Alfa Romeo Stelvio review
The new Stelvio offers a unique dynamic flavour and bags of style, but the facelift hasn't addressed its second-rate cabin
It's hard not to be encapsulated by the 33 Stradales and GTAms of the world, but for Alfa Romeo, its future hinges on the success of its bread-and-butter models. First unveiled in 2016, the Stelvio marked the brand's first SUV, and its first foray into what has swiftly become one of the most lucrative and highly competitive areas of the market.
The Stelvio squares up against a broad spread of competition; four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines make up the core range, topped by the fire-breathing 513bhp Quadrifoglio. With a lightweight Giorgio platform shared with the Giulia saloon, every version feels distinctly Alfa-like to drive, but buyers in this space demand a wide range of talents; particularly at the Stelvio's £47,355 starting price.
For 2023, the Stelvio has received a fresh new face and improved technology to keep pace with the Porsche Macan, BMW X3 and Jaguar's F-Pace, all of which have already received mid-cycle updates. LED Matrix headlights, a new digital instrument panel and a streamlined trim lineup are among the major changes, but are they enough to shift the Stelvio into the big leagues?
Alfa Romeo Stelvio in detail
- Performance and 0-60mph time > The petrol Stelvio is usefully brisk and flexible, but its 5.7sec 0-62mph figure feels out of reach
- Engine and transmission > The engine lineup has been simplified for 2023, with one diesel unit and two petrols. An eight-speed auto is standard, operated by gorgeous aluminium paddles
- Ride and handling > The Stelvio feels pointier and lighter on its feet than most SUVs, but partly at the expense of ultimate comfort
- MPG and running costs > You'll struggle to hit 30mpg in the petrol model, but the diesel fares much better
- Interior and tech > Nostalgic design touches aren't enough to distract from what is a relatively basic, low-rent cabin for the price
- Design > Careful styling tweaks have kept the Stelvio looking fresh – it's more desirable than it ever was
Prices, specs and rivals
The Stelvio has been aggressively pitched into the premium SUV fold with a starting price that's dead in line with the BMW X3. The cheapest model is the Sprint, which costs £47,355 when equipped with a 207bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine. By comparison, the BMW X3 xDrive20i comes with a 2-litre petrol unit that's good for 181bhp, with the cheapest Audi Q5 weighing in at £45,425 with a 201bhp petrol engine. Jaguar's F-Pace, a closer comparison to the Alfa for driver appeal, costs from £48,720 with a 201bhp Ingenium diesel unit.
Unless you really need the extra economy of the diesel, the 276bhp 2-litre petrol engine is more befitting of the Stelvio's sporting character, and costs an extra £2385. Crucially, BMW doesn't offer an equivalent X3 at this price level, with the next most powerful petrol model – the 288bhp plug-in hybrid xDrive30e – costing £55,665. Jaguar doesn't offer a direct rival either, with the F-Pace P250 lagging behind the Alfa's performance and costing around three grand more.
The four-cylinder Porsche Macan starts from £53,400, and while it's considerably more expensive than the Stelvio, it remains the dynamic benchmark for its blend of comfort and involvement. It's important to note that all these rivals feel more sumptuous than the Alfa inside, with more modern tech, crisper screens and better connectivity. The Jaguar in particular is also more relaxing to drive, so while the Stelvio is one of the more engaging and stylish SUVs in the class, others fulfil a more rounded brief.