The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is sadly not the first luxury compact crossover that comes to people’s minds. And that’s a shame, because choosing one over, say, an Audi Q5 or even a BMW X3, will grant you one fine family shuttle that also happens to be an Alfa. Not many SUVs can claim that. But the Stelvio is much more than a pretty Italian face. It’s actually good at being a normal car.
This may be the first time you see a 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio on these pages, but it’s actually the third time I drive one. I drove the standard model two years ago for my old day job, then I strapped myself in the driver’s seat of the super wild Quadrifoglio version last year. In both cases, I was pleasantly satisfied by the Stelvio, both for its distinctive styling and the way it drives.Everyone wants to know what a Quadrifoglio feels like, and I’m here to tell you it’s just as intense as you imagine it to be. Fast, loud, incredibly agile and much more flamboyant than anything German, the Stelvio’s hotted up variant is a hell of a lot of fun, but also deeply flawed. The sweet spot actually lies in this, the more toned down “Q4” version, as it’s capable enough to make a compelling case for not getting an Audi.The reason people aren’t buying as many Stelvios as other luxury compact SUVs isn’t because the vehicle isn’t good. It’s because Alfa Romeo itself hasn’t done much to advertise the thing. Even if it’s the brand’s best-selling vehicle on our shores, Alfa barely shipped 10,000 of them in the US and Canada last year. Meanwhile, Audi sold 77,000 Q5s.In order to breathe new life into the poor old Stelvio, Alfa reshuffles the trims levels in an attempt to offer consumers a bit more substance for their hard-earned dollar. For 2020, the vehicle changes only slightly, mostly inside, by way of an updated 8,8-inch infotainment system that’s both more attractive and easier to operate. There’s a revised center console design, while buttons, switches and interior materials all get an update.Mechanically, the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio carries over unchanged, riding on a shared architecture with the Giulia sport sedan. The Stelvio is essentially that car but with a lifted suspension, meaning it’s powered by the same excellent turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder good for 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. All-wheel-drive is standard here in Canada.The pricing ladder for a Stelvio is vast, with up to seven available trim levels, allowing it to both cover entry level premium and luxury categories. And in that respect, you are getting a bit more for your money with a Stelvio than a German alternative. A base Stelvio kicks off at $50,545 rather well equipped. But the model I was driving was a TI Sport with the kickass Nero Edizione Sport package grafted on, which is why it’s all black. Final price was $70,535, or roughly in the same territory as a similarly equipped BMW.
The Best Steering
Review of the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio by William Clavey
Premium Compact Crossovers
- Killer looks
- Solid driving experience
- Punchy turbocharged engine
- Still unknown reliability
- Not as luxurious as main rivals
- Unclear resale value
8 / 10
Clavey’s Corner is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Prices and trim levels discussed in this article reflect the Canadian car market.
Special thanks: Alfa Romeo Canada
Photography: Guillaume Fournier
Contact the author: [email protected]