Stelvio — the new 6-cylinder Riley for 1930. Well, I suppose not everybody remembers that, and the Riley marque name is now owned by BMW. So it seems that a marque name is copyright, but the handsome Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV can use the name of that fantastic road up in the Italian Alps.
Tom Scanlan remember the good old days of driving, testing the New Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
In fact, it would surely be hugely entertaining to drive the Stelvio up its namesake, because it would, I suggest, handle that steep climb and acute corners with latin relish.
The first thing that strikes you when you set off in the Stelvio is the steering. It is something that Alfa Romeo does at least as well as any other car-maker, certainly amongst volume manufacturers, and probably gets the gold medal in that department. It is sharp, tightly responsive and a joy to experience.
But that’s not much good unless the handling complements the steering…it does. The SUV sits you high up, but you feel as snug in your seat as you would in a sports car. About the only thing that might ever-so-slightly hinder your progress up that alpine pass is the A-pillar restricting the view. That is a not-unusual price to pay if the car is to meet build-safety regulations.
The Riley Stelvio had a top speed of 62 mph…the test Stelvio, with its 2.2-litre, 210 bhp Diesel engine reaches exactly that speed in just 6.6 seconds. 470 Nm of torque at 1750 revs certainly does give a big shove. Very sporty, as Alfa Romeos should be: “I am, above all, performance,” as their tv advertising campaign proclaims. I’m OK with that, but not so sure that “you are monotony…I am Stelvio”! I assume that Alfa Romeo dealers will not say to someone looking at the Stelvio that that potential customer is “monotony”. Who writes that advertising stuff, anyway?
Moving on, then, it doesn’t need the mountain passes to demonstrate that the Stelvio does indeed offer plenty enough performance. The stats speak for themselves of course but, as ever, if equally fast cars have been experienced, it’s still a lot of fun to find a safe, open road and just floor it. With a car of such size, it seems to add another dimension.
The car’s DNA, allowing the choice of driving dynamics, is another ‘toy’ for the driver to play with.
Driver aids (as distinct from Driving aids) include Hill Descent Control for off-roading, Emergency Autonymous Braking (you get an alarm before it deploys, allowing you to react in your own way), an 8-inch screen and the must-have variety of anti-skid and stability devices, not forgetting four-wheel-drive.
Big SUVs offer a good amount of space for passengers and luggage and Stelvio doesn’t fall short in this respect. The tailgate is ‘Power Auto’ operated by a button in the usual way. The driver’s door opens as wide as you need without wanting to be only in a choice of three positions, as is often found in other cars.
The base price of the test car was £38,490; this Alfa Romeo now almost enters Audi territory by adding optional extras totalling £6120. These options range from £850 for leather upholstery and £750 for 6-way adjustable electric seats, down to £300 for the startlingly yellow brake callipers, £275 for a compact spare wheel and the same price for electric folding mirrors. Also, you even pay extra for Alfa’s giant gear-change paddles — handy though they might be, the 8-speed auto is well capable of looking after itself.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the car for anyone who wants more than just a capable and versatile family vehicle, anyone, in fact, who values plain old driving enjoyment, remember that…
Car reviewed: Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.2 Turbo Diesel 210hp Super AWD – Base Price On the road £38,490 0-62mph 6.6secs Top speed 130mph Fuel Economy combined 58.9mpg CO2 emissions 127g/km Engine 2143cc diesel 4-cylinder EU6 Max Power [email protected] Torque [email protected] Transmission 8-speed automatic with manual mode
Alfa Romeo DNA
Fun to drive
Reasonably well specced
Options can get pricey
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