2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Lusso TI
Alfa Stelvio 2020 Green-laning in a Visconti Green Alfa Romeo Stelvio, newly updated for 2020 Story by Chris Rees Photography by Michael Ward
Last month we tested the MY2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia on UK roads. Now it’s time to try the fresh-for-’20 Stelvio – and since it’s an SUV, we’d better to do some off-roading as well as a road test. Few people ever know this about the Stelvio but it’s actually very capable on the rough stuff; no surprise, perhaps, as every Stelvio has 4x4 (except the rear-drive-only Super). On the scrabbly, hilly road surfaces that we tried, there were zero problems with grip, and our descents never felt anything but safe and secure.
So what is the MY2020 upgrade all about? Not a big sea-change, it must be said. The underpinnings are exactly the same as before, while there’s no big facelift to speak about, either. The most noticeable improvements are in the cabin. As with the Giulia, the nasty sharp-edged plastic gearknob has given way to a far nicer leather item, which now has a little Italian tricolore flag at its base. The main rotary control knob has a better feel, too.
Overall quality is greatly improved, especially the centre console, which offers more storage space and a new wireless phone charger. The letterbox-shaped central digital display is the same size as before (just 8.8 inches across) but the menu bar now sits on the side of the screen, freeing up display space. The big change is that it’s now a touchscreen, with drag-and-drop graphics, and the whole thing works far better than before. The new seven-inch TFT screen between the main dials offers up more information, too. The steering wheel has extra buttons on it, while traffic sign recognition is another welcome addition.
The Stelvio range starts with the Super (entry-level), progressing through Sprint (sporty), Lusso Ti (luxury and comfort) and Veloce (performance) – the first time the ‘Veloce’ badge has ever appeared on the Stelvio. Our Lusso Ti test car comes in a pretty bold spec in terms of looks: 20-inch ‘Dark Petal’ alloy wheels, beige leather trim, wooden dashboard accents and Visconti Green paint. This shade is not actually new for 2020 but I’ve seen so few green Stelvios on the road that it sure looks new. Definitely fresh to the Alfa palette are some very striking new colours, including Villa d'Este 6C Red (a wonderfully deep red) and Junior GT Ochre (yellow-gold).
The new Stelvio drives pretty much exactly the same as the 2019 one did, which is good news in my book. The pin-sharp handling (and not just by SUV standards – by any standard) and super-pointy steering are just so enjoyable. The 200hp petrol engine we tested (280hp is available in the Veloce) is mated to the familiar – and excellent – ZF eight-speed automatic. Other than a bit of harshness on cold starts, the engine is super-smooth and sounds great, especially when you engage Dynamic mode in the DNA system. Mid-range pull is effortless, with peak torque arriving at a mere 1750rpm. The Stelvio’s extra weight does dent its performance compared to the Giulia, though. The 200hp petrol model will do 134mph tops (versus 146mph) and reach 62mph in 7.2 seconds (0.6sec slower than the Giulia). It’s a tad thirsty, too: we didn’t achieve the 30.4mpg official average, getting closer to 27mpg overall.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS 2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Lusso TI
ENGINE: 1995cc 4-cyl petrol
MAX POWER: 200hp at 4500rpm
MAX TORQUE: 330Nm (243lb ft) at 1750rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed semi-automatic
KERB WEIGHT: 1429kg
MAX SPEED: 146mph
0-62MPH: 6.6 secs
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 30.4mpg