2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport AWD Review

A recipe for thrilling driving a bit higher up

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By: Amos Kwon
February 19, 2018

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport AWD Review

Driving Experience

We didn't expect to like driving the Stelvio Sport Ti as much as we did. It's not only composed and smooth but quite thrilling to drive quickly. It's one of the best crossovers to helm.

Ride Quality: The optional sport-tuned suspension keeps things well-managed over various road conditions. It's on the firm side, but it doesn't feel harsh.

Acceleration: Acceleration is strong, and turbo lag is kept to a minimum. The Stelvio Ti with AWD can hit 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, and you can feel how quick it is. Throttle response and gearshifts are quick.

Braking: The Brembo brakes are powerful, and there's a good progression to the pedal with the right level of firmness.

Steering: Steering is sharp and responsive, but there's a lack of feedback compared to the sedan.

Handling: Thanks to the aluminum architecture, the Stelvio is light compared to most of its competition. We threw it into curves pretty hard, and it held on extremely well for a higher riding vehicle.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Technology

The tech in the Stelvio is pretty good for what's essentially a Fiat. The functionality overall could use some help, though. We wish it got some form of Uconnect. Sadly, there's also no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (yet), and you can't do a destination search in the navigation (weird).

Infotainment System: The infotainment system in the Stelvio looks crisp and simple, but it can be frustrating to use at times with too many layers and menus that are hard to find.

Controls: Overall, the controls are pretty good. The large infotainment knob on the center console, the drive mode selector knob, and the audio volume are all different sizes and easy to operate while driving.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Styling

We love the way the Stelvio looks. Though the overall shape isn't something radical, it's the individual elements and the lack of overstyling that works so well here. It's racy and sophisticated but not overdone.

Front: The black honeycomb mesh in the grille and lower fascia gives it the right amount of aggression, and the near-perfect headlights are excellent.

Rear: Though it's a bit thick, the great taillights mimic the shape of the headlights well, and the big twin round tailpipes are great.

Profile: Very handsome and very similar to the Porsche Macan with which the Stelvio competes, except the front end on the Stelvio is thicker and the front overhang is shorter.

Cabin: Though the cabin is sporty, and we like the analog gauges and the brushed aluminum-trim, some elements look and feel cheap. The top of the dash, for example, is a rough, thick plastic that looks a bit low rent.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Comfort

For everyday driving, the Stelvio does very well. For its size, it has sufficient room for four. The front seats are especially good, and the ergonomics in the cabin are better than we expected.

Front Seats: The front seats not only look nice and racy, they provide good support and cusioning. There's also ample space for six-footers.

Rear Seats: Though the outboard seats are comfortable, there's limited legroom. Three across feels cramped.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The engine noise is noticeable but not annoying at all. We like the burble of the turbocharged engine. The build quality was quite good with no squeaks or rattles.

Visibility: The driving position is good, and the hood slopes enough to properly place it where you want. Rear sightlines are compromised because of the short glass and the thick D-pillar. Cameras are a must.

Climate: The climate system works well, though we would've liked more heat from the upper vents.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Safety

The Stelvio has not been crash tested yet, but in top trim, it comes with some standard safety features and good optional tech.

IIHS Rating: Not tested

NHTSA Rating: Not tested

Standard Tech: Our tester came with a backup camera and a front/rear park assist system, both of which work well.

Optional Tech: Our tester was outfitted with the Driver Assistance Package that includes blind spot and cross path detection, and the Driver Assist Dynamic Plus Package with a smooth adaptive cruise control system and the Forward Collision Warning Plus package that includes lane departure warning and automatic high beams.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Storage

Don't expect colossal levels of capacity in the Stelvio since its strengths lie in driving and style. At least it holds more than the direct competition, but that's not why people buy this type of vehicle, anyway.

Storage Space: We like the binnacle below the center stack with its retractable door, and the armrest is well-sized and also keeps items out of sight.

Cargo Room: The Stelvio is bigger than both the Porsche Macan and the Jaguar F-Pace thanks to its 18.5 cubic feet with all seats in place and 56.5 with the seats folded flat. The cargo area also has a flat load floor and some very nice tie-down hooks that slide in the rail system.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Fuel Economy

The turbocharge Stelvio Ti isn't a fuel-miser, that's for sure. Though we tend to drive hard most of the time, we were a bit disappointed by the lack of efficiency, and we never came close to the EPA rating.

Observed: 18.3 mpg, far off from the 24 mpg combined rating.

Distance Driven: 157 miles

Driving Factors: We drove mostly in Dynamic mode and used the excellent optional paddle shifters. We spent 50 percent of the time on local roads and the other 50 on the local freeway.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Audio

The upgraded Harman Kardon system is a good one. It was loud and clear, but it could've used better bass. $900 isn't a ton to spend on a premium sound system these days, but we also don't have reference of the stock system in the Stelvio, so we can't say if the upgrade is warranted.

Final Thoughts If you want a premium crossover, but you want to be different and also enjoy your daily driving without sacrificing too much practicality, the Stelvio is an excellent choice. It's a blast to drive, has a decent amount of space, and it looks pretty fetching. Plus, it's not one you come across often, so it's a fresh face compared to the ubiquitous BMW X3. That being said, it has some cheap elements inside, and the infotainment needs a bit of work. Overall, we were thrilled by the driving dynamics and the sexy styling, which overshadow some of the Stelvio's shortcomings.


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