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2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.5

The 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio delivers plenty of power paired with dynamic, carlike handling. In short, this luxury compact SUV is fun to drive. It also gets better fuel economy than some competitors despite coming standard with all-wheel drive. The engine gets loud at times, and some rivals have softer rides, but performance is still the strength of this vehicle.

  • "To achieve this, Alfa has equipped the Stelvio with a 280 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, a ZF 8-speed gearbox and a sophisticated suspension setup. In addition the all-wheel-drive system will, in most cases, send all of the power to the rear wheels. The end result is a car that has enough power to feel sporty, if only just, and a transmission that gives you sharp ratio changes. It corners flat and handles like it's rear-wheel-drive." -- CNET
  • "Even the lesser powered versions of the Stelvio are quick, hitting 60 in the mid fives." -- Autoweek
  • "What surprised me the most was how much the Stelvio truly handles like a car. Fitted with adaptive dampers on the Sport package and wearing those large wheels and low-profile rubber, the rear-drive bias on Alfa's SUV is prominent, and helps the two ton 'ute to rotate nicely through the corners." -- New York Daily News

Acceleration and Power

The Stelvio comes with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It puts out 280 horsepower and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The turbo-four has a surprising amount of power, and Alfa Romeo claims it will go from zero to 60 mph in under 5.5 seconds. That would make the Stelvio faster than many rivals. Beware of its engine noise, though; the cabin is well-insulated, but you still may want to turn the radio up while driving at higher RPMs.

The Stelvio earns 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Those aren’t class-leading ratings, but they’re better than average among luxury compact SUVs.

The high-performance Stelvio Quadrifoglio features a twin-turbocharged, 2.9-liter V6 engine that puts out 505 horsepower. It will reach a top speed of 177 mph and goes from zero to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds.

  • "Alfa has already reported that the Quadrifoglio's dual-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 will propel it to 60 mph in a scant 3.9 seconds, but the base Stelvio is no slouch. Without question, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder seems wee for an SUV, even turbocharged, but it's becoming more common. What's less common is what this 280-horsepower engine delivers: zero-to-60 mph in a claimed 5.4 seconds, which makes it quicker than base competitors, a large group including the BMW X3, Porsche Macan and Infiniti QX70 among others." -- Cars.com
  • "There is a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon stereo available, and you are going to want to keep the volume cranked up. This is because the engine sounds like a diesel van, long past its best, despite its willingness to play sporty. Under load, the engine sounded terrible, but decent noise deadening makes it tolerable most of the time." -- CNET
  • "Just about every luxury automaker aspires to put the 'sport' in their sport-utility vehicle, but few have found a formula that fights the physics inherent in a higher-riding, 2-ton hauler. Count Alfa among the minority that has made a crossover SUV that is legitimately fun to drive. With 280 horsepower/306 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Stelvio is among the most powerful in its class, with gusto to go 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds. " -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

All-wheel drive comes standard in this Alfa Romeo. The Stelvio handles well, even by the lofty standards of some luxury compact SUV rivals. The ride is a bit firm, but not unpleasantly so. There are four driving modes to choose from (Natural, Dynamic, Advanced Efficiency, and Race Mode) that alter throttle response and handling to fit your driving style. Standard Brembo brakes provide good stopping power.

  • "A rear-biased all-wheel-drive system and near-perfect 50/50 weight balance further the Stelvio's SUV-as-sports-car cause, as do a quick-shifting 8-speed transmission and drive-mode selector with a 'dynamic' setting for a sportier feel. Thankfully, the Stelvio's athletic nature doesn't come at the cost of comfort. Away from the mountain passes and in more typical ordinary driving, we found the Stelvio compliant and easy to maneuver, only wishing for less wind intrusion and grabbier brakes." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • OK let's back up here. If the handling isn't far off a Porsche and the ride not tragically far behind a Mercedes, maybe the Alfa is a finely judged compromise. But it isn't the engaging and sporty chassis Alfa people say it is nor that the engine deserves." -- Motor Trend
  • "The buckets held us in place well, helpful because this is among the rare crossovers that can carve through corners smoothly and quickly, even the wet ones. The ride is firm but compliant, while body control is impressive – roll stays admirably on the lower side for an SUV, and rainy weather grip is impressive." -- Autoweek
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