Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Sprint

Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2023, front
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2023, side
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2023, rear
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2023, interior
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2023, rear seats
Alfa Romeo Stelvio, 2023, boot

IT'S not hard to understand the attraction of the SUV and why it's the must-have style of car that that most people want.

But in most cases the extra height that is the very essence of the it's appeal comes with a downside - a distinct amount of roll on corners.

Unless, that is, you opt for an SUV like the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, a car whose pedigree dictates that it would never seriously fall victim to such a heinous crime.

The Stelvio is the SUV for drivers who want height and space but insist on true sporting handling. In other words, the best of all worlds.

It's an impressive achievement really when you see just how high this car is. It uses the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Giulia but is raised some 22 cms.

So the first time you power into a tight corner or bend at speed you tend to be cautious, but the suspension is spot on and it flows through with barely any roll at all.

The entry level model of the Stelvio range is the Sprint, driven here, which is powered by a 200bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged engine capable of delivering very brisk 0-62 miles-per-hour acceleration in just 7.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 134mph.

And like all Stelvio models it benefits from on-demand four-wheel-drive, which means that under normal circumstances all power goes to the rear wheels but if any loss of traction is detected it automatically sends drive to the front wheels too.

Under extreme conditions the split can be as much as 50-50, so when it comes to winter driving the Stelvio offers serious peace of mind.

Like all Alfas the Stelvio is a car which has a sporting style all its own, both inside and out ensuring that it has a big following.

There's no mistaking that deep triangular grille and low air ducts, not to mention the offset registration plate.

Inside too the sporting theme continues with two traditional dials set deep into a black binnacle - so they are not affected by reflection - metal peddles and a dial giving you a choice of three driving modes.

True to Alfa Romeo's sporting heritage the starter button is mounted on the three-spoke steering wheel which also features large, fixed aluminium shift paddles so you can easily change gear manually even when turning the wheel.

Build quality is excellent and there are a host of on-board creature comforts including full leather upholstery, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

On the road the Stelvio is sharp and punchy and comes with an eight-speed seamless automatic gearbox.

But good as the box is there is no better way to drive an Alfa than manually with the paddles. That's when it really comes alive. And with pin sharp steering and dynamic mode engaged it's thrill-a-minute driving.

It's a wide car which means plenty of interior space for passengers and there's generous luggage space beneath the powered tailgate.

Despite the Stelvio's size Alfa have managed to keep the weight down by using aluminium suspension components as well as a carbon fibre prop shaft.

It doesn't have the best turning circle, however, so parking can be a bit of a bind and even though there is a reversing camera to help, the minute size of the touch screen means rear vision is still poor.

Customers taking delivery of the latest Stelvio will find some new features which enhance an already best seller and make it even more appealing.

The distinctive main grille and the two air ducts - known collectively as the Trilobo grille - has been given a contemporary new look.

At the same time the Italian car maker has decided that a car with this sort of performance needs Matrix headlights, which slightly changes the face of the car but dramatically improves safety.

FAST FACTS

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sprint

Price: £45,249

Mechanical: 200 bhp, 1,995cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via eight- speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 134 mph

0-62mph: 7.2 secs

Combined MPG: 33.2

Insurance Group: 31

C02 emissions:192 g/km

Bik rating: 37%

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