First Impression Road Test of the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Getting behind the wheel of the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio required a bit of patience on my part. Every journalist at the 2017 Texas Truck Rodeo wanted a turn. (Shocker!) It got to the point where every time I saw the Stelvio it was filled up with journalists riding in the back as a way to get first dibs when it parked. The only way I got a chance to drive it was because I waited outside in the sun during lunch to ensure I would be first in line. For the sake of the aviator shaped tan lines on my face I’m glad to say that it was worth the wait to drive Alfa Romeo’s first SUV.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is as entertaining to drive as it is to look at while swiping through Instagram filters. It got its name from the Stelvio Pass in Italy, a road that is burned into the fantasies of most driving enthusiasts for being one of the most beautiful and challenging ribbons of tarmac on this planet.
The model I got to drive had black leather interior, which was nice and had the Alfa crest imprinted in the headrest. Even after it was sitting in the hot sun for an hour I wasn’t burning up when I sat inside waiting for the AC to take effect. But I immediately asked if there were other interior color options available. Why? Because black interiors are boring, especially in vehicles that aren’t meant to be.
Thankfully, standard leather seats can be optioned in red or chocolate, besides black. Premium sport leather seats also come in black, red, or chocolate, in the Ti Sport trim level. Top of the line spec, Ti Lusso, offers a fourth color option which is called Creama (Italian for Cream). A beautiful light brown color that I can’t wait to see in person once these start rolling into mall parking lots.
The Stelvio was built to compete against other small luxury SUV’s, like the Jaguar F-Pace and Porsche Macan, so that means you get a lot of creature comforts in the interior. Heated seats and steering wheel, adjustable lumbar support, 8.8 inches of touchscreen navigation, an easy to use infotainment center, and dual-pan sunroof. You can even get headlamp washers if you want.
If you are a fan of the Alfa Romeo Giulia then you’ll enjoy staring at the Stelvio. Not only do they share the same platform but they also have similar facial features in the front end. Narrow, confident, headlamps with Alfa’s iconic grille that gives the Stelvio an Italian flare and distinguishes it from its domestic cousins. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is built in Cassino, Italy, so it’s an Italian import, which means you can say you drive an imported Italian vehicle at social events. (Use this power wisely.)
You can choose a Stelvio from 12 different exterior colors:
- Alfa White
- Alfa Red
- Vulcano Black Metallic
- Silverstone Gray Metallic
- Vesuvio Gray Metallic
- Stromboli Gray Metallic
- Racing Green Metallic
- Montecarlo Blue Metallic
- Basalto Brown Metallic
- Competizione Red Tri-Coat
- Trofeo White Tri-Coat
- Misano Blue Metallic (Ti Sport Only)
You can even choose the color of the brake calibers with the options of red, black or yellow. A wide variety of colors, inside and out, to create a vehicle that’s unique to the owner.
Specs and Performance of the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Powering the Stelvio is an all-aluminum 2.0 liter turbo four cylinder engine putting out 280 horsepower. Put your foot down and the Stelvio will respond with a smile inducing kick and charges you forward all the way up to its top speed of 144 mph. An 8-speed automatic transmission feeds the power to your right foot’s command.
When I drove the Giuila Quadrifoglio earlier this year I wrote that the steering on the Giuila was “surgical”. Implying that the steering was light and precise like the hand of a skilled surgeon. It’s a similar case with the Stelvio. Driving it on Texas hill country roads was a pleasure cruise. Enjoying the feel of the wheel as I went along the ups and downs of the two lane blacktop. Paddle shifters exactly where I needed them to be no matter the position of my hands thanks to their massive size. All wheel drive kept me glued to the road.
Staring MSRP for the Stelvio Ti is $43,995.
Final Thoughts on the Alfa Romeo Stelvio
I like it. Much like how I enjoyed the Durango SRT. I know they are on opposite ends of the spectrum but in the end both vehicles have similar ambitions. To stand out and put similes on people’s faces. The 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio delivers style without coming across as pretentious. It’s quick without feeling like you’re daring the law of physics, and it handles very well through the turns.
It’s difficult here in America to not think of style, passion, and showing off when talking about Italian vehicles. Being that this is Alfa Romeo’s first attempt at an SUV it has all of those things. Style for design, passion for handling, and showing off because it was voted the CUV of Texas at the Truck Rodeo this year.
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