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2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD Review by John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD

ENGINE: 2.9-liter turbocharged V6

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 505 hp @ 6,500 rpm/443 lb.-ft. @ 2,500-5,000 rpm

WHEELBASE: 111.0 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 185.1 x 77.0 x 66.3 in.

TIRES: P285/40R20m(R)/ P255/45R20 (F)

CARGO CAPACITY: 18.5/56.5 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)

ECONOMY: 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway/19.9 mpg test


CURB WEIGHT: 4,360 lbs.


COMPETITIVE CLASS: Acura MDX, Jaguar F-Pace, Buick Envision, BMW X3

STICKER: $85,890 (includes $1,595 delivery, $4,200 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV is an interesting entry into the segment, with a lot of power, good handling and decent economy. It does have its faults, though.

There’s always a dichotomy when a sports car/sedan manufacturer decides to expand the lineup. Alfa Romeo has been manufacturing sports cars and performance sedans since the 1930s, and even has a pair of cars running the Formula 1 circuit. So a sports utility vehicle really stretches the envelope.

Based on the Giulia sedan, the Stelvio isn’t some cobbled together shot at making an SUV, or more accurately a CUV. Nah, it’s quality at every corner , with luxury and performance in spades. Take the engine, for example. It’s a 2.9-liter turbocharged V6 that pumps out an impressive 505 horsepower. Now, when an American car has that much horsepower you know it through a throaty, loud exhaust. The Stelvio, however, has a more sophisticated note that only roars when you tromp on the loud pedal. The 8-speed automatic transmission works smoothly, so the whole package is a prize.  I remember rallying many years ago in an Alfa sedan that the owner told me that I didn’t have to upshift so often because the engine would just rev happily up to the red line. Alfa engines haven’t changed that much.  

Handling is  very good, as is to be expected, although the suspension - double wishbone up front and a patented Alfa Link design in the rear - is firm. On less-then-ideal road surfaces there’s significant feedback into the cabin.

Front seats are comfortable with excellent side support. I particularly like the soft head restraints. Rear seat legroom is tight, but with very good outside visibility.

The driver faces a clear instrument panel. However, the 200 mph speedometer can be difficult to read. Fortunately, we set the central information panel for a digital speedometer that mitigated that problem.

In the center of the dash is a not-so-clear infotainment screen. We used SiriusXM for entertainment and had challenges changing stations. A large controller on the center console helps, but not much.

Start/stop is on the busy wheel, along with cruise switches and audio controls. We had some issues on our first ride. We were headed over to Java Joint for a cool one and couldn’t find the cupholders. Eventually, after about 15 minutes, we discovered them under a sliding panel at the base of the center stack. Sliding the panel was the issue.

As far as I’m concerned, cargo capacity defines an SUV; if the vehicles is lacking then it doesn’t cut the mustard. The Stelvio has 18.5 cubic feet of capacity with the rear seat backs up and 56.5 cubic feet with them lowered. At no time did we find it necessary to drop the rear seat backs. Incidentally, rear seat back releases are in the cargo bin as well as a 100-volt power outlet. I must comment on the color. As with all true Alfas, it was red, in this case Rosso Competizione Tri-Coat. It’s a $2,200 option that costs more than my first couple of new cars.

Overall, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a neat package. Sure, it’s expensive, but it packs a great punch and handling (and color).

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate