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2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

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2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Senior Editor
June 18, 2020

Buying tip

Go for a Stelvio Ti model for the optional safety equipment.

features & specs

AWD
Quadrifoglio AWD
RWD
MPG
22 city / 28 hwy
MPG
17 city / 23 hwy
MPG
22 city / 29 hwy
MSRP
$43,400
MSRP
$80,500
MSRP
$41,400

The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio delivers the full Italian experience in an SUV. It’s charming, engaging, beautiful, and quick, but reliability is suspect.

The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio successfully adapts the brand’s sexy design and sporty dynamics to a crossover SUV for the first time. It’s luxurious, powerful, and charming, though it doesn’t match competitors for interior space and it’s had some quality issues. We rate it a 6.6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Essentially a raised Giulia sedan with a crossover body, the Stelvio raids its little brother’s parts bin for its architecture, engines, suspension, brakes, and steering. It also translates the Giulia’s lines to the SUV format, giving it a body with curves that won’t quit, the brand’s signature triangular grille, and a fast rear roof shape. Stylistically, it fits with the Stelvio’s sporty mission but saps its interior space. 

The mechanical similarities to the Giulia translate to the same sporty character. The steering is quick, the responses agile, the ride firm but comfortable, and the power willing.

Review continues below

The Stelvio model lineup consists of base, Ti, and Quadrifoglio trims. 

The base engine, used in all but the Quadrifoglio, is a 280-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. It provides brisk acceleration with decent fuel economy of 24 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. Rear-drive ups the fuel economy to 25 mpg combined and adds an even sportier flair, though it trades away the Stelvio’s all-weather confidence.

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a full-on performance monster with a Ferrari-sourced 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 that wrings out 505 hp, 3.6-second 0-60 mph times, and a top speed of 176 mph. It also has the equipment for track driving, including better cooling, upgraded brakes, a torque-vectoring rear differential, and wide 20-inch tires on forged alloy wheels. 

For 2020, Alfa Romeo updates the infotainment system with a standard 8.8-inch touchscreen, a quicker processor, and an easier-to-use interface. That fixes our biggest issue with the vehicle and its cabin. It doesn’t fix the tight rear seat leg room or below-average cargo space. 

The 2020 model year also brings more safety equipment. Automatic emergency braking becomes standard and a variety of active safety features are added to the options list. How does that affect its crash record? We don’t know. The Stelvio hasn't been crash-tested.

Prices start around $41,000 for the base model. That includes a healthy feature set with such equipment as leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7.0-inch configurable driver information center, the 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, satellite radio, Brembo 4-piston front brakes, and 18-inch alloy wheels. 

We recommend opting for the Ti model, which adds heated seats, a heated steering wheel, front park assist, 19-inch wheels, and the ability to choose the active safety features.

8

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Styling

Curved and sensuous, the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio translates the brand’s traditional design flair to the crossover SUV.

Alfa Romeo has a history of building beautiful cars. Why not an SUV, too? Mission accomplished. We rate the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio an 8 for its sensuous body and driver-oriented cockpit. 

The Stelvio and Giulia sedan share a platform and a design theme. Up front, they both have the triangular “scudetto” (Italian for "little shield") grille flanked by large air intakes down low and eye-slit headlights up high. The body features curves where other automakers opt for angles. The rear end isn’t boxy like other SUVs, either. It angles down sharply, which imparts the look of a sport wagon rather than an SUV. Fender flares and big wheels reinforce the sporty look. 

The cockpit is simpler but still appealing. A thin flat-bottom steering wheel with shift paddles and an ignition button sits in front a pair of prominent gauge pods that straddle a 7.0-inch digital information screen. The dash features a new 8.8-inch touchscreen that can also be controlled via a rotary dial on the center console. Improvements to the switchgear for 2020 make the cabin feel more in line with luxury competitors, but there are still some hard plastics on the center console and lower surfaces that seem out of place.

Alfa Romeo adds some warmth and visual interest with real-wood, aluminum, and carbon-fiber trim as well as a variety of interior colors.

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8

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Performance

The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio offers sport sedan handling to go with its pair of strong engines.

Few crossover SUVs deliver handling on par with a sport sedan. The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is one of them. We rate it an 8 for performance based on its strong base engine (far stronger in the Quadrifoglio) and excellent handling.

The Stelvio serves its purpose as a five-passenger people mover (though the rear seat is rather small), but it comes alive when the road turns twisty and there’s no particular place to go. Its combination of a stiff structure, a perfect 50/50 weight distribution, and a fairly short wheelbase (thus the rear seat issue) conspire to create sport sedan moves. That’s just in the base model. The Sport versions and especially the Quadrifoglio are even more agile. 

It’s good that the structure is capable of being so athletic because the Stelvio’s ultra-quick 12:1 steering ratio is faster than what’s found in most sports cars. It means the SUV reacts right now to steering inputs with just a taste of body lean. 

The Stelvio is engaging to drive in almost every way except for braking. Its brake-by-wire system suffers from a wooden pedal feel and can be hard to modulate. The good news is the brakes are quite capable, and the Quadrifoglio’s six-piston front and four-piston rear Bembos are up to the punishment of a racetrack. 

Even the Stelvio’s base engine is strong. Its 2.0-liter turbo-4 produces 280 hp and 306 pound-feet of torque that flows through an 8-speed automatic transmission with available shift paddles. The turbo-4 launches the Stelvio from 0-60 mph in a spirited 5.4 seconds and pushes it to 144 mph. 

