The holidays are long gone, but one of my most fond memories was my week behind the wheel of the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport AWD midsized SUV.
It’s a little quirky – but what’s wrong with that? Alfa Romeo’s design and genuine Italian craftsmanship combine to create a premium SUV that truly stands apart.
First of all the start/stop button is placed on the steering wheel. Secondly, the windshield wiper column works like none other I’ve ever experienced in over a quarter century of test drives. Thirdly, when lane departure is engaged and you drift a shade too close to the middle of the road, the Stelvio makes an extraterrestrial noise that scares you back to center.
Stelvio borrows its name from Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps. The 12-mile road boasts more than 48 hairpin turns, breathtaking views, and a dizzyingly quick rise in altitude, all the way up to 9,000 feet. One can only guess this SUV would be up to the task.
Stelvio is powered by an all-aluminum, 2.0-liter, direct-injection turbo I-4 engine paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, delivering a class-leading 280 horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque. It comes with paddle shifters that mimic a manual, delivering shifts in less than 100 milliseconds. It zooms from 0-to-60 in an estimated 5.4 seconds, had a top-end speed of 144 mph, and delivers 28 miles per gallon down the highway.
The intelligent Q4 all-wheel-drive (AWD) system – standard on all Stelvio models – delivers even more all-season traction and performance capability, thanks to the system’s ability to transfer up to 60 percent of the engine’s torque to the front axle. Even with a white Christmas, this sleigh made it to grandma’s house without so much of a slip.
Santa’s goodie bag was plentiful. Highlights included standard heated leather seats and steering wheel, front park sensors, genuine wood interior accents, cruise, rear back-up camera, dual-pane sunroof, Harmon Kardon premium audio, ambient lighting, navigation and much more.
Stelvio seats up to five adults with room to spare. The rear cargo area was also generous, and accessible via a remote lift gate release.
My tester’s Sport Package added a Formula One inspired steering wheel, 20-inch aluminum wheels, gloss-black window trim surround, black roof rails, aluminum sport pedals and footrest, and colored brake calipers (red, yellow or gloss-black).
Safety features, as one would expect, inspire confidence. Worthy of note are adaptive cruise control, blind-spot and cross-path detection, forward-collision warning plus, lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam control, an infrared windshield and hill descent control.
Crafted by Alfa Romeo artisans at the Cassino plant in Italy, the all-new Stelvio lineup (Stelvio, Stelvio Ti and Quadrifoglio) is a testament to Alfa Romeo’s perfect balance of engineering and emotion, creating a premium midsized SUV for driving enthusiasts that stands out in one of the largest and fastest-growing segments in the U.S.
Base Price: $43,995
Price As Driven: $53,640
Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.