Test Drive Notes Library
- You’re driving an Alfa, dude. Every Tom, Dick and Jason has an Audi Q5 now, but you’re picking up your drooling kids Italian style. The Stelvio is a very good looking crossover, both outside and in. Inside, it’s black and den-like. A cozy man-cave on wheels. An Armani suit that comes in one size. With the exception of a huge piece of hard plastic that serves as the top of the dashboard, materials are stylish and cool.
- Touchscreen integration. Unlike so many other cars these days in which the touchscreen appears to be a bolted-on iPad mini, the Stelvio’s touchscreen is smoothly integrated into the dashboard, flush, like it was always meant to be part of the car. It looks good and is easy to read.
- Agile handling. You’re not the slightest bit disengaged from the road in the Stelvio. It’s great on twisty roads. A rare fun-to-drive mid-sized crossover if you have the roads for it.
- Peppy, four-cylinder engine. It’s a two-liter, but it puts out 280 horsepower. That’s plenty.
- Optional safety. At least it’s available. With option packages, you can get blind-spot monitoring, collision warning and low-speed emergency braking. With those options, you’re into the $50K plus range.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Edgy. For those who are bored of smooth shifting, luxury mid-size crossovers, the Stelvio is for you. It’s got a personality. An edgy personality. Most people, when they choose a mate, don’t list “edgy" as the trait they most desire. But for those of you who do…go test drive a Stelvio.
- Transmission is jerky. That’s not what you want in a transmission. It operates like it’s one of those dual-clutch transmissions where its software isn’t totally baked yet. Especially at lower speeds, where you really feel the shifts. But in reality, it’s a standard 8-speed automatic with a torque converter that should be a hell of a lot smoother.
- Stelvio. It sounds like a cross between a sugar substitute and a character from the Sopranos. But car names are in short supply, so we’ll give Alfa a pass (speaking of passes, Stelvio is actually the name of a mountain pass in Italy).
- Not terribly quiet inside. I'm guessing that’s an intentional nod to the sportiness of the Stelvio, but be warned, you hear the engine, and on the highway, you hear some road and wind noise.
- Not so smooth stopping. The brakes are grabby, especially during the last five mph of stopping. Don’t try to put on lipstick in stop and go traffic in a Stelvio.
- Start button on wheel. OK, it’s different. But it seems like it’s just there to be different. We can live with it.
- Reliability questions. Alfa’s history of reliability is as ugly as its history of design is beautiful. Has that changed? Until proven otherwise, we feel a responsibility to raise the question.
- Infotainment system is not intuitive. That’s a shame because Alfa’s parent company, Chrysler-Fiat puts some of the easiest to use touchscreen systems into lots of their vehicles. The screen looks great, but it was hard to change the radio station. Or do lots of other simple things. We ended up getting mad at it. “You’re beautiful, but you’re nothing but trouble!"
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