2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Review: Sport Trumps Utility

by Karl Furlong

If you're on the hunt for a serious cargo-hauling SUV, you can stop reading now. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio may sit much higher off the ground than its Giulia sedan stablemate, but this crossover puts the emphasis on compelling driving dynamics more than it does on a giant cargo area or even especially capacious passenger room. Power is derived from a 280-horsepower turbocharged engine with both grunt and attitude. Together with quick-witted steering and ravishing good looks, the Stelvio is a truly desirable SUV, but not one that you'd ever dream of taking off-road. An eight-speed automatic transmission further adds to the driving experience, and all-wheel-drive is available. The Porsche Macan has similar curbside appeal and sharp handling in this segment, but the real bosses are the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, both of which ride well and have spacious, beautifully appointed cabins. But they lack the Stelvio's sparkle - it may not be the best SUV at the price, but it's the one you'd most want to drive.

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Stelvio?

As with the Giulia sedan, Alfa Romeo has made similar enhancements to the Stelvio's cabin design, infotainment system, and the available list of safety features. For 2020, the infotainment system makes use of an 8.8-inch touchscreen display with revised graphics, while the seven-inch TFT driver instrument cluster also has a fresh appearance. SiriusXM radio is standard with a 12-month complimentary subscription, while connectivity features like a Wi-Fi hotspot, vehicle finder, and a mobile app with remote operations are available.

The safety specification is more comprehensive than before, with standard full-speed forward collision warning and available technologies like highway assist, traffic sign recognition, and driver attention alert. In the cabin, there is a revised center console and steering wheel with improved materials and better storage for small items. For the exterior, two new colors have been added to the palette, along with newly available packages including an exterior carbon fiber package, a Dark Miron appearance kit, and a body-color appearance kit.

Pros and Cons

  • Class-leading steering responses
  • Tidy handling always entertains
  • Turbocharged engine is powerful and sounds great
  • Striking design sets it apart from other SUVs
  • More driver assist features are available than before
  • Improved infotainment interface
  • Below-average cargo capacity
  • Most driver assist safety features cost extra
  • Seat cushions are rather firm
  • Build quality falls short of key rivals

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$41,400
Sport
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$41,400
Ti
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$45,800
Ti Sport Carbon
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$45,800
Ti Lusso
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$45,800

Stelvio Exterior

The curvaceous Stelvio retains the charm inherent in the marque's sedans. The traditional Scudetto, V-shaped grille takes center stage, flanked by sleek, long headlamps. Daytime LED running lights are neatly integrated into the headlamps, and the artfully designed alloy wheels range in size from 18-inches to available 20-inch wheels with the familiar Alfa five-hole design. At the back, there are standard LED taillights and rear parking sensors, while front parking sensors are standard on more expensive trims.

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Front Angle View Alfa Romeo
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Top View Alfa Romeo
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Badge Alfa Romeo
See All 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Longer and taller than a Mercedes-Benz GLC, the Stelvio is a relatively chunky SUV, although its shorter 110.9-inch wheelbase (the GLC's wheelbase is longer by 2.2 inches) could explain why the Alfa isn't quite as voluminous inside. Key dimensions for the Stelvio are a length of 184.6 inches, a width (excluding the mirrors) of 74.9 inches, and a height of 66 inches. Ground clearance works out to 8.1 inches, and the Stelvio weighs in at 3,901 pounds in RWD guise (a mere 12 pounds more than the base GLC) and 4,007 lbs when equipped with AWD.

  • Length 184.6 in
  • Wheelbase 111.0 in
  • Height 66.0 in
  • Max Width 74.9 in
  • Front Width 63.5 in
  • Rear Width 65.0 in

Exterior Colors

For 2020, Alfa has added two new metallic color options: Anodized Blue and Lunare White, both of which are $600 options. Other metallic shades (also costing $600 each) are Vulcano Black, Vesuvio Gray, Stromboli Gray, Silverstone Gray, Montecarlo Blue, Misano Blue and Verde Visconti (green). No-cost color choices are Alfa White and Alfa Rosso (red). On higher-spec trims, Rosso Competizione Tri-coat and Trofeo White Tri-coat are available as well, but at a cost of $2,200 each. You can't go wrong with a Stelvio in virtually any color, but the Montecarlo Blue and the Alfa Rosso are particularly striking.

