Alfa Romeo Stelvio review

Category: Large SUV

Section: Performance & drive

Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 rear right cornering (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 front left cornering (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 rear right cornering (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 dashboard (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 rear seats (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 infotainment (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 front wide right cornering (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 wide rear right cornering (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 front seats (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 boot open (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 front left cornering (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 rear right cornering (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 dashboard (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 rear seats (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 infotainment (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 front wide right cornering (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 wide rear right cornering (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 front seats (LHD)
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 boot open (LHD)
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In this section:
  • Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
  • Suspension and ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Noise and vibration

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

When picking an engine for your Alfa Romeo Stelvio, we suggest sticking with diesel; there are two 2.2-litre units offering 187bhp or 207bhp. All versions are responsive from low revs and pull strongly throughout the whole rev range, whisking you up to motorway speeds with ease. The 187bhp engine (badged as the 2.2 Diesel 190) provides a good compromise between power and costs, with smooth yet responsive performance – it takes a respectable 7.6 seconds to reach 62mph from a stop. The quicker 2.2 Diesel 210, which is only available in range-topping Veloce trim drops that time to 6.6sec. Both engines are quick by class standards compared to equivalent diesels in rivals like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and F-Pace.

There’s also a pair of 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engines. The 2.0 Petrol 200 gets 197bhp, while the quicker 2.0 Petrol 280 gets 276bhp and is only available in Veloce trim. The more powerful engine takes just 5.7 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph, but both engines need to be worked hard to show their true muscle. Neither of these engines make the Stelvio feel as fast as the on-paper numbers suggest, and this detracts from the feeling of sportiness. We’d stick with the diesels, and because you can only get the 207bhp version in pricey Veloce trim, the 187bhp is the pick of the range.

However, it’s a different story entirely if you’re considering the other petrol engine: a stonking 503bhp 2.9-litre V6 that’s fitted exclusively to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, which we’ve reviewed separately.

Suspension and ride comfort

With so much talk of the Stelvio being designed to out-handle the opposition, it shouldn’t be a great surprise to find that it has a rather firm ride. Although it never bangs or crashes over potholes or big road imperfections, it does feel quite unsettled at low speeds – you’ll feel yourself being jostled around in your seat. At higher speeds, however, the sports-oriented suspension set-up is better, dealing with crests and compressions with a fluency and finesse that is usually reserved for the best sports saloons.

As for both of the 2.2-litre diesels, you’re always aware of that gritty dirge that traditionally blights cars fuelled from the black pump – the diesels available in the X3 and Q5 are far more refined. Road noise is more obtrusive in the Stelvio than it is in the Q5, too, while the mirrors whip up some wind noise around the front pillars. 

Every Stelvio has an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. Unlike the slightly hesitant gearbox in the Audi Q5, the Stelvio’s reacts more immediately when you want a sudden burst of acceleration. You can also alter the urgency of its gearshift via the driving mode selector in the centre console, with ‘Dynamic’ offering the sportiest mode. It can feel a little jerky on downshifts at lower speeds, though, regardless of which mode you’re in.

New car deals
Save up to £2,267
Target Price from £44,102
Save up to £2,267
or from £543pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £44,495