Overview

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio isn’t just a pretty face. Named after the tortuously serpentine Stelvio Pass in northern Italy—one of the country’s most revered driver’s roads—this compact luxury SUV has a chassis that sticks to curvy switchbacks like Pecorino Romano to spaghetti. Base Sprint models come with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is standard on all other trim levels—but every Stelvio gets a zesty 280-hp turbocharged four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic transmission. We recommend shopping the 505-hp Quadrifoglio model, reviewed separately, for a Stelvio that’ll light up your synapses. The standard model’s interior makes a good attempt at the luxury side of the business; however, its 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen is one of the smallest in a segment of more generously-sized offerings. A small-ish back seat and cargo area make the Stelvio a better choice for goers instead of stowers, but its iconic take on the traditional Alfa grille makes mistaking it for rival SUVs like the BMW X3 or Porsche Macan impossible.

Where This Vehicle Ranks

What's New for 2023?

Alfa Romeo is taking its top-trim Stelvio Veloce up a notch for 2023 with the addition of a limited edition Estrema model. The Estrema gets adaptive dampers and a limited-slip rear differential from the 505-hp Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Exterior styling includes carbon fiber mirror caps and grille trim, as well as 21-inch gloss black wheels. An available staggered-wheel option gives the Stelvio Estrema an even moodier look. The Estrema is sold with four paint color options: Alfa White, Alfa Rosso, Misano Blue, and Vulcano Black.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

We think the Stelvio Ti is the one to get. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is a $2000 option on the entry-level Sprint trim. The Ti adds desirable standard features that include larger 19-inch wheels, built-in navigation, a sunroof, and more available options. Most paint colors cost extra and there's a variety of wheel designs. We'd stick with the stock rims and opt for the Performance package (aluminum paddle shifters, limited-slip differential), and the Premium package (14-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo, leather dashboard and upper doors).

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Stelvio's turbocharged four-cylinder sends a hearty 280 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard on the base model, but all-wheel drive is optional there and standard on the rest of the lineup. While the engine was effortlessly quick in our testing and sounded great, the Stelvio's sole setup—aside from the high-performance Quadrifoglio—eliminates choices for the buyer and limits towing to a maximum of 3000 pounds. During daily driving, we were particularly fond of its responsive throttle and smooth power delivery. Its raspy exhaust note sounded enthusiastic and appropriate for this application. In addition to its beautiful design, the Stelvio boasts athletic handling and a compliant ride. Even with its 20-inch wheels, the version we tested provided sufficient isolation from all but the harshest bumps. While its maximum cornering grip was similar to rivals, the Alfa is the alpha dog when it comes to driving engagement. The chassis, which is shared with the Giulia sedan, had damping that was composed and comfortable. Although the Stelvio's steering isn't as sharp as the Giulia's, its light effort and quick reflexes were still exceptional—especially for a crossover.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

Although the Stelvio's real-world fuel economy and highway range are unremarkable, they align with four-cylinder competitors. The rear-drive model is rated at 22 mpg city and 29 highway. Adding all-wheel drive drops that highway rating by 1 mpg. The Stelvio we ran on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, returned 26 mpg on our test route. The Alfa's unrivaled performance and unique persona make this a nonissue in our minds, but alternatives such as the X3 and the Lexus RX are thriftier at the pump. For more information about the Stelvio's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Like the Giulia sedan, the Stelvio offers a stylish interior and a comfortable driving position. Sportier models can be had with carbon-fiber trim, but those seeking a more upscale appearance can choose wood inlays. In addition to a wonderful driving position, leather upholstery covers its supportive front seats, and handsome aluminum accents adorn the dash, doors, and center console. The Stelvio has some useful storage tricks up its Italian sleeve, but with a small cargo area behind the back seat, it's not the most capacious crossover among this set. Although the Alfa's other cubbies only held average amounts, we appreciated the useful smartphone slot between its cupholders and the tray near the driver's left knee. The center console also has a nifty removable tray at the bottom.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The infotainment system comes only in one size—8.8 inches—and responds to touch inputs as well as the handy rotary controller on the center console as a redundant control. Built-in navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are standard. We found the infotainment system to be visually attractive, but navigation alerts occasionally occurred too late, resulting in missed turns. Using one of the two standard smartphone-integration interfaces for navigation solves this minor issue.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The Italian-bred crossover has a host of standard driver assists. For more information about the Stelvio's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
  • Standard adaptive cruise control
  • Standard blind-spot monitoring

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Despite the company's reputation for reliability woes, Alfa Romeo endows the Stelvio with average warranty coverage.

  • Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles

Specifications

More Features and Specs

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