  • Anodized Blue Metallic
  • Lunare White Metallic
  • Stromboli Gray Metallic
  • Misano Blue Metallic
  • Montecarlo Blue Metallic
  • Silverstone Gray Metallic
  • Vesuvio Gray Metallic
  • Vulcano Black Metallic
  • Verde Visconti Metallic
  • Rosso Competizione Tri-Coat
  • Trofeo White Tri-Coat
  • Alfa Rosso
  • Alfa White

Stelvio Performance

A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is fitted to every Stelvio besides the high-performance Quadrifoglio model, which we review separately. The smaller turbo-four is no slouch, though, with 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque - this is a higher output than many other turbocharged 2.0-liter powerplants and allows the Stelvio to hit 60 mph in only 5.4 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 144 mph. By comparison, the BMW X3 30i's turbo-four produces 248 hp and will hit 60 mph in six seconds dead. While the Stelvio sends power to the rear wheels by default, all-wheel-drive is an option on all models, matching competitors like the X3 in this regard. The Alfa is easily one of the more athletic performers in the segment, though. If you're intending to tow, the Stelvio is off the pace of the best in the class - its maximum towing capacity of 3,000 pounds lags behind the X3, which can tow over 4,000 lbs.

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Side View Driving Alfa Romeo
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Grill Alfa Romeo
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Wheel Alfa Romeo

Engine and Transmission

Featuring direct-injection, the all-aluminum 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the Stelvio is shared with the unit in the Giulia sedan, and it's just as effective here. The peak outputs of 280 hp and 306 lb-ft make light work of the SUV's weight and the engine is paired with a fast-shifting, smooth eight-speed automatic transmission with available paddle shifters. Acceleration off the line is brisk, mid-range power is strong, and the motor sounds pleasingly sporty when extended. Passing slower-moving traffic on the highway is no chore at all. In the more sedate driving modes, the transmission goes about its business in an unfussed manner, but it comes alive when pressing on. The available steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are also a joy to use, although they are so large that they tend to get in the way of the stalks behind them.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The high-riding SUV body style often doesn't equate to the most dynamic responses, but Alfa has done a commendable job of making the Stelvio feel sporty anyway. The steering is light, which makes the Stelvio feel easily controllable within the city, while its fast responses at higher speeds are atypical - in the most positive way - for a crossover. Ultimate grip levels are no higher than its competitors from Germany, but it's the way that the Alfa makes the driver feel connected to the experience that remains one of its strengths. The RWD models offer an especially sporty drive, but the AWD models have greater security and resist feeling clinical or dull.

Using Alfa's cheekily named DNA (Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency) driving mode selector, you can tailor responses accordingly. Dynamic mode increases throttle response and, when combined with the available paddle shifters and the powerful engine, makes for a genuinely entertaining driving experience. In the softer Natural mode, the Stelvio is comfortable and shakes off bumps admirably, although there is an underlying firmness that always reminds you of its sporty bent. The brakes are also effective when bringing the crossover to a halt, even from higher speeds, although response through the pedal isn't great - initially, the pedal travel produces only slight stopping power before suddenly biting down hard.

Stelvio Gas Mileage

Delivering average, rather than outstanding, fuel-efficiency, the Stelvio returns EPA-rated figures of 22/29/25 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles in RWD guise, and a marginally inferior 22/28/24 mpg when equipped with AWD. Fill up the 16.9-gallon gas tank with the required premium gasoline, and you should be able to see a mixed driving range of approximately 422 miles. The RWD BMW X3 30i, by comparison, is rated at 25/29/27 mpg and will be able to travel about 34 miles further on the same amount of fuel.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/29 mpg
* 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sport RWD

Stelvio Interior

Although featuring real metal trim, smart leather seats, and a sporty style, the Stelvio's cabin still lacks the solidity that is so evident in an Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Mercedes-Benz GLC. The steering wheel is a lovely design and the revised center console is a success, but the Stelvio's premium price and the feel of its cabin are a mismatch. While the driving position is good, the Stelvio suffers from poor rearward visibility. There's better news for the infotainment system - the updated 8.8-inch touchscreen is faster than before and the display works well. Among the standard features are the Alfa DNA drive selector, a backup camera with rear parking sensors, and full-speed forward collision warning.

