Alfa Romeo Stelvio Super 2022 Review : Stelvio. Pass?
Singapore - Trust the Italians to come up with a crossover named after an infamous stretch of road high up in the mountain ranges of Northern Italy. But that’s exactly what Alfa Romeo has done with the Stelvio SUV.
Yes, an Alfa Romeo crossover. Built atop the bones of the Giulia sedan, the Stelvio is the brand’s first foray into creating a mass market SUV to satiate the tastes of consumers who prefer high-riding soft roaders over low-slung sedans.
As a presenter on a popular motoring show once said, “You’re not a true petrolhead until you own an Alfa.” While that statement couldn’t be further from the truth, one can’t deny that Alfa Romeo has a reputation for producing cars that stir emotions. A way of making cars that tug at your heartstrings.
Of course, most of these emotions often boil down to one key element: Appearance. It’s superficial, we know. But looks are an important attribute where attraction is involved. Typically, this is where a crossover would often fall short of the mark.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Super - The Looks
However, in the case of the Stelvio, it’s a look they’ve… actually nailed. While some sedan-based crossovers may appear like bulbous versions of their smaller counterparts with rugged plastic cladding, the designers at Alfa have managed to retain some of the Giulia’s best features and transplant them onto a crossover shell.
Not an easy feat considering most D-segment crossovers aren’t as easy on the eyes as this.
The front fascia is a dead ringer for the Giulia sedan, with near identical headlamps (albeit with different lighting elements and DRLs) and the same mixture of curves and creases that give the Stelvio its prominent front end.
Crucially, it retains Alfa Romeo’s signature trefoil grille design with a “Scudetto” (that’s “little shield” in Italian) and 19-inch teledial-inspired rims.
It’s around the sides and the car’s rump that the Stelvio’s design begins detracting from that of the Giulia’s. The cab back design and steeply raked C-pillars are vaguely reminiscent of the sedan, but the Stelvio sits on the road approximately 220mm higher than its counterpart. This Stelvio Super gets a simple rear bumper and diffuser with chrome exhaust tips poking out from the rugged cladding. And it's got a 525-litre boot, to boot.
So the Stelvio is roomy, lofty and relatively svelte. What is it like on the inside?
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Super - On the inside
Like the front fascia, the dashboard of the Stelvio is also a dead ringer for the Giulia sedan. Identical centre console, identical buttons for the HVAC and infotainment system, same DNA dial for the car’s various drive modes and the same ZF electronic shifter. Complete with a tiny badge bearing the colours of the Italian flag under the gear lever. Leave it to the Italians to inject a little patriotic pride.
However, there are several upgrades that this facelift model receives over its previous iteration. Standard features on the car now include wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless charging pad for smartphones and a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system. The infotainment screen itself is now touch-operated, a feature that was lacking in the pre-facelift car. The car also receives a redesigned leather-wrapped steering wheel and a leather dashboard as standard fit, so you won’t have to shell out more dollars for additional bits of cowhide.
Admittedly, the fitment and finish of several touch points leaves much to be desired, and several of the plastic trim pieces can feel a little coarse if you rummage around. However, taken in as a whole, the cabin is a considerable step up from Alfa Romeo’s prior cars. You know, the bevvy of re-skinned FCA group hatchbacks like the Giulietta or the MiTo. The Stelvio and Giulia are exempt from such mediocrity.
Just like the Giulia, the rear door aperture in the Stelvio is also rather narrow, so you’d need some degree of mobility to get in and out of the rear. But once you step in, you’d find that it’s a space that most Singaporeans would comfortably fit in. For those who are blessed with more verticality than others, you may find that being chucked in the rear bench is a bit of a squeeze.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Super - Under the skin
Under the hood of the Stelvio lies a longitudinally mounted, 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that produces 200 horsepower and 330Nm of torque in this Stelvio Super guise. There is a quicker “Veloce” variant with the same (albeit retuned) 2.0-litre that produces 280hp/400Nm, and a shockingly rapid “Quadrifoglio” variant with a twin-turbocharged V6. But that’s another story.
However, don’t be fooled by the sedate power figures of this Stelvio Super’s 2.0-litre four-pot. It gets from 0-100km/h in a not-so-sedate 7.2 seconds and tops out at 215km/h. Still plenty of power and pace for tackling Singapore’s road network. And then some.
The Stelvio is built atop the FCA Giorgio platform that is shared with its sedan sibling and the upcoming Maserati Grecale SUV. Impressive bones then, matched up to a perfectly competent powertrain.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Super - How does it drive
Outright performance isn’t the Stelvio Super’s strong suit. Nor does it need to be. This is an SUV that doesn’t cater to niches, instead, it appeals to the masses with its good looks and brisk pace. Out and about town, the Stelvio Super’s engine delivers its power in unhurried fashion with plenty of torque low in the rev range.
When you require more grunt, the ZF 8-speed gearbox shifts its cogs quickly to keep up with your driving demands. For those who’d prefer a more personal touch, a tug on the column-mounted aluminium paddle shifters gives you full control of the 8-speed box.
The Stelvio’s also got plenty of grip to spare too, thanks to its Q4 all-wheel drive system. A system which typically sends all power to the rear in normal driving conditions, but can send up to half the power to the front axle in low-grip situations. Of course, getting into said low-grip situations demands more tenacious driving. But it’s a task that the Stelvio Super actually takes in its stride.
Every steering input is met with immediate response, allowing you to turn in with confidence and come out of a bend without unsettling the car’s balance too much. It handles remarkably well for a 1.6-ton SUV, and there is a reason for that.
Alfa Romeo developed the performance-spec Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio first, before working on the base cars. As a result, all variants of the Stelvio have double wishbone suspension setups in the front, a multi-link rear end and a carbon fibre prop shaft. Impressive components that are rather telling of the Quadrifoglio roots that this car has.
Now you might be wondering how the full-bore Stelvio Quadrifoglio performs on the road. Well, that’s a whole other story altogether.
Remember, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Super is the base model in the Stelvio lineup. However, to call it a ‘base car’ is doing the car a great disservice. It’s spacious, it handles like a charm, it is reasonably rapid, and it looks fantastic.
It is an Alfa Romeo after all. It has to measure up.
PHOTOS Jay Tee
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Super
Engine 1995cc, inline4, turbocharged
Transmission 8-speed ZF automatic
Top Speed 215km/h
Fuel Consumption 7.7l/100km (combined)
CO2 161g/km (combined)