Thursday, July 23, 2020


In just its third year, Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio already has established itself as a go-to vehicle for someone seeking a functional, fun-to-drive SUV in a distinctive, stylish package.

With a best-in-class 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque produced by the 2.9-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine, the Stelvio — it is named for a mountain pass in the easter Alps in northern Italy  — is based on the Alfa Romeo’s popular Giulia sport sedan and delivers breathtaking performance numbers.

The website www.zeroto60times caught it at 3.3 seconds for zero to 60 and 11.7 for the quarter mile, and Alfa Romeo itself boasts of a record 7 minute, 51.7 second lap at the Nürburgring, making the Stelvio Quadrifoglio the fastest production SUV available in the U.S

The Stelvio is offered in several trim variations with Stelvio and Stelvio Ti models getting a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine rated at 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque that results in a zero-to-60 clocking of 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 144 mph, according to the company.

Both engines are mated to distinctive 8-speed automatic transmissions with dynamic mode and steering column-mounted shifters for manual gear selection.

This review is based on the top-of-the-line all-wheel-drive Quadrifoglio that gets the V6 and its eye-popping performance numbers.

Of course, it also carries an eye-popping MSRP that starts at $80,445. My test model had options that ran the final bottom line to $95,690 with high-performance CCM Brembo brakes accounting for over half that bump, $8,000 to be exact.

Hey, with all that performance, you’re going to want to have the best stopping power available to go with it!

Since introducing the Stelvio for the 2018 model year, Alfa Romeo engineers have continued to upgrade its features.

For 2020, the Stelvio gets a new center console that features leather-wrapped gear shifter with bright accents, premium rotary knobs and dial materials and increased storage capacity. A wireless mobile phone charging pad also is available, and Stelvio and Stelvio Quadrifoglio models get new steering wheel designs. (For a look at the 2019 Stelvio, see my review from September 2019 via the index to the right.)

The 8.8-inch center touchscreen also is new, though I wish the operation for infotainment features was a bit more friendly. (Actually, I wish it was a lot more user-friendly.)

New available driver assistance features include lane keep assist, active blind spot assist, and traffic sign recognition. The latter is a camera-based system uses a camera mounted on the windshield that alerts you to various traffic signs in case you’re not paying attention.

Standard features on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio include Apply CarPlay and Android Auto, a one-year subscription to Sirius-XM satellite radio, a leather dash and upper doors, heated steering wheel and front seats, 8-way power adjustable front seats with 4-way power lumbar support, a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon Premium sound system, push button start, power liftgate, LED daytime running lights and taillights, dual quad exhaust system (that puts out a sweet tone when dynamic drive mode is selected, carbon fiber interior trim, and blind spot and cross-detection systems.

As noted, my vehicle for the week came in at over $95,000 with extras.

In addition to the Brembo brakes, those extras included the active driver assist programs that featured adaptive cruise control and driver attention alert, a Security and Convenience package that included a rail-mounted cargo compartment cover and premium alarm, a dual pane sunroof, heated second-row seats, the wireless charging pad, and Quadrifoglio carbon fiber steering wheel and leather-wrapped shift knob.

A 4-leaf clover logo on the side panel also is standard o the Quadrifoglio. It pays homage to Alfa Romeo’s racing heritage and designates the company’s high-performance models. “Quadrifoglio” is Italian for 4-leave clover.

Just another cool element to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s styling.

What I liked about the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio: It’s one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs on the market as well as being comfortable and quiet. Performance is at the top of the chart. The exterior design sets it apart from many of its competitors.

What I didn’t like about the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio: The good folks at Alfa Romeo need to borrow a page from their compadres at Chrysler when it comes to the operation of infotainment functions. Chrysler’s UConnect system is one of the most user-friendly on the market while the one in the Stelvio falls way short. Cargo space is only average.

Would I buy the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio? I would like a friendlier infotainment system and a bit larger screen for display, but other attributes make this an intriguing buy, especially if you’re looking for a little hop in your get-along.

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