2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio
2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Introduced as a 2018 model, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the Italian automaker’s first SUV. The Stelvio blends gorgeous Italian style with scintillating performance and a healthy helping of visual charm, along with luxury features.
For the 2019 model year, Stelvios get a new premium alarm system, plus the option of heated rear seats. Rear-wheel drive is now available for the base model. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard.
Two new option packages add some visual flair to the Stelvio body. New Nero Edizione option groups can add blacked-out trim elements and unique 20-inch wheels. A Sport Carbon package adds considerable carbon-fiber trim to Sport models, while a Carbon Fiber package does likewise to the top-end Quadrifoglio.
Three basic trim levels are offered – base, Ti, and Quadrifoglio – along with Sport, Ti Sport, and Ti Lusso versions.
All Stelvios except the Quadrifoglio use a 2.0-liter turbo-4 rated at 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters mates with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.
A 4-cylinder Stelvio can reach 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. A three-position Drive Mode selector is included, and aluminum paddle shifters are available.
Like the Giulia sedan, the Stelvio is offered in high-performance Quadrifoglio form, unleashing a Ferrari-sourced V-6 that whips up 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet. Acceleration to 60 mph occurs in a scant 3.6 seconds. Quadrifoglios now come with anodized brake calipers and 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, among other performance-focused features.
No Stelvio has been crash-tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Safety options are offered in two packages. For $800, the Driver Assist Static package adds blind-spot monitors. The $1,500 Driver Assist Dynamic Plus package encompasses automatic emergency braking with forward collision-warnings, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings, and blind-spot monitors.
Prices do not include $1,295 destination charge.
Base Stelvio ($40,295 with rear-wheel drive, $42,295 with all-wheel drive) has 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, a 7.0-inch instrument cluster display, and a 6.5-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Sport ($42,295 with RWD, $44,295 with AWD) adds 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, leather-wrapped steering wheel, roof rack, aluminum pedals, and paddle shifters.
Ti AWD ($44,495) includes all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels, woodgrain trim, heated leather seats, heated steering wheel, an upgraded 8.8-inch infotainment system, satellite radio, and front parking sensors.
Ti Lusso AWD ($46,995) comes with all-wheel drive, upgraded leather seats, aluminum roof rack, aluminum pedals, power lumbar support, and 19-inch wheels.
Ti Sport AWD ($47,295) has all-wheel drive, a torque-vectoring differential, Race mode, 14-speaker 900-watt audio, power front seats with lumbar support, adjustable bolsters, column shift, and heated leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Quadrifoglio AWD V-6 ($79,995) includes the 505-hp V-6, all-wheel drive, heavily bolstered seats, 20-inch wheels, rear underbody diffusers, carbon-fiber trim, blind-spot monitors, adaptive suspension, and navigation. Carbon-fiber accents and carbon-ceramic brakes are available.
A Ti Performance Package adds adaptive suspension and a mechanical limited-slip differential.
Hardly a straight line can be found on the Stelvio, which is practically a compendium of curves. The Stelvio serves as an indelible reminder that SUVs need not be blocky.
Like its platform-mate, the Giulia sedan, Alfa’s Stelvio features angular headlights flanking the iconic triangular grille. With curves positioned in all the best places, it’s simply one of the best-looking SUVs anywhere.
A sloping roofline and tapered rail give the essentially conventional two-box profile the look of a shapely wagon, more than a crossover SUV. Flared fenders and a muscular hood suggest the level of performance that awaits. Available 19- and 20-inch wheels make it even more enticing.
Inside, the Stelvio stays fairly simple. The driver-focused cabin is a logical match for the sultry body.
Seats come in quite a few colors, including red, which exudes plenty of flair. On upper trim levels, genuine wood and aluminum adorn the dashboard. The keyless ignition button is mounted right on the standard flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Front seats offer satisfying space and support, but the back seat is more snug, with only 31.9 inches of legroom. Adults are likely to consider the Stelvio’s rear accommodation a tight squeeze.
Cargo volume is constrained by the sloping roofline, but it amounts to 18.5 cubic feet behind the back row. Folding down the rear seatbacks expands space to 56.5 cubic feet.
For decades, the Alfa Romeo name has been accompanied by unfailing expectations of performance. Excellent handling and engine responses let the Stelvio deliver on those promises.
Similar in behavior to Alfa’s Giulia sedan, the Stelvio has quick steering and a tight, agile suspension. Near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution and a comparatively short wheelbase help, too.
Superior steering and suspension behavior mean a Stelvio can practically be compared to some sport sedans. Its handling gets even better in Sport trim, or with the Ti Performance Package.
The turbo-4 engine has sufficient vigor to hold its own against luxury competitors. The new rear-wheel-drive model offers even sweeter steering feel.
Plenty of race-ready performance features are included or optional, such as carbon-ceramic brakes and improved engine cooling.
Alfa Romeo’s DNA drive mode selector offers three choices: D (Dynamic), N (Natural), and A (All-Weather). Dynamic mode intensifies transmission and throttle operation.
The brakes could use more feel. The fully-electric assist system lacks the sharpness that highlights other elements of the Stelvio experience.
Fuel efficiency is in accord with European rivals. The base Stelvio is EPA-rated at 22/29 mpg City/Highway, 25 Combined. All-wheel-drive models are EPA-rated at 22/28/24 mpg. As expected, the Quadrifoglio is thirstier, EPA-rated at 17/23/19 mpg. All versions require premium gasoline.
Joyful to drive, priced and positioned as a true luxury SUV, the 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio boasts plenty of premium features, either standard or optional. Additional dollars are needed for a driver-assistance package that includes active safety features, led by automatic emergency braking. The Ti Sport model promises the best blend of looks, performance, and value – plus inevitable Italian charm and style.
Driving impressions by Martin Padgett, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.