Entry price: $41,400
Price as tested: $61,240
This week, we’re driving the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio, the Italian-built small to midsize SUV delivered Ti Sport AWD trim. This Alfa features a turbocharged 280-horsepower inline-4 cylinder that offers the get up and go that Alfa Romeo is noted for.
Our Stelvio SUV tester is one of Alfa’s most popular models that handles more like a car than an AWD SUV. Throughout our Stelvio test drive, the Alfa Romeo legend in sports car racing and Formula 1 shines through.
Thanks to a Ti Sport Performance package ($1,350 more) that adds active suspension and limited slip rear differential coupled to Pirelli All-Season performance tires on 20-inch 5-spoke aluminum wheels ($750 more), performance driving is just a foot pedal away. As for design, enthusiasts will initially recognize the trademark triangular grille, an Alfa Romeo trademark that has lasted throughout its 110-year history.
Impressive is the 4-cylinder powered Stelvio acceleration, as the 280-horsepower and 306 lb. ft. of turbocharged torque allowed for brisk, spirited driving. As for an engine option, the Stelvio is also available with a Ferrari designed 2.9-liter, 505-horsepower V6 twin turbo that turns Stelvio into a super SUV with few peers. However, we’re talking about the 4-cylinder’s standard 280-horsepower model that can go from zero to 60-MPH in a scant 5.4 seconds and then top off with a maximum speed of 144-MPH. Remember, this top speed is not for any public highway, yet clearly deserves note of its capability.
The little 4-cylinder mates to Alfa’s outstanding 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and delivers 22 city and 28 highway EPA estimates. Also notable is every Stelvio comes with a lightweight carbon fiber driveshaft, which helps the power to weight ratio and aids in acceleration.
All 4-cylinder Stelvios offer different driving modes that Alfa calls its “DNA select system.” When the driver rotates a circular switch on the console, three different driving styles are available to choose from.
Standard throughout all Alfa Romeo trims, Alfa Romeo DNA allows drivers a wide range of innovative modes that not only make driving more purposeful, it enhances the fun factor, too. Alfa Romeo DNA is an exclusive driving system that is a fully integrated application that delivers optimized drive handling and performance. Engineers at Alfa Romeo designed this revolutionary system to precisely influence the vehicle’s engine, transmission, steering, suspension, brakes, and accelerator in unison.
Included is D for Dynamic: In dynamic mode you’ll have more responsive and direct control behind the wheel. The engine and brakes operate in a more reactive manner, while traction control engagement operates in a subtle fashion.
N is for Natural: This mode is ideal for more neutral surfaces and terrains. An added bonus of driving in Natural mode is minimizing fuel consumption for the duration of your journey.
A is for All Weather: During inclement weather conditions or when the road surface turns slippery, All Weather mode proves to be an excellent setting. Once selected, the Alfa Romeo DNA System will communicate with various components throughout the vehicle to ensure they are proactively responding as needed. The AWD system is automatic and the torque vectoring 4x4 unit decides how much traction it gives to the wheels based on driving conditions.
Inside, the 2020 Stelvio features a redesigned cabin with more high-tech conveniences that complement a bevy of standard features. All Stelvios come with Sport leather stitched seating with Alfa logos and impressive carbon fiber trim. Good head and legroom for all passengers along with good cargo capacities are also noteworthy.
Accessing media and driver assist tools is easier thanks to a new 8.8-inch touch screen with customizable screens and available 3-D Navigation. Apple and Android capabilities are also standard as are three USB ports.
Driver Alert features and Level 2 autonomous driving system technology is available in the Active Driver Assistance Package ($3,250 more). This recommended option gives drivers added assurance thanks to Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Jam assist, Blind Spot, Driver Attention Alert, Adaptive Cruise, Auto High Beam and even Hands-Free mode. These features are in addition to the standard safety items like full speed forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, and rear back-up camera. There’s more, which your Alfa Romeo dealer will explain when you visit or call.
The standard stereo system features 8-speakers with SiriusXM with a full year for free. However, our Stelvio came with a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon premium stereo system for just $900 more. Another option we found worthy is a $200 wireless charging pad and ditto for hands free rear power liftgate for another $200. I’d pass on the $2,200 Red Russo exterior paint, $400 Convenience package and $1,100 leather dash and upper door trim. As for a $1,350 dual plane sunroof, that’s up to the consumer as some love sun roofs while others don’t.
Stelvios start at $41,400 for the rear drive 4-cylinder and $45,745 for our AWD Ti Sport model. The final tally for our Ti Sport AWD tester came in at $61,240 with the above mentioned options and $1,295 destination included.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 111-inches, 4,007 lb. curb weight, 18.5 to 56.6 cu. ft. if cargo space, 16.9-gallon fuel tank, and 7.9-inch ground clearance.
If you’re shopping the smaller SUV segment, visit your Alfa Romeo dealer and check out Alfa’s current $1,000 incentive in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Loyalty Bonus Cash when you purchase or lease a 2020 Giulia or Stelvio. Make your best deal and then deduct an additional $1,000 specifically for owners/lessees of all FCA Brands that include Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Trucks, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati.
Built in Cassino, Italy, Stelvio is a vehicle for consumers that seek that special Italian-built performance flare.
It won’t disappoint.
Likes: Excellent performer, sporty yet comfortable ride, beautiful inside and out.
Dislikes: Expensive options, narrow cargo area, costly exterior paint option.
Greg Zyla writes weekly on cars for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc.
This article originally appeared on Taft Midway Driller: Test Drive: 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio AWD
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