First Drive: Alfa Romeo Stelvio

by Michael Satterfield

Since it was introduced in 2018, Alfa Romeo's Stelvio has struggled to make inroads in the crowded luxury SUV market. The performance-focused driving dynamic and classic Italian good looks make it the SUV of choice for those looking to stand out in a sea of crossover SUVs.

The base Stelvio starts at $42.140* and features a 280hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to an 8-Speed automatic. Standard features include leather interior, outside the other basics, like a radio with Apple Car Play, and power door locks, everything else is optional on the base Stelvio. Navigation, heated seats, a power liftgate, even a color other than Alfa Rosso Red or Alfa White, it will cost you an additional $600. Even heavily optioned it is on par with its German competition when it comes to hp, price, and luxury. The Stelvio Ti AWD tester that I drove came in at $52,685* and had the Ti Performance Package and Drivers Assistance, as well as being finished in Verde Visconti Green.

At the top of the Stelvio range, sits the Quadrifoglio, packing a 505hp twin-turbocharged V6, an 8-Speed automatic and standard AWD. The Quadrifoglio also comes with a more aggressively styled front bumper, rear bumper with quad exhaust tips and defusers, body-colored rocker panels and wheel arches, and of course the classic Quadrifoglio fender badges. All that power and style comes with a base price of $81,840* which is already nearly double the price of a base model, and that is before you ad cool options like the carbon-ceramic brakes, carbon fiber Sparco racing seats, carbon steering wheel, or almost required Nero Edizione package. A fully carbon fiber equipped Quadrifoglio I drove came in with an MSRP at $98,415.* To put that price in perspective a BMW X3 M Competition with the executive package is over $17,000 less.

For those who aren't looking for an SUV that they can also take to the local racetrack the Alfa Romeo Ti package with a few options is likely the better choice, it packs a lot of charm, style, and luxury in a competitively priced package. Or if you want more of a sporty feel you need to give the new Ti Sport Carbon package a look. No matter what trim level you select they all have the eccentric details that only Italian cars can offer like the start button being on the steering wheel, perhaps my favorite is the fuel door location display, which I will allow you to discover on your own.

Regardless of which Stelvio you choose to purchase the driving dynamics are what set it apart from the competition, with tight corning, smooth acceleration, and oversized brakes, the Stelvio feels more like a sports car than a 5-passenger SUV. Clicking through the paddle shifters on a great backroad is a lot of fun, but what was most impressive is how well the Stelvio performed its more standard SUV duties. From handling dirt roads and some minor off-roading to hauling a weekend's worth of luggage and golf clubs the Stelvio did everything I asked it to, and it looks even cooler with a little mud splashed on it. While the Stelvio isn't for everyone, it isn't meant to be, like all Alfa Romeos the Stelvio is for those who wish to be different, to go against the grain, and enjoy the thrill of driving.

For more information or to build your own Stelvio visit

*Prices are based on 2019 models and include Destination Charge of $1,595. 2020 models are now in stock including the Stelvio Ti Sport Carbon which starts at $53,540 including destination.