Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sport 2018 | Complete Review | with Steve Hammes | TestDriveNow

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sport 2018 | Complete Review | with Steve Hammes | TestDriveNow


Another storied sports car maker has acquiesced
to the crossover obsession. Meet the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio; a surprisingly
affordable small utility that puts the sport in SUV. I often get asked what crossover one should
buy when trading in their fun-to-drive car. There’s a perception that once you tread
into SUVville that the joy of driving is put way on the back burner.  Well, that’s not the case with the Stelvio;
a name derived from the Stelvio pass in the Italian Alps that boasts over 48 bends.  Thusly, the Stelvio is really good at taking
bends, curves and whatever else the spirited driver throws at it.  If you remember my review of the Giulia you
recall I named it the best sports sedan I’d ever driven.  That was the high octane Quadrifoglio version
however.  The Stelvio I have this week is the Sport
model, a lower level trim that adds bigger wheels, a firmer sport-tuned suspension, awesomely
large paddle shifters, a perfectly sized sport steering wheel, aluminum accents, colored
brake calipers and some aesthetic bits.  Base price of a Stelvio AWD is about $43,000
including destination and sits heavily optioned here at a very reasonable $52,985. Near perfect 50/50 weight distribution, low
center of gravity and very direct steering – because it’s based upon the Giulia,
much of what I love about that car is found here. The biggest difference, of course, between
that test-drive and this one is that a 2.0-liter turbo-4 takes up residence where the Quad’s
twin-turbo V6 would be.  But it still makes 280 horsepower, 306 pound-feet
of torque and hits 60mph in only 5.4 seconds.  The Stelvio’s engine is a powerhouse free
of any notable lag and willing to pull eagerly through all 8 gears.  Plus, it returns 24mpg in combined driving
on premium.  The only thing missing is an Italian soundtrack
– the twin pipes play nothing worth a 2nd listen. Man, Alfa’s driving game is on point. The steering is incredibly quick – that’s
the first thing you notice. It’s especially light and nimble and the
turbo is ready to push you back into the seat. There are huge, fixed paddle shifters and
a driving mode selector to suit your mood. The body is tight and the ride firm but forgiving. The brake pedal though has a really mushy
feel. The Stelvio is a small SUV definitely geared
towards the enthusiast driver. I love how the wheel has a thinner rim that
feels excellent in the hand and when it’s time to put the standard all-wheel drive to
work there’s over 8” of ground clearance to go along with it. Based upon a rear-wheel drive platform with
a carbon fiber drive shaft, it’s capable of pushing up to 60% of the torque to the
front axle.  Even on all-seasons it feels confident on
snow and ice but I’ve noticed how the system seems to bind a little with full lock-to-lock
turns of the wheel, like when pulling out of a tight parking space.  It also doesn’t come with any sort of off-road
settings such as an all-wheel drive lock, terrain management or hill decent control.  The DNA selector – short for Dynamic, Natural
and Advanced Efficiency – controls engine and transmission mapping to suit your style.  This model does not have the Active Suspension
so you’ve got to like a ride with feeling…it’s not harsh but you will experience the road
beneath.  In yet another miserable weather week up here,
snowy and icy roads kept the frisky driving in check but the Stelvio Sport’s handling
is quite impressive with a just a touch of understeer when pushed really hard and a willingness
to hustle through turns like a sports sedan. The area of least impressiveness is in here. It simply doesn’t live up to $53,000 expectations
with mediocre seats, aged infotainment and some questionable touch points. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are late availability
but I can’t understand why Alfa wouldn’t adopt the UConnect system and kick this thing
to the curb. Also late availability is a hands-free, kicking
controlled tailgate.  Its 56 cubic feet of cargo volume is comparable
to a Jeep Cherokee and there are handy levers to assist in dropping the 2nd row seat.  These seats don’t slide or recline yet provide
adult-friendly spaciousness.  And the dual-pane sunroof is a must-have addition
for added airiness.  Other than the unique placement of the start
button, the Stelvio’s interior displays little imagination and could use a heaping
dose of Italian design. The prospects of owning an exotic nameplate
are alluring, especially at this price, and Alfa is going after a more hardcore customer
here – a smart move to differentiate itself in a crowded segment.

28 thoughts on “Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sport 2018 | Complete Review | with Steve Hammes | TestDriveNow

  1. I like the Stelvio and the Gulia. If and when Alfa makes a coupè (not the 4C) I’ll definitely be looking at the lineup. The quality may be an issue but you only live once so I’ll be leasing. Lol.

  2. I drove to Rochester NY a few months ago to check one out. They had a deep blue sport model with a saddle colored interior.. WOW.. I REALLY was impressed with the asthetics and the reviews are not too far short of raving. I think the front end in non-quadrifoglio form leaves something to be desired, but it's so unique compared to anything else on our American roads that I could live with it easily enough. Great review as usual Steve! I know it's hard to keep the cars clean in NY this time of year, but I actually enjoy the shots where the car is a bit filthy.. alittle "patina" goes a long way haha. Keep up the good work. I must drive one of these new Alfa's !

  3. What you call very reasonable at $52,985. is in$ane for the average working stiff !Also parts, labor and very few dealers in$ane……………

  4. $53k is a pretty hard pill to swallow for a vehicle like this. Before anyone says anything, yes, I am aware that this is a competitive price for the segment. However, I still think that’s way too much money for a small SUV.

  5. Alpha didn’t put the Uconnect system in the Stelvio/Guilia because then people would complain that it’s parts sharing with a FCA product, similar to what people are doing to Maserati. Sure, the system could be better, but it’s not sharing an infotainment system with a Charger.

  6. Steve, you want to know why Alfa doesn't put the U-Connect system into its cars? It's because of stupid motor journalist bashing Maserati for doing the exact same thing. It's one of the most superior systems out there, but Motor journalist can't wrap their head around the fact that a Maserati uses it.

    So, I guess in fear they chose to use something different to give them brand differential.

  7. At 4:20 there's another faux pas….at +$52 K price point you can get the Sport Seats (big improvement over base seats), Leather dash and top of door cards in leather as well….Your car was probably a mid $40 K price…..

  8. what's the maintenance schedule look like? will it have 30k mile belt changes like its Quadrof' Giulia cousin or is this engine more 'normal' in the MX dept? nothing like having good expensive cars ruined by fragile drivetrains or interiors outdone by a Corolla. In any case, I'm sure the people who lease these rigs will be more than happy to be in them only to give it back and move into the next iteration, assuming their experience was pleasant, so they're good for a round-2…hopefully Alfa can dig into Jeeps's or other FCA part bins and nab some things to elevate the Stelvio to a place worthy of the $40k+ asking prices; at this rate, a Grand Cherokee High Altitude/Overland/TrailHawk doesn't seem too bad.

  9. Alfa’s quality & reliability appear to have returned with the brand & that’s too bad since they are attractive vehicles. Buy a Q5, Macan, or a Lexus if you aren’t daring

  10. Thanks Steve,
    When you read between the lines you give me a better understanding NOT to Purchase this vehicle.

  11. Have had the Stelvio Ti Sport since October and it's GREAT! What an amazing drive. Love it! Could there be some upgrades in interior trim? Sure. But the handling, engine and sheer joy of driving more than make up for it. I'll happily get another when the lease is up. Converted Alfista.

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