Stelvio struts Alfa Romeo’s SUV stuff
It’s been a part of the modern motoring landscape for some time now: companies having to expand their product line-up into areas that — just a few years ago — would have been unthinkable. And more often than not, that line-up is expanded to include arguably the world’s current favorite type of car: the SUV.
And so it is with Alfa Romeo, which has just launched the Stelvio SUV internationally. The Italian car maker is adamant that its latest model, while offering the practicality and space of a compact SUV, still delivers the emotional and involving drive for which the company is renowned.
Looking at the Stelvio, the styling certainly seems to suggest that this SUV is more about performance than packing stuff in. It has an unmistakably Alfa Romeo front end with lots of sculpted details, while the compact form belies the fact that, according to Alfa Romeo, it’s one of the most versatile cars in its class, thanks to a best-in-class boot.
Powering the Stelvio is a range of turbodiesel and turbo petrol engines, including the 2,9 twin-turbo V6 borrowed from the Giulia QV. On a short drive through the Swiss Alps, we sampled the more powerful of the 2,0-litre petrol motors, which is available with outputs of 147 kW or 206 kW.
It delivers plenty of pleasing linear shove, and on our tight, twisty route, the eight-speed automatic gearbox (the only choice in the range) made sure the power supply seemed endless. Another component borrowed from the Giulia is the Stelvio’s chassis, which manages to endow the taller SUV with surprising agility, helped by direct steering and a rear-biased all-wheel drive system.
The Stelvio will only arrive in South Africa at the end of this year at the earliest, and as such, the local model lineup and pricing is yet to be confirmed. We’ll have a full review of the Stelvio on RPM TV soon.