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2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

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2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Expert Review

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The 2018 Stelvio is an all-new luxury SUV from Alfa Romeo, which only recently reentered the U.S. market after a nearly 2-decade absence. Not only is this a brand-new vehicle, it's actually the first crossover SUV from the Italian automaker whose roots date to 1910. Though the Alfa Romeo is late to the premium-crossover SUV party and must compete with popular rivals like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, the Stelvio looks like one of the most interesting guests. The 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio boasts power, performance and premium appeal. If we can add a fourth "P" to that list, it's "passion." The Stelvio has an intrinsic allure and natural dynamism that could be just the keys to cracking its competitive segment.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a 2-row/5-passenger compact-luxury SUV that stands out with its design, athletic manners and sheer newness, the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio checks all the boxes. If you've simply been waiting for an Italian SUV at a reasonable price, the Stelvio's sub-$43,000 starting point is tempting.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The flip side of the above is that the all-new Stelvio is an unknown quantity. And while Alfa Romeo is part of the massive Fiat Chrysler Automobiles conglomerate, the Alfa brand itself is still making inroads back into the United States.

How It Ranks
What's New for 2018

The 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a brand-new compact-luxury SUV. It will debut in five trims, all with standard all-wheel drive and a 280-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder. Forthcoming is the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, a high-performance version with a 505-horsepower twin-turbo V6. The name “Stelvio” refers to a famed driving road in the Italian Alps.

Driving the Stelvio
Driving Impressions

Just about every luxury automaker aspires to put the "sport" in their sport-utility vehicle, but few have found a formula that fights the physics inherent in a higher-riding, 2-ton hauler....

... Count Alfa among the minority that has made a crossover SUV that is legitimately fun to drive. With 280 horsepower/306 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Stelvio is among the most powerful in its class, with gusto to go 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds. A rear-biased all-wheel-drive system and near-perfect 50/50 weight balance further the Stelvio's SUV-as-sports-car cause, as do a quick-shifting 8-speed transmission and drive-mode selector with a "dynamic" setting for a sportier feel. Thankfully, the Stelvio's athletic nature doesn't come at the cost of comfort. Away from the mountain passes and in more typical ordinary driving, we found the Stelvio compliant and easy to maneuver, only wishing for less wind intrusion and grabbier brakes.

REASSURING WARRANTY
If you're wary about reliability issues in your Italian luxury SUV, Alfa Romeo aims to inspire confidence in its product via its warranty. The Stelvio comes with a 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, while the powertrain is covered for five years/100,000 miles.

ALFA ROMEO STELVIO QUADRIFOGLIO
We haven't driven it yet, but the specs alone speak volumes. Arriving in early 2018, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will pack the same 505-horsepower twin-turbo V6 that's been stuffed into the Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan. With this Ferrari-derived engine, Alfa predicts the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Details
2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio photo Interior

The Stelvio has an appealing 2-row/5-passenger cabin. It is well-crafted with leather, available aluminum or wood trim, and a prominently horizontal dash highlighted by a 6.5-inch or 8.8-inch wide-screen infotainment display. The sport front seats have thick side bolsters that will snugly hold you in place, but they may be too snug for those with larger frames. If that's the case, opt for the standard seats. Like many of its rivals, the Stelvio's rear legroom is tight at only 31.9 inches. Cargo capacity is adequate, with 18.5 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up and 56.5 with them down.

Exterior
2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio photo

It's easy to see this Italian SUV emphasizes "sport" rather than "utility." The Stelvio boasts a sleek and flowing profile, with a long hood whose face looks like nothing else out there. Called the "Scudetto," Alfa Romeos have been using this prominent triangular design for eight decades. The Stelvio's sides have an upward sweeping beltline that meets muscular rear haunches and a sloped rear window, which is certainly more stylish than practical. On the utilitarian side, the Stelvio has a power-operated tailgate and 8.1 inches of ground clearance -- good to help deal with snow or light trails.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Upon debut, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio premium SUV comes in five trims: Base, Sport, Ti, Ti Sport and Ti Lusso. Even a base Stelvio is a nicely equipped, Italian-crafted machine. Among the highlights are leather interior, 10-way-power front seats, power liftgate, dual-zone climate control, rearview camera with rear parking sensors, and rain-sensing wipers. The standard 8-speaker audio system bundles AM/FM/HD Radio, has four USB outlets, and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Stelvio Sport models have a sport-tuned suspension, big steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles and 19-inch wheels in lieu of the standard 18-inchers.

Optional Equipment

The midtrim Stelvio Ti still represents a good value and adds heated front seats and steering wheel, heated windshield-washer nozzle, front parking sensors and the larger, 8.8-inch wide-screen display. Ti Sport models include 20-inch wheels and 12-way-power adjustable sport seats with premium leather, while the Ti Lusso swaps aluminum trim for warmer wood accents and luxury leather upholstery. Options include navigation, harman/kardon premium audio system and dual-pane sunroof. Packages bundle features like hands-free tailgate, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking with forward collision, lane-departure warning, and automatic high-beam assist.

Under the Hood

The base motivator and initial engine debuting in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is an impressive 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that spits out 280 horsepower and over 300 lb-ft of torque. These figures are higher than most of the Stelvio's rivals. Also in the Alfa's favor is standard all-wheel drive. The Alfa has a 3-mode selector called Alfa DNA, for Dynamic, Natural or Advanced Efficiency drive modes. The Stelvio uses a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission that pairs well with this engine. Like many of its rivals, the Stelvio has an engine start/stop system that cuts engine power at idle to save fuel. Thankfully, it can be manually defeated. The Stelvio is rated to tow up to 3,000 pounds. Coming later will be the high-performance Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
280 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
306 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg

2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Stelvio Quadrifoglio)
505 horsepower
443 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

The 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $42,990, including destination. The Stelvio Sport and Stelvio Ti both start just under $45,000, while the Ti Sport and Ti Lusso begin at $47,490. Festooned with packages and options, an Alfa Stelvio can reach into the mid-$50,000 range. At these prices, this Alfa Romeo SUV is in line with rivals like the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60. Lower-priced alternatives include the Lexus NX, Acura RDX and Infiniti QX50, while the Porsche Macan has a starting price several thousand dollars more than the Stelvio's. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new Alfa Romeo. As the Stelvio is all-new, its resale value is still unknown.

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