Class: Premium Compact Crossover
Miles driven: 165
Fuel used: 9.7 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B-|
|Power and Performance||A|
|Fit and Finish||B-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||505-hp 2.9L|
|Engine Type||Turbo V6|
Real-world fuel economy: 17.0 mpg
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 17/23/19 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas required
Base price: $80,445 (not including $1595 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Misano Blue Metallic paint ($600), Active Driver Assistance Package ($2000), Security and Convenience Pack ($400), Nero Edizione Quadrifoglio ($850), Brembo-brand carbon-ceramic brakes ($8000), dual-pane sunroof ($1350), heated second-row seats ($350), wireless charging pad ($200), Quadrifoglio carbon-fiber steering wheel ($400), yellow brake calipers ($350)
Price as tested: $96,540
The great: Ferocious acceleration; agile handling
The good: Distinctive styling with Italian flair
The not so good: Steep pricing; iffy reliability record; some quirky controls; limited passenger and cargo space
When evaluating the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, a plus factor that Consumer Guide editors find with the premium compact-crossover SUV is its spirited driving character delivered at competitive prices for the class. If we thought that in 2019, nothing has happened to the 2020 model that can shake that conviction.
In what has to rank as a pretty amazing coincidence, the high-performance Stelvio Quadrifoglio that CG tested in 2020 had the exact same final price—$96,540—as the one it sampled in 2019. That was despite a fairly different options load, and a $200 rise in starting price for ’20. What’s more, that starting tab now covers Alfa Connect telematics, satellite radio, and forward-collision warning with full-stop capability.
Alfa updates the Stelvio for its third season on the U.S. market with a more flexible (but no less complicated) infotainment system and a revised center-console layout. Plus, there now is an Active Driver Assist Package option that provides “level II” autonomous driving.
The console shuffle is relatively slight. The lever for the electronic parking brake has been moved forward to a place next to the transmission shifter, and a bright bezel now frames the shifter. The same drive-mode selector and remote-control dial and buttons for the infotainment system employed during the Stelvio’s first two years continue to be used.
The Infotainment system has a new look and all sorts of functionality. The 8.8-inch central display is now a touchscreen that can be tapped and swiped to access and activate things like audio, navigation, apps, and more—though the console controls remain. Whether this driver twirled and twisted the controller or tapped the screen, he found making audio inputs less than intuitive. Going the console-dial route diverts driver attention. Also, response to commands seemed a little slow.
Active Driver Assist, a $2000 add-on, bundles highway-driving-assist technology with traffic-jam assist, lane-keep assist, active blind-spot assist, traffic-sign recognition, a driver-attention alert, active cruise control with full-stop capability, and automatic high-beam-headlight control. In street driving, the traffic-jam component works pretty well at automatically slowing, stopping, and resuming forward movement—when the system is active. Drivers have to always be at the ready for times when it quits because of insufficient data. Without driver intervention, start-ups from behind a stopped vehicle that has moved on seemed a little tentative. The whole business is activated by a thumb button on the steering wheel.
Meanwhile, if the thought of a slick-handling small SUV that can go from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds (per the manufacturer) still excites you, you’ll be happy to know that Alfa Romeo has left the rest of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio alone. Possessed of 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, the twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6—working through an 8-speed automatic transmission—gets the “Quad” up to speed in a trice, and that’s true in urban traffic or in highway passing. Big, hard-to-miss steering-wheel shifter paddles are included for those who want to take a more-active role in their vehicle’s performance.
The EPA fuel-economy estimates for the vehicle are 17 mpg in city driving, 23 mpg on the highway, and 19 combined. When this tester put 52.8 miles on the ’20 model, it returned 16.9 mpg, that with 53 percent city-style driving. (A longer stint by the same driver in the 2019 Quadrifoglio resulted in almost identical performance.) The fast and the frugal can take advantage of a standard stop/start feature, and dialing in “Advanced Efficiency” mode—the “A” on the DNA Pro menu—enables cylinder deactivation when driving conditions allow.
Finely tuned handling; quick, direct steering; and able body control around corners make this most stirring of Stelvios a kick to drive. Ride is firm to begin with and gets a little less forgiving in Dynamic mode that alters steering and damping characteristics. The 20-inch alloy wheels with their distinctive and open 5-hole design are wrapped in standard “summer” tires that are wider in back than they are in front. Available only with all-wheel drive, the Quadrifoglio packs a torque-vectoring differential to maximize power delivery. If you’re planning to track-run a Quad, you may find the $8000 asked for a set of Brembo CCM carbon-ceramic disc-brake rotors money well spent. They were on our 2019 and 2020 test vehicles, and stopped both with complete surety.
Stelvios, particularly the Quadrifoglio, do performance somewhat better than passenger accommodation. A lowish, sloping roofline shaves some headroom from both seating rows and cuts into driver vision to the rear corners and directly back through the tailgate. Legroom is better in front than in back, where it gets more restricted. In contrast to the complication of the infotainment system, dual-zone climate controls are more convenient. Rotary dials set temperature and fan speed, and buttons located between the dials handle other functions.
None of the usual personal-item storage spaces—the glove box, console box, and door map pockets—are especially big. There is a bin that drops down from the left side of the dash and net pouches on the backs of the front seats. The console has a handy slot for the optional wireless charger, as well as covered cup holders. Additional cup holders are found in the pull-down armrest in the middle of the back seat. Cargo loads onto a good-sized flat floor, and when more load space is needed, the 40/20/40-split rear seats fold just about level with the floor.
Passengers settle into standard leather-and-Alcantara seats with multicolor contrast stitching (when all-black upholstery is selected). There’s additional leather on the dash, upper doors, flat-bottom steering wheel, and shifter knob, and carbon-fiber trim is laid down around the interior. What else does 82 large buy? Eight-way power front seats with 4-way lumbar adjustment, heated front seats and steering wheel, aluminum-faced pedals, 7-inch thin-film transistor driver-information display, Harman Kardon audio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, keyless access and starting, remote start, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, LED taillights, and a power liftgate.
For 2020, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio isn’t standing still. Neither, though, is it running away from what it is.
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Gallery
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
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