Nearly new buying guide: Alfa Romeo Stelvio
11 October 2021 - autocar
Poor residuals impair this sporty SUV but make it a top used buy
Until pretty recently, an SUV from Alfa Romeo would have seemed as likely as Raymond Blanc donning the head chef apron at McDonald’s. But here we are.
And the truth is that the Stelvio offers the same characteristics of engaging handling and charismatic styling that made so many of Alfa Romeo’s cars popular in its long, romantic (and chequered) history.
Built on the same platform as the Giulia saloon, its remarkably light aluminium body fat-shames all of its rivals. And while one of its main drawbacks from new was its poor residual values, that in turn makes it worthy of focus in these used pages.
For power, you have the choice of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 197bhp or 276bhp or a 2.2-litre turbodiesel with 188bhp or 207bhp.
As for trim levels, the most basic gets no name but plenty of standard kit, including a 6.5in infotainment screen, automatic emergency braking, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and a powered tailgate, but it’s uncommon on the used market.
Instead, you’ll find more range-topping Speciale models with 19in 10-spoke alloy wheels, red-painted brake calipers, xenon headlights, power-folding door mirrors and leather seats (heated in the front).
Used Stelvios cost from around £25,000. Incredibly, at this entry point, there are a lot of examples of the punchy 2.0 Turbo 280 petrol in Speciale trim – our pick of the lot.
From here up to £30,000 is where the best value lies in the used Stelvio pickings. There’s a strong choice of all engines in varying trims and with low mileages, while £31,000 to £35,000 gives you the choice of 2019 and 2020 cars with very low mileage.
The elephant in the room here is the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. With a 503bhp 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V6 that was created with help from Ferrari and a four-wheel-drive system borrowed from Maserati, it’s a truly exceptional hot SUV – and it can be yours for just £50,000.
However, while the Quadrifoglio undoubtedly the most impressive, you’ll enjoy crisp handling from any Stelvio. It steers remarkably well with a typically quick and accurate rack and handles with a fluidity that’s rare for an SUV.
The downside is a fairly firm ride, which some may genuinely find too firm, along with poor refinement.
Another reason the Stelvio has never quite stood beside the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 is its interior. The dashboard and its surroundings are attractively finished, but the materials that you’ll regularly touch feel particularly low-rent. An upside shared with those rivals, mind, is infotainment controlled by a dial on the centre console, not your fingers.
Rear space is slightly limited and that attractive roofline eats into head room, but the boot is reasonably big.
Electrics Owners have reported multiple issues with sensors, which control many aspects of the model, software and the infotainment system so check all is well, although don't expect it to be tomorrow. For that reason, insist on an extended loan.
Body The Stelvio is a large car, so check the corners for scrapes.
Need to know
Alfa Romeo and dependability historically went together like chocolate and a summer’s day, but its newer cars seem to fare better. Even so, Alfa finished 25th out of 31 brands in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey. A three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty from new is standard for the Stelvio.
All models are four-wheel-drive apart from the entry-level diesel, which is rear-wheel drive. But if you want a diesel, go for the more impressive 207bhp model, which is also the most efficient Stelvio.
A facelift this year changed the trim levels to Super, Sprint, Lusso Ti and Veloce, but won’t find many of these on the used market yet.
2.0 Turbo 280 Speciale: This has crisp handling, zingy performance and loads of kit. The truth is that all of the Stelvio’s engines are impressive, but the miracle of used prices starting at this punchy petrol makes it a no-brainer.
Quadrifoglio: If the 2.0 Turbo 280 is a jalfrezi, this is a nameless, special-order-only dish that only locals are allowed: 0-62mph in 3.8sec, a 176mph top speed and a formerly record-setting Nürburgring time.
Ones we found
2018 Stelvio 2.0 Turbo 280 Speciale, 34,400 miles, £25,500
2018 Stelvio 2.2 D 210 Super, 5100 miles, £29,490
2019 Stelvio 2.2 D 190 Nero Edizione, 1500 miles, £35,000
2019 Stelvio 2.9 V6 Quadrifoglio, 12,300 miles, £51,990