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Front Seats Alfa Romeo
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Steering Wheel Details Alfa Romeo
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Central Console Alfa Romeo
See All 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

It's not quite as comfortable in the Stelvio's cabin as in some other crossovers. The issue is less about space and more about the seats, which, although attractively trimmed, are not supple enough - the headrests are especially hard, so your passengers probably won't be taking any naps on longer drives. Legroom and headroom are adequate rather than outstanding, and taller passengers may find headroom at the back a bit restricted by the sloping roofline. The driving position is fine, although visibility is an issue because of the thick pillars.

Ingress and egress are made easier since the Stelvio's floor is quite low, but rear-seat passengers will have to dip down a bit lower than ideal due to that roofline. They will also battle with the long rear doors in tighter spaces.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 36.6 in
  • Front Head Room 40.2 in
  • Rear Leg Room 35.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.9 in

Interior Colors and Materials

All models feature standard leather upholstery. Black trim is standard on the lower-spec model, but a range of attractive wood, genuine aluminum, and carbon fiber trims become available depending on the selected trim and/or package.

Interior colors range from a plain black with gray accent stitching to several two-tone combinations that create a more distinctive environment. These are Black/Chocolate, Black/Red, Black/Ice with Dark Gray accent stitching and Ice with Ice accent stitching. Unique to the Ti Lusso is an available Crema interior color scheme. Other welcome touches include standard satin aluminum door handles and aluminum sport pedals, along with available leather wrapping for the upper door panels and the instrument panel.

Stelvio Trunk and Cargo Space

If this were a sedan, the 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row of seats would be commendable, but it's merely average for a crossover. For instance, the BMW X3 has a commodious 28.7 cubes of space behind the second row, and that makes a big difference when loading five people's stuff into the back. On the plus side, the Alfa gets a standard power liftgate (with an available hands-free liftgate) and four tie-down hooks to enhance the versatility of the available space. The rear seats are a 40/20/40-split-folding design, and when folded flat, there's a total of 56.5 cubes of cargo space. A low load-in height is appreciated, making it easier to load heavier items.

Interior storage has been improved this year, thanks to a newly designed center console with an available wireless charging pad and more space for wallets and the like. The full-length floor console, front and rear map pockets, and beverage holders all help with small-item stowage, although the glovebox is tiny.

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Front Angle View 1 Alfa Romeo
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Rear Angle View Alfa Romeo
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Open Trunk Lid Alfa Romeo

Stelvio Infotainment and Features

Features

Alfa has equipped the Stelvio to a reasonable standard, although it's a pity that many of the newly available safety features are expensive options. The base Stelvio gets standard ten-way power-adjustable front seats (including four-way lumbar adjustment and a driver's memory system), dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, and the Alfa DNA driving mode selector. All models also get hill-start assist, hill-descent control, passive entry with keyless go, and full-speed forward collision warning. On Ti models, you also get heated front seats, front parking sensors, and a wider range of available driver safety aids like traffic jam assist, highway assist, and lane keeping assist.

Infotainment

For 2020, all Stelvio models get a standard 8.8-inch central touchscreen display for the quicker infotainment system, along with a redesigned seven-inch TFT screen in the instrument cluster for key driver information. The infotainment system features revised graphics and driver-configurable interactive graphics - it's a fairly user-friendly system. Standard connectivity features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition, and SiriusXM radio with a 12-month complimentary subscription. A media hub with USB inputs and an auxiliary audio input is located beneath the center armrest, while two USB charging ports are fitted at the back. An upgraded infotainment system with HD radio and navigation is available. All models get an eight-speaker sound system as standard, but this can be upgraded to a ten-speaker system (Stelvio) or a 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system (Stelvio Ti).

