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- It’s beautiful
- Sublime driving dynamics
- Driver interfaces are spectacular
- Most powerful base engine in class
- Advanced safety equipment costs $1,500
- Tiny rear seat
- Cheap-feeling interior elements
- Alfa Romeo is not a byword for quality
Remarkably fun to drive and beautiful too, the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is great at driving, less facile at crossover-SUVing.
The 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the make-or-break moment for Fiat Chrysler Automotive's Italian luxury brand. It’s the brand’s first crossover SUV, and as such the Stelvio plunges the company into uncharted territory. Alfa Romeo hopes it can blend old-world charm with the New World’s obsession with high-riding off-roaders better than names you might also know: Porsche, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.
For its gorgeous styling, impressive performance (with a 505-horsepower Quadrifoglio model on the way), charming driving character, and lengthy list of standard equipment, we rate the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio as a 7.4 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
It's fair to call the Stelvio a lifted Giulia sedan. The two models share their powertrains, suspensions, brakes, steering setups, most of their interior and exterior design and equipment, and countless other components together.
The Stelvio range mirrors the Giulia sedan range on the powertrain front. That means 8-speed automatic transmissions across the board, along with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-4, but the Stelvio distinguishes itself with a standard all-wheel-drive system, even on the Quadrifoglio. This system is relatively lightweight and can send 100 percent of its torque to the rear wheels and up to 60 percent to the fronts.
Alfa Romeo engineered a real dancer with the Stelvio, offering very fast steering and a tight, agile suspension. Brilliant paddle shifters, meanwhile, keep drivers engaged (provided they get the Sport Package).
The 2018 Stelvio comes standard with a rearview camera, but other safety features require one of the two Driver Assistance packages. Select both, and you’ll get front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning. In terms of standalone options, keep an eye on Alfa’s larger 8.8-inch infotainment system and the Sport Package.
The Stelvio is available in three trim levels, base, Ti, and the high-performance Quadrifoglio (Italian for “four-leaf clover”). On top of those overarching models, there are Sport Packages available for both, while a Lusso (“luxury”) is a late availability item for the Ti. Prices start at $42,990 (including a $995 destination charge) for the least expensive model and will likely extend into the $75,000 range for the as-yet-unpriced Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Alfa says it will announce pricing closer to that model’s on-sale date, during the first quarter of 2018.