Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Q4 AWD Super

Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2018, front, action
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2018, nose
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2018, front, static
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2018, side
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2018, engine
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2018, rear seats
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2018, interior
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2018, rear
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2018, boot

MENTION the name Alfa Romeo and it immediately conjures up the image of racy sports cars with the sort of flair that only Italian designers can manage.

So an Alfa SUV, particularly one with four-wheel-drive, is something of an anomaly.

But the growing craving for SUV models and crossovers means every manufacturer has been has been forced to respond, and in Alfa's case that response is in the form of the Stelvio.

But as you would expect from the Italian car maker the Stelvio is not your average docile family SUV.

It's a car that oozes style and delivers on performance.

It might have the additional weight of a 4x4 and it might be diesel powered but it's a car which is capable of rocketing you to 62 miles per hour in just 6.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 134 miles per hour.

So while Alfa has jumped on the SUV bandwagon it has also stuck to its traditional ethos of producing a performance car that delivers.

The bonus from the family motorist's point of view is that this performance car is not bad when it comes to fuel consumption either.

Alfa's official figures show an average of almost 59 miles per gallon although over a week's motoring my figure was nearer 42mpg.

The Stelvio, however, is a big car, or at least it's a very wide car. When parking on a coast road in Wales I noticed it was the only one I could see whose wheels actually overhung the white lines of the parking bay.

The bonus of that for passengers is plenty of shoulder room and a general feeling of spaciousness in the cabin.

Despite its generous proportions the Stelvio is an easy car to manoeuvre and park thanks to parking sensors front and rear as well as a rear view camera, although the on-screen view is relatively small compared to a lot of cars.

True to Alfa Romeo's sporting heritage the starter button is mounted on the three spoke steering wheel which also featured large aluminium shift paddles for manual gear changes to compliment the impressively seamless eight speed auto gearbox.

On the road the 2.2-litre diesel engine has plenty of torque and is never lacking when it comes to pulling power even with five people on board but I did find the engine noisier than I would have expected.

The Stelvio offers a very comfortable ride and its high stance means good all round vision, although for me that height meant there was not quite the same confidence-inspiring feel to it on fast bends that comes with Alfa saloons.

The all-wheel-drive - with power going to the rear wheels in normal circumstances and bringing the front into play when there is any sign of loosing grip - ensures that the car always remains stable however.

The Stelvio comes with some impressive kit, with the version I drove boasting heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, blind spot indicators and a powered tailgate, not to mention a speed camera warning satellite navigation system - so the Italian car maker is definitely out to impress with its first SUV.

FAST FACTS

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q4 AWD Super

Price: £38,490

Mechanical: 210bhp, 2,143cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving all wheels via eight speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 134 mph

0-62mph: 6.6 secs

Combined MPG: 58.9

Insurance Group: 31

C02 emissions: 127 g/km

Bik rating: 30%

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