By on 2022-07-22 -
Alfa Romeo Stelvio -
Used Car Review
THE Alfa Romeo Stelvio - the first SUV in the company's 100 year history - is a superb all-rounder easily able to shrug off anything a family can throw at it.
Yet it also holds delightfully true to the long held company tradition of building beautiful cars that are a joy to drive.
It takes a good number of styling cues from the lovely Giulia saloon that has wowed motoring writers and owners ever since it came out.
And it's based on the same superb rear or four wheel drive (4WD) chassis, with suspension that gives tenacious roadholding combined with a composed and comfortable ride.
It's one of the best looking large SUVs on the market from every angle and it's as accomplished as it is beautiful.
Since production started in 2017 there have been three petrol and two diesel engines to choose from, but I gather that in the latest line-up, the diesels have been dropped.
Most have the 4WD chassis, but the lowliest 190bhp 2.2 diesel has also been available with rear wheel drive and all drive through an excellent eight speed automatic gearbox.
These are hugely refined, amazingly agile and decidedly quick cars, with light weight helping them to belie their size.
Petrol engines start with a 2.0-litre turbo that has 200bhp and reaches the benchmark 0 to 60 in 7 seconds while managing 35 miles per gallon.
Then comes a 280bhp version of the same engine that brings the sprint down to an excellent 5.5 seconds and is still capable of the same economy.
Finally, the range topping Quadrifoglio boasts a 2.9-litre V6 twin turbo with a supercar 510bhp. This firecracker covers the sprint in an almost unbelievable 3.7 seconds and if you need to ask the fuel consumption, you can't afford it!
On the diesel front there have been 180, 190 and 210bhp versions of the same 2.2-litre power unit but the 180 disappeared soon after launch.
The 190 gets to 60 in 7.4 seconds and is capable of 49mpg while the 210 brings the sprint down to 6.4 and is capable of 58mpg.
The eight speed gearbox works perfectly for most people in normal fully automatic mode, but when pressing on, the manual setting can be brilliant.
This is because it has gearchange paddles like those in a Ferrari, fixed to the steering column behind the wheel, rather than turning with the wheel as they do in Audis and most others.
With such a fixed set-up, the driver always knows exactly where they are and changes are quick and easy.
When the paddles are on the wheel, they are often difficult to hit and I have always found it easier to use the Sport automatic setting instead.
In the Stelvio however, this gearbox setting only comes as part of the standard Fiat/Alfa DNA package. This has three settings - Normal, Dynamic and All Weather - and uses adjustable dampers and the car's engine management systems to change driving characteristics.
In Dynamic, you get stiffer damper settings, increased engine torque, revised auto change up points and weightier steering.
However, the Normal suspension settings are so, so good that most owners will never bother using anything else.
The handling is tremendous and roadholding marvellous with amazing 'chuckablity' for such a large machine.
Levels of equipment are excellent throughout the range, so simply make sure you have everything that you want before laying your money down or signing that lease agreement.
Pay about Â£20,650 for an '18 18-reg 190bhp 2.0 Turbo Diesel Sport, or Â£33,000 for a '20 20-reg petrol 2.0 Turbo 280bhp Ti.
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