The Stelvio Veloce gives us a dynamic feeling behind the wheel that few SUVs can boast. If you drive it, you will always remember it with a smile.
It is to mention the Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.2 and a smile is drawn on my mouth. I can’t help it. And I have to analyze my feelings a bit and be honest with myself to recognize the causes. Here they go: on the one hand, I know how it goes on the road and how it behaves when cornering because I was already at the presentation of the model five years ago. On the other hand, its design and some details of authentic sportiness come to mind that we do not see in the German models that I will tell you about later. And thirdly, I can’t help but think it‘s diesel …
Yes, I have my ecological side and I increasingly detest polluting emissions (especially when the car is stationary and its owner is waiting for someone with the engine running), but I can’t help but love the passions with which I grew up. And a modern diesel engine, with a very high delivery of torque, with an outstanding range, with a fuel price … expensive, but always cheaper than gasoline, continues to raise my heart rate.
The crush is even greater when I see the Stromboli Gray unit that I am about to test: a magnet for the eyes. I know the aesthetics of the car, but I can’t help but notice the emblems in black, among which is the ‘Veloce’ warning of its character. Nor in the two exhaust outlets, one on each side; nor on the huge 20 “wheels which, as is typical for Alfa, seem to have five circles inside.
Just because five years have passed since the Stelvio appeared, doesn’t mean this 4.67-meter-long, 1.9-wide, and 1.67-meter SUV has lost appeal. Although perhaps many of those who follow him (follow) with their eyes every time we come across one think not so much about his image, about the sportsmanship he represents.
The interior welcomes us with armchairs upholstered in synthetic leather that offer excellent lateral support, which almost welcomes us like a glove. They are black, but we would have liked the red color that Alfa Romeo offers as an option at no extra cost.
In front of us, we have a frame of watches that respects the tradition of Alfa frames, in which the speedometer and the tachometer were each erected with their separate visor. In this case, the new times have occupied the space between both spheres with a digital screen in the middle that is very practical because it allows us to visualize several travel data at the same time: distance, travel time, consumption, and speed. media, autonomy, and current consumption.
And between him and us … Or better: between the frame and the steering wheel, the paddles almost as big as those mounted by Ferrari, made of aluminum, fixed on the steering column and not on the steering wheel and with very short travel and a solid piece feel. This is one of the differentiating elements concerning the German models and just for this detail any lover of sportsmanship would already have a partially conquered heart, but let’s not anticipate events.
One of the aspects in which you can see that the Stelvio is not a new car is in its infotainment screen, which today seems small and is unnecessarily landscape. One solution would be to put a larger screen in standalone tablet mode, as many manufacturers do, but the overall design of the dashboard would suffer.
For the rest, the materials are good, with plastics that simulate metal and some adjustments that this time has given us a better impression than the one we got the first time we met this model.
The Stelvio is a spacious car in its rear seats, although without exaggeration. It has a wheelbase of 2,818 mm which means that a passenger of 1.90 (not my case) does not rub against the knees or see his hairstyle threatened by the proximity of the roof. Of course, the central square has a very high transmission bridge and an uncomfortable backrest, but this is nothing new even in a segment as familiar as that of SUVs.
The engine is a four-cylinder diesel with an aluminum block, 2.14 liters, variable geometry turbo, and without any hybridization, not even light. It delivers 211 hp and pushes hard thanks to its 470 Nm of torque at 1,750 rpm. Driving diesel cars is becoming increasingly less common, and it is a pleasure to find these torque figures that gasoline engines do not give, even with the help of the turbo, for equal power.
This engine is associated with the 8- speed automatic transmission with a converter whose cams we mentioned. And I have to admit that in a few cars I have selected both the manual gearbox mode as in this Stelvio, and it is because of the aforementioned paddles.
Its driving modes are Dynamic, Natural, and All-Weather. They affect gearbox and accelerator pedal response, and it is in the Dynamic when the Overboost function comes in with ‘all the cavalry’ to achieve maximum performance. Performance, of course, is quite high for a car that weighs more than 1.8 tons, showing with the 6.6 s it takes to go from 0 to 100 (its speed of 215 km / h is more discreet) that it is more than a ‘simple’ model designed for the family. By the way, this system is selected and when starting the vehicle on another occasion it remains activated, unlike other cars in which the electronics would return to the normal or comfort system, in this Stelvio called Natural.
His behavior … we love it. It’s so good, and finds such a fitting icing on the seat grip and paddle-shift operation, that it’s easy to be tempted to seek the limits of grip on 255/45 R20 tires. Of course, there is no active damping that makes the car turn flat, but the important thing is that the whole obeys the steering very well and the reminder that you can go fast with this Stelvio, raised on the Giorgio de Stellantis platform (the same that uses the Giulia and the next Maserati Grecale), comes out strengthened after our test. The base price of this temptation is 62,683 euros. Yes, it doesn’t come cheap, but …