We drove a $53,000 Alfa Romeo Stelvio - and the new luxury SUV is far from perfect
- The Stelvio is Alfa Romeo's first crack at an SUV since returning to the US market.
- Luxury SUVs are a mission-critical segment for the Italian brand.
- We enjoyed the crossover's styling and driving dynamics, but it fell short on infotainment and interior quality.
Alfa Romeo exited the US market back in the mid-1990s, and if you had told me prior to the financial crisis that the legendary Italian brand would be back, I'd have scoffed.
By the bailout and bankruptcy of Chrysler in 2009 set the stage for an unlikely return, as Fiat - Alfa's owner - acquired Chrysler and formed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. CEO Sergio Marchionne was keen to restore Alfa in the lucrative US luxury market. So first we got the offbeat 4C sports car, followed by the marvelous Giulia sedan.
Now the most unlikely Alfa of all has arrived, the Stelvio SUV. Luxury SUVs are a big segment in SUV-mad American, with pretty much every major brand supporting a lineup. Alfa had to be in on the action.
The Stelvio landed in 2017, and we recently got our hands on a $53,000 Sport-trim example (the base model is $42,000). The car was mega-sharp, with its quintessentially Italian styling. A Range Rover this definitely isn't. But what was it like to live with?
Photos by Hollis Johnson.