Alfa Romeo Stelvio long-term test review

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the Italian brand’s first ever SUV, and a rival to models such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Jaguar F-Pace. So, what’s it like to live with?...

Long-term Alfa Romeo Stelvio with flat battery
  • The car: Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.2D 210 Q4 Milano Edizione
  • Run by: Steve Huntingford, editor
  • Why it’s here: To see if Alfa Romeo’s large SUV is a match for the best prestige rivals when tasked with family duties
  • Needs to: Offer a practical interior, premium build quality, sensible running costs and a good blend of fun and comfort

Price when new £43,990 Value on arrival £35,340 Mileage on arrival 18,284 Mileage now 19,918 Official economy 58.9mpg Test economy 37.4mpg Options fitted Metallic paint (£770), Driver Assistance Pack Plus (£700), Sound Theatre by Harmon Kardon (£500) and space saver spare wheel (£275)

16 November – feeling flat

It was all going so well. The Stelvio had quickly won me over with its sharp handling, controlled ride and intuitive infotainment system. And then came Saturday afternoon, when it wouldn't start.

The first sign of trouble was a message on the dashboard telling me the car couldn't detect the presence of the key, despite it being beside me in one of the cupholders. Then when I tried to plip the doors in an effort to clear the error, I found the indicators flashed as normal but the doors wouldn't actually lock.

At this point I decided to phone breakdown assistance, and then temporarily abandon the Stelvio (in addition to my afternoon plans). However, when I tried to secure the car using the emergency manual key, I found that this only let me lock the driver's door; none of the others have a keyhole, and it turns out there's no remote locking when the battery is close to flat.

LT Alfa Romeo Stelvio key

This obviously renders the emergency key pretty much useless. But following a jump and a long drive the Stelvio appears to be working fine again.

My concern, of course, is that I don't know what caused the battery to go flat in the first place, so it could potentially happen again; it wasn't anything obvious, although the man from Alfa assist suggested I might have accidentally left the power on because, unlike most cars, the Stelvio doesn't require you to turn off the power before you can lock it.

This is one occasion where I hope I was indeed at fault.

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