Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2020 280hp petrol test: the best sporty SUV?

Comfortable writing the2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia test drive because it's a car I know very well, having driven it for more than 3 years, I had a bit of trouble to start writing Alfa Romeo Stelvio test drive. Not being a big SUV consumer, I only had the opportunity to try a Fiat 500X, a Lexus UX, a Seat Arona and more recently a 2020 Audi Q3. Being used to sedans, it took me some time to compare, to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Stelvio with the greatest objectivity. I'd like to point out that of all the SUVs I've tried, the Stelvio is much more at the level of the Audi than the other brands mentioned above. This is already a good thing. The Seat is more like a Fiat. The Lexus... it's still in a league of its own. In short, what is this SUV, announced as sporty, worth? Let's go !

Handling, a beautiful SUV (in every sense of the word)

"Beautiful" because it looks good, and "beautiful" because it is not a compact SUV. It's a D-SUV, so compare it to an Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and, why not, a Porsche Macan, they are of the same size. It is clearly the one with the most "Latin" design. Plus, with the Misano Blue that the Stelvio in this test has, impossible to remain indifferent to its passage. From the front to the back, Alfa Romeo still knows how to make beautiful cars... and without going through the restyling process!


On board, the same cabin, the same comfort as in the Giulia sedan, slightly more spacious, slightly higher and trunk necessarily larger. This is sometimes the reason why, in the absence of a Giulia SW in the range, many customers have turned to the Stelvio model.

Still on the subject of the interior, I love the interior of the Stelvio. It is different from the competition. It's not busy, not austere, not cut and dry, it is elegantThe steering wheel design has changed slightly from previous years. Note that, starting with the 2020 models, the design of the steering wheel has changed slightly from previous years.


In terms of infotainmentLike the Giulia, this 2020 model brings a major update to the system. The interface is close to the best but I have to be honest, it's not as good as what I tried on the latest Mercedes or Audi. The touch screen is good but is not at the level of fluidity of these German cars either at the level of the interface or the navigation on the map. However, it is a big step forward compared to the previous generation..

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio also offers a new feature that I enjoyed using, a wireless induction charger for smartphone located on the center console. Very practical. Finally, as far as multimedia is concerned, the Stelvio offers theHarman Kardon audio (as was already the case on my 2016 Giulia) and the sound is very good but not up to the price of the option. I think there could still be some work to do on the audio amp. I compared, Lexus and Audi are doing better in this area.


I start the engine, and go for it. Does the Stelvio's size impress when driving? Well, no. The Stelvio SUV is just as agile as the Giulia sedan on a daily basis. Despite its size, whether in the city or on winding roads, I get the same feeling of a "go anywhere" car thanks to the precision of the steering. It's really the best in its class in that respect. The steering angle is also very important, useful in some situations.

Small downside, no 360° camera. I mention this because for a vehicle of this size, it's a feature I appreciate having when I need to park (or go to a parking lot with high curbs, or to the McDrive...). It's reassuring. It's an option that is well present in Audi or Lexus for example... too bad. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio still has sign recognition, active blind spot detection, lane keeping assist, fatigue detection, etc.


Onboard sensation: a truly sporty SUV?

For this test drive, I was really looking forward to trying the 280hp gasoline Stelvio Q4 over my 200hp gasoline Giulia. How does it feel under acceleration? In the curves? Let's give it a try...

I accelerate: what is surprising is vehicle stability. It goes theoretically faster (5,7 sec for the 0 to 100 km/h) but I have less sensations than with my Giulia 200 hp gasoline propulsion yet announced at 6.6 sec for the 0 to 100 km/h. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is extremely stable, it grips the road when accelerating. When entering and exiting a roundabout or on the winding roads (not to say mountainous) that I was able to take during the test drive, I can perceive a difference in behavior than with the Giulia. I feel like I'm in an SUV. This is certainly related to the higher center of gravity and the heavier weight. Remember, I'm used to sedans... But Is the Stelvio still a sporty SUV? Well, yes! A few weeks after this test, I had the opportunity to drive a 2020 Audi Q3 S-Line for a while and that's where I see the difference... The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is much more precise at the level of the direction (I press this because Alfa Romeo has really done it with the Giulia and the Stelvio), the 280 hp petrol engine is very available and the 8-speed ZF gearbox reacts perfectlyespecially in dynamic mode. It is really an SUV that is a pleasure to drive even if you won't find as much sensation as in a lighter, lower sedan... logical.


Moreover, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio 280 hp gasoline, on paper, is very efficient with its 0 to 100 km/h announced in 5.7 sec. For comparison, the Audi Q5 252 hp does it in 6.3 sec, Mercedes GLC 245 hp in 6.5 sec, the Porsche Macan 252 hp in 6.7 sec and the BMW X3 252 hp in 6.3 sec.

As for the sound of the exhaust system, it's good, but nothing more. Alfa Romeo does not offer an optional sport exhaust system in the catalog, which is a shame.


Premium SUV price, millionaire's gasoline malus

If the 280 hp gasoline is probably the best engine of this SUV, we must now announce the painful truth. With the NDEC standard the CO2 emissions were 158 gr/km, with the WLTP standard, it increases to 208 gr/km in the TI version, i.e. 16 810 € of malusand 211 gr/km in the Veloce version, that is 18 905 € of malus... Who will seriously pay this amount when the SUV is displayed from 62 000 € with this engine?

You say to yourself: but these Italians are crazy to make cars that emit so much CO2. I asked around and here is the ecological malus in Italy :

  • 1 100 euros from 161 to 175 g / km
  • 1,600 euros from 176 to 200 g / km,
  • 2,000 euros from 201 to 250 g / km,
  • 2,500 euros from 250 g / km and more.

In the end, I don't know who is the craziest...

Conclusion: yes theAlfa Romeo Stelvio 2020 280 hp gasoline is surely the best sporty SUV on the market. Look, performance, finish... But, because of the French malus, it is unaffordable. The salvation of this gasoline engine will be the hybrid but that, not before 2021 at least.


In the meantime, the solution is to turn to to 160 hp or 190 hp diesel enginesA Stelvio Q2 160 hp diesel starts at €41,500, a Q4 190 hp diesel at €51,600 and a Q4 210 hp diesel at €60,400. A Stelvio Q2 160 hp diesel starts at €41,500, a Q4 190 hp diesel starts at €51,600 and a Q4 210 hp diesel starts at €60,400. That's within the market price range. An Audi Q5 S-Line Q4 160 hp diesel starts at €58,000, a Q5 S-Line Q4 204 hp diesel starts at €60,000.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio has a lot going for it and is priced right! You can buy it... in diesel if you want, in gasoline if you can.


Bonus: for your reminiscence, this great 2016 Alfa Romeo Stelvio commercial. I love it.

Once again thanks to Johan for the pictures, discover his instagram account.


Do you have an Alfa Romeo Stelvio or are you planning to buy one? Use our comparison ofAlfa Romeo insurance.


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  1. Very good test. I agree with you, this stelvio doesn't need a restyling, it is so beautiful! I am on my 2nd Stelvio. The first one white, the second one red. We'll see if the next one will be a stelvio of another color, or a Tonale, as long as the latter will offer a sporty behavior as good as the stelvio.

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