Stelvio Problems and Reliability

Rival SUVs from Lexus and BMW hold significantly higher J.D. Power ratings than the Stelvio's overall score of 74 out of a possible 100. Based on records from the NHTSA, certain 2018/2019 Stelvio models were subject to three recalls. The issues were for a potential coolant hose leak that could cause a stall, an adaptive cruise control system that could fail to deactivate, and a fuel gauge that may display a higher reading than the actual fuel level. No recalls had been announced for 2020 models at the time of writing. Although less serious, the Alfa's unexceptional build integrity and the presence of some cabin creaks do raise questions about how the interior will fair in the long term.

Alfa's basic warranty runs for four years or 50,000 miles and includes coverage for the powertrain. Corrosion perforation is for four years with unlimited miles, while roadside assistance is for four years, also with unlimited miles.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles

Stelvio Safety

The Stelvio hasn't yet been evaluated for crashworthiness by the IIHS or the NHTSA, but if the Giulia sedan is anything to go by, the Stelvio should perform well - the Giulia achieved a Good rating based on all IIHS crashworthiness tests.

Key Safety Features

Alfa has enhanced the Stelvio's available safety specification for 2020. On all models, you get dual front, front-side, front and rear side curtain and driver and front-passenger knee airbags. Also fitted is an all-speed traction control system, brake assist, electronic stability control, hill-descent control, hill-start assist, a rearview camera (along with front parking sensors on the Ti versions) and rear parking sensors.

In terms of modern driver assist technologies, full-speed forward collision warning is now standard across the range. Adaptive cruise control, active blind-spot assist, and lane departure warning are optional on all models, but highway assist, traffic jam assist, lane keep assist, driver attention alert, and traffic sign recognition are only available on the Stelvio Ti and up.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio a good SUV?

It's hard not to love the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Sharing a platform with the Giulia sedan, Alfa's first production SUV shares many of that car's desirable traits. Not only is it fun to drive, thanks to a lively turbocharged four-cylinder engine and quick-witted steering, but it's also one of the most evocative crossovers around. Alfa's improvements this year have further bolstered the Stelvio's competitiveness, from the quicker infotainment system to the newly designed center console. There are a few issues that remain, however. The seats are too hard and the interior still isn't on par with the segment's best. Long-term dependability also raises a couple of question marks. Starting at a nearly identical price to the BMW X3, the Stelvio lacks the Bimmer's solidity, comfort levels, and cargo capacity. The same comparisons can be drawn with the Mercedes GLC and the Audi Q5. So no, it isn't the best SUV you can buy, but as for maintaining that unquestionable Alfa 'spark', the Stelvio hits the nail on the head.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio?

Bullishly priced, the Stelvio range starts off with the base model at an MSRP of $41,345. This is exclusive of a $1,295 destination charge, along with tax, licensing, registration, and any number of the many optional extras. Next in the line-up is the Sport at $42,795, followed by the Ti at $45,745, the Ti Lusso at $48,245, the Ti Sport at an identical $48,245, and the range-topping Ti Sport Carbon at $52,245. AWD is standard on all versions besides the base and the Sport, but it can be added as an option on both for an additional $2,000.

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Models

A total of six trims make up the Stelvio range: the base, Sport, Ti, Ti Lusso, Ti Sport, and the Ti Sport Carbon.

Only the lower two trims send power to the rear wheels by default, while all other models have standard all-wheel-drive. Regardless of the trim, you get the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 280 hp and 306 lb-ft, along with an eight-speed automatic transmission with available paddle shifters.

The base model has LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, a backup camera with rear parking sensors, and full-speed forward collision warning. Leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an 8.8-inch touchscreen are among the standard interior features.

The first upgrade comes with the Sport trim - it adds gloss black roof rails, red brake calipers with white Alfa Romeo script, 19-inch wheels, and a sport-tuned suspension.

Next is the Ti which adds 19-inch polished Y-spoke alloy wheels, along with heated front seats, genuine dark gray oak wood trim, and a body-color appearance kit.

With a greater focus on luxury, the Ti Lusso is the only model to be available with a Crema interior and genuine light walnut wood trim. The upper door panels and the instrument panel are also trimmed in leather. A Crema headliner is reserved for this trim, while it gets aluminum sport pedals.

