrifices in terms of space and practicality are minimal and, if you like the style and driving dynamics, a few flaws are easily forgiven. Compared to its more established German rivals it doesn’t feel quite as well-finished, but it's still a very accomplished SUV and a worthwhile alternative.
What does a Alfa Romeo Stelvio (2017) cost?
Buy a used Alfa Romeo Stelvio from £29,000
Alfa Romeo Stelvio (2017): What's It Like Inside?
- Euro NCAP rating of five stars
Inside, the Stelvio shares a lot with the Alfa Romeo Giulia. That’s a good thing – it’s a big step forward for Alfa Romeo after years of poorly-made cabins. Material quality is good on the whole, with nice touches like real, open-grain wood inlays and sturdy build quality, at least for the most part.
There are a few flaws. Some areas don’t feel as strongly constructed as others – like the centre console which flexes a little when you rest your knee against it. Some of the materials don’t feel all that premium either, like the plastic surrounding the rotary infotainment controller.
But there are standout details. The deeply recessed instrument dials being one, plus the fuss-free, straightforward minor controls for radio or ventilation. Space is ample too, with a good level of rear head and legroom plus a sizeable, wide, flat boot. It has a high load deck, but that’s normal for an SUV and no worse than rivals.
The boot capacity is 525 litres, which is plenty for pushchairs, shopping trips, suitcases or anything else you’d expect to fit in a family car. You can also fold the seats down to carry those bulky objects like furniture flatpacks. It might be capable, but it’s a little behind the Q5 in terms of outright volume.
Standard Equipment is very impressive though, with an 8-inch display, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, auto emergency brakes, DAB radio and keyless start among the features. Going for higher equipment grades brings largely cosmetic extras including larger wheels and leather upholstery.
Standard equipment (from launch):
Stelvio comes with 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, Alfa Connect 8.8-inch screen, auto lights, auto wipers, auto emergency braking, DAB radio, dual-zone climate control, electric parking brake, engine start button, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, reversing sensors and a tyre inflation kit.
Super trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, 7-inch TFT instrument cluster, navigation, front parking sensors, part leather seats and a two-tone interior finish.
Speciale adds 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, aluminium interior finishing elements, heated power leather seats, heated sports steering wheel, heated washer nozzles, power-folding door mirrors plus red brake calipers.
Milano Edizione adds 20-inch alloy wheels, 10-speaker audio system, keyless entry, reversing camera, gloss black window surround, tinted rear glass and sports seats with power adjustment.
Child seats that fit a Alfa Romeo Stelvio (2017)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Alfa Romeo Stelvio (2017) like to drive?
- Engines range from 2.0 T 200 4WD to 2.9 BiTurbo Quardifoglio
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 23–45 mpg
While it’s an SUV, Alfa Romeo is keen to emphasise how much effort has gone into the the driving dynamics – and the Giulia underpinnings provide a strong starting point. The Stelvio is among the lightest SUVs in its class, plus it has some trademark Alfa Romeo features like a quick steering rack.
Through bends it has very impressive body control for such a tall vehicle, with little in the way of roll even when pushing on hard or changing direction suddenly. And yet, despite its cornering ability, it’s fairly comfy over lumps and bumps, particularly if you avoid the biggest 20-inch wheels.
Unfortunately, despite the strong handling there are some flaws with the driving experience. The fast steering might be typically Alfa, but it’s unusual in an SUV and takes a bit of getting used to. The brakes are also odd – the pedal uses a 'fly-by-wire' system with no direct connection to the hydraulics, so they don’t weight up or provide feedback in the way traditional brakes do.
It takes a few miles to get used to them, but they perform the job of stopping the car well enough. All cars have an impressively smooth and responsive eight-speed automatic gearbox and the Alfa Romeo DNA system, which has Dynamic, Normal and All-weather driving modes to choose from. The system changes various settings including throttle response and gearchange patterns to suit the situation.
The engine range is straightforward, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 2.2-litre diesel. Go for the petrol and there are 200PS or 280PS power outputs, with all-wheel drive as standard. The diesel engine provides 180PS if you go for rear-wheel drive, or 210PS if you go for all-wheel drive.
Both engines are smooth, refined and punchy, with plenty of power in the mid-range thanks to turbocharging. Even if you go for the entry-level engine you shouldn’t have too much trouble with slip roads or overtaking, while motorway cruising is subdued and relaxed.
Fuel economy is surprisngly decent for a big all-wheel drive SUV, with the petrol officially capable of 40.4mpg and the diesel managing 58.9mpg. Go for the basic, rear-wheel drive diesel and the official economy figure improves to 60.1mpg, with company car tax friendly emissions of 124g/km. Of course you're very unlikely to see these figures in the real world. You're better off checking Real MPG.
If you want to venture off the beaten track then the all-wheel drive system will help to an extent and there is a hill-descent control system. But the Stelvio is decidely an on-road SUV. If you plan to cross rivers and muddy fields on a regular basis you're much better off with a Land Rover Discovery Sport.
|2.0 T 200 4WD||30–40 mpg||7.2 s||161–183 g/km|
|2.0 T 280 4WD||30 mpg||5.7 s||161 g/km|
|2.2 D 180||60 mpg||7.6 s||124 g/km|
|2.2 D 180 4WD||59 mpg||-||127 g/km|
|2.2 D 190||53 mpg||7.6 s||139 g/km|
|2.2 D 190 4WD||50–50 mpg||7.6 s||149 g/km|
|2.2 D 210 4WD||41–59 mpg||6.6 s||127 g/km|
|2.9 BiTurbo Quardifoglio||24–29 mpg||3.8 s||210–227 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Alfa Romeo Stelvio (2017)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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