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 turns up the wick to 505 hp and reduces the 0-60-mph time to just 3.6 seconds. Together with such high-performance features as improved cooling, wide tires, a two-mode sport exhaust, a torque-vectoring rear differential, and available carbon-ceramic brakes, the V-6 made the Stelvio Quadrifoglio the fastest SUV around the Nürburgring in 2017 (a record that has since been bested by the Audi RS Q8 and the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S). 

Drivers can change the Stelvio’s driving character via the DNA drive-mode selector. DNA stands for Dynamic, Natural, and All-Weather, and the Quadrifoglio has a fourth mode called Race. Opt for Natural, and the Stelvio is happy to cruise. Go for Dynamic or especially Race and it bristles with ready energy.

Review continues below
6

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s front row is comfortable and supportive, but its rear seats offer discount airline leg room.

The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio benefits from the space of an SUV layout, but it’s on the small side in terms of both cargo room and rear seat leg room. We give it a point for its comfortable first row and its overall space, and take one back for a small rear seat. That earns it a 6 for comfort and quality. 

Stelvio passengers will either want to drive or call shotgun because the first row is far roomier than the second. That first row also features well bolstered bucket seats that become overly tight in the Quadrifoglio. However, head room and leg room are plentiful.

The rear seat, on the other hand, has just 31.9 inches of leg room. That’s what United Airlines allows in economy class and it’s more than four inches shy of the next competitor. Adults will fit but they won’t be happy. The rear seat is better for kids. 

Cargo space is also on the small side. The Stelvio has 18.5 cubic feet of room behind the second row and 56.5 cubic feet with the rear row folded down, numbers that are compromised by the slope of the rear hatch. The figures for the BMW X3 are 28.7 and 62.7 cubic feet, and others have more room. 

Materials quality is now up to snuff for the luxury class thanks to 2020 updates that improve the plastics and provide better, more solid dials. Leather upholstery comes standard, and additional leather-covered surfaces adorn the Quadrifgolio.

Review continues below

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Safety

The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio lacks crash-test ratings, but more active safety features are now available, including standard automatic emergency braking.

Alfa Romeo improves the Stelvio’s safety equipment for 2020, but we can’t give it a rating because no agency has crash-tested it. 

For 2020, Alfa Romeo makes forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking standard and introduces a variety of new active safety features.

They include blind-spot monitors, active lane control, traffic sign recognition, intelligent speed control that changes speed when the speed limit changes, and a driver-attention monitor. Also available are adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, front park assist (rear park assist is standard), and lane-departure warnings. Some of these features are standard on the Quadrifoglio, and all are available in a variety of driver-assist packages.

Review continues below
7

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Features

The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio comes well equipped, and it offers a range of options, as well as the high-performance Quadrifoglio model.

The 2020 Alfa Stelvio is loaded up with features even in its base model and it offers a wide variety options for buyers to pick what works best for them. Its infotainment system is also no longer a hindrance. We rate it a 7 for features for its wealth of standard features and variety of build configurations. 

Alfa Romeo offers the Stelvio in three basic models, base, Ti, and Quadrifoglio. However, option packages for the base and Ti models create submodels called Sport, Ti Lusso, Ti Sport, and Ti Sport Carbon trims.

For about $41,000, the base Stelvio comes standard with leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, a 40/20/40-split rear seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7.0-inch configurable driver information center in the instrument panel, an 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, satellite radio, three front and two rear USB ports, an eight-speaker audio system, ambient interior lighting, adaptive headlights, a rear spoiler, Brembo four-piston front brakes, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

We recommend going for the $47,000 Ti trim, which includes heated seats, a heated steering wheel, wood trim, front park assist, and 19-inch wheels. More importantly, it opens up the full active safety menu as options. 

The Quadrifoglio starts around $81,000 and aims for track-ready performance with six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo brakes, additional cooling, a torque-vectoring rear differential, a two-mode exhaust, performance tuned active dampers, 20-inch wheels on summer performance tires, 14-way power-adjustable leather and Alcantara sport seats, shift paddles, carbon-fiber interior trim, and aluminum pedals. It also features such amenities as headlight washers, extended interior leather, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, navigation, and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. 

The Stelvio’s infotainment system is much improved for 2020. It now has a center touchscreen as well as the center console-mounted rotary controller. It reacts quicker, and is easier to understand, making a strength out of what was a weakness.

The Stelvio has a good warranty: 4 years, 50,000 miles for the whole vehicle and 5 years, 100,000 miles for the powertrain, including the first engine service. Still, other luxury brands have better warranties.

Review continues below
4

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio returns 24 mpg combined, which is to be expected for a sporty luxury SUV.

The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio delivers the fuel economy ratings buyers would expect for a sporty luxury SUV, not higher or lower. We base our rating of 4 out of 10 for fuel economy based on the 22 mpg city, 28 highway, 24 combined ratings of the all-wheel-drive version with the base engine.

Opt for rear drive, and the EPA ratings rise to 22/29/25 mpg.

With the 505-hp Quadrifoglio comes reduced fuel economy. It is rated at 17/23/19 mpg. 

Unfortunately, all Stelvios require premium fuel, so pump prices will be higher even if the number of visits isn’t.

Review continues below
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$41,400
MSRP based on RWD
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6.6
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 4
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