The Ti Sport, as its name dictates, is a racier take on the Stelvio. It gets aluminum sport pedals with an aluminum footrest, a black headliner, gloss black roof rails (shared with the Sport), 14-way power front sport seats, a three-spoke sport design steering wheel, and a sport-tuned suspension.

Finally, the Ti Sport Carbon boasts carbon fiber mirror caps, genuine carbon fiber interior trim, 20-inch Nero Diamante alloy wheels, and a leather-wrapped instrument panel (which it shares with the Ti Lusso).

See All 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

There are many packages available to customize the Stelvio's styling, add more luxury features, or increase the safety specification. The base Stelvio doesn't have as many options available to it - you can upgrade to the Cold Weather Package for $800 (heated front seats and a heated steering wheel), a safety package with active blind-spot assist and front parking sensors for $800, and the Nero Edizione exterior styling package for $1,450. Another safety package, the Driver Assistance Dynamic Package, adds adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning for $1,200. The Stelvio Sport can be had with a Sport Interior Package (aluminum interior trim and more) for $750, along with its own Nero Edizione Sport Package for $950.

Once you get to the Ti models, you can opt for a Ti Performance Package (with aluminum paddle shifters and a limited-slip rear differential) for $1,650. This level also provides access to the loaded Active Driver Assist Package - it costs a pricey $3,250 but you get adaptive cruise control, navigation, driver attention alert, and much more. The Ti Lusso, Ti Sport, and Ti Sport Carbon have similar available packages, with marginal differences to features and price.

Among the standalone options are heated rear seats ($350), an upgraded infotainment system with navigation ($1,200), the Harman Kardon premium audio system ($900, not available on all trims), and a dual-pane sunroof for $1,350. A wireless charging pad goes for $200.

🚗What Alfa Romeo Stelvio Model Should I Buy?

We'd go for the mid-range Ti. Not only does it get standard AWD, but it also gives you access to the most appealing options. We'd specify ours with the Ti Performance Package at $1,650 (active suspension, aluminum paddle shifters, and a limited-slip rear differential), and the Active Blind-Spot Package at $650. There are many more options to choose from, but they start sending the Stelvio's price far beyond the $50k mark, so we'll settle on these additions for a more palatable total of $49,340 including destination.

Check out other Alfa Romeo Stelvio Styles

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Comparisons

Jaguar F-Pace Jaguar
BMW X3 BMW
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Alfa Romeo Stelvio280 hp22/29 mpg$41,400
Jaguar F-Pace 247 hp22/27 mpg$45,200
BMW X3 248 hp25/29 mpg$41,950

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio vs Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar's approach to what a midsize luxury crossover should be isn't too dissimilar to Alfa's. Both of these SUVs handle more like sporty sedans than tall crossovers, and both are striking to look at. The base Stelvio's 280-hp turbocharged engine is more powerful than the F-Pace's and endows the Alfa with quicker acceleration off the mark, but you can also get the Jaguar with a supercharged V6 engine pumping out 380 hp, although it requires you to part with over $60,000. Both of these vehicles unfortunately also suffer from sub-par interior materials, especially considering their prices and the strength of the competition. When not fitted with a full-size spare wheel, the F-Type has a massive 33.5 cubic-foot cargo area, far bigger than the Stelvio's trunk. The Jag also has more comfortable seats, but the Alfa is cheaper and has a better infotainment system following its latest upgrade. In a close call, we'd go for the more affordable Alfa at the lower end of the range, but the supercharged V6 F-Pace provides exceptional performance - at a price.

See Jaguar F-Pace Review

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio vs BMW X3

As BMW's top-selling model in the US, the X3 has been a roaring success and is one of the segment stalwarts. It's not difficult to see why, because from the base X3 sDrive30i all the way up to the 382-hp M40i, every X3 is superbly constructed, has one of the best available infotainment systems, a spacious cabin, and plenty of cargo space. The Stelvio may be more engaging to drive, but the X3 grips tenaciously and rides with more composure. With a superior J.D. Power rating and a rock-solid cabin, it's likely that the X3 will prove the more dependable ownership prospect. Whether that's enough to steer you away from the Alfa's charming personality is up to you, but BMW had a significant head start in the SUV game and it's plainly evident in this match-up.

See BMW X3 Review

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2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Video Review

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