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Review: 2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Competizione

When I was in elementary school, we lived for two years in Northern Italy, along Lake Garda—Lago di Garda, as the locals call it. I was able to soak up so much of the area’s history and its culture, including the food, the gorgeous scenery, the sports, and the cars.

Ah yes, the cars. More than once, my dad struck up a conversation with someone—combining my dad’s limited Italian vocabulary, some elements of English, and many hand gestures—to convince them to give me a ride in their badass Italian sports car. This exposed me to a number of classic brands, like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati.

And Alfa Romeo.

Sure, the brand may not boast the overall stature of the supercars listed above, but Alfa Romeo is still an Italian icon, one that has produced racing cars for well over a century.

Today, they’ve accepted the task of building more practical vehicles for the rest of us, the people who aren’t screaming around a track. And yes, here in the 21st century, that means SUVs/crossovers.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio proudly takes up the challenge of competing against the likes of BMW’s X3, the Audi Q5, or the Mercedes GLC. It’s a stylish member of the class, especially when it comes to the exterior. The Stelvio just looks cool, with smooth lines that tease the driving experience to come.

The interior may not match the promise of the outer shell, but we’re talking mostly minor cosmetic items. The overall package is solid and fun to drive.

The Basics

The beefier sibling from Alfa Romeo is the Quadrifoglio, which debuted in 2018. But the Competizione, the model I drove for a week, makes a nice entry point for people who don’t need the razzmatazz sported by its big brother.

A five-passenger crossover powered by a 2.0-liter turbo engine, the Stelvio scoots down the road with 280 horsepower. While the base model features rear-wheel drive, the other trims—including my Competizione—come with all-wheel-drive.

The eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth, and the dual exhaust tips produce a satisfying growl.

The Inside

The grey leather seats, adorned with groovy red stitching, introduce you to an interior that combines comfort with sophistication. You’ll find heated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel are all standard, while the dual-pane sunroof helps illuminate the stunning interior.

I enjoyed the beautiful aluminum accents punctuating the doors, the dash, and the center console.

In the back, you may not find it the roomiest of crossovers, but it’s not bad. I thought the headroom back there was decent, too. The only real concern noted by some is the amount of way-back storage the Stelvio gives up to its competitors. The storage up front is about average, although you’ll appreciate some of the minor touches, like the slot for holding your phone.

The Drive

Here’s where a century of Italian car design shows up and elbows its way among the competition. The sporty punch of that turbo means you’ll never be left wanting for more get up and go.

I liked the acceleration, the handling, and the overall steering. Braking seemed about average.

Plus, some cars are just fun to tool around in, and that’s where the Alfa Romeo gets a leg up. You can request 20-inch wheels, but the 19-inchers on my test car were more than capable at cushioning me from road bumps, and the Stelvio makes turns fun.

The Tech

Here we have a little dance between the good and the not-so-good.

The good includes a 12.3-inch digital gauge that can be configured to one of three settings, depending on your mood.

The wireless charging pad is a nice touch, and there are enough USB ports for the average family.

I enjoyed the Harman Kardon system, and the 14-speaker array surrounds you with sound. (Standard models come with 8 speakers.)

Also, kudos to Alfa Romeo for providing us with an easy to understand—and navigate—set of buttons and knobs. Hooray for knobs! Unlike other brands that make you maneuver through an irritating swarm of on-screen menu commands just to access climate control, with the Stelvio it’s all just one little twist of the fingers away.

As for the not-so-good: The infotainment screen comes in at 8.8 inches, which, back in the day, would’ve been terrific. Today, it strikes me as a little dated and small. Which, I admit, is funny—in my lifetime I had a radio with a tuning knob and a volume knob. And yet I’m dinging a review for having “only” a digital 8-inch touchscreen. Ha!

Bonus points for having Apple CarPlay connectivity as well as Android Auto, but I had a few minor snags with the CarPlay connection. No tech is perfect, and your experience may be perfect.

The Bottom Line

The luxury SUV/crossover market has grown packed with contenders over the last few years, which makes it difficult to stand out these days. It seems that each brand has the areas where it shines and an area or two where it trails the pack.

Alfa Romeo’s strong suit is its sexy Italian heritage, its beautiful exterior design, and a drive that’s powerful and engaging. That’s often all we ask for, as the other frills—no matter how much they may lag the competition—are still excellent.

Not to mention the fact that the base price before options comes in a hair under 50k, which is becoming more and more rare.

If you’re in the market for a sporty crossover vehicle that will truly stand out in a sea of otherwise look-alike choices, it’s certainly worth a test drive. I think you’ll enjoy it.

The Details

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Competizione
2.0-liter 4 turbo engine
Horsepower: 280
8-speed automatic transmission
All-wheel drive
Mileage: 22/28/24 combined
Base MSRP:  $49,725
As tested:  $59,870

Vehicle provided by manufacturer
Reviewed by Dom Testa


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