2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Lusso

After a 100 years of history, an SUV is born

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport
2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport

With a name taking after the highest mountain pass in Northern Italy, made up of 20 kilometres of twisting pavement containing 75 hairpin switchbacks, the good folks at Alfa Romeo couldn’t in good conscience put out a vehicle not apt to tackle that very road. And so the Stelvio was born, the Italian’s brand’s very first SUV.

It’s refreshing to see something different — and the muscular, Trilobe shield grille-wearing Stelvio certainly qualifies — taking on the utility products from more established marques currently dominating many city streets.

Looking the part

Classified as a mid-size crossover, it measures 4,680 millimetres in length, 2,160 millimetres in width and has a height of 1,670 millimetres. As mentioned, the front end is unlike pretty much anything else offered, punctuated by the signature upside-down triangle in the centre of the face and flanked by long Bi-Xenon-equipped headlamps. Slim black wheel arches and sill skirts run down the side, and at the back is a dual exhaust system wrapped in a matching black diffuser with integrated contrasting skid plate.

Inside, the interior is equally as quirky, and quintessentially European featuring premium materials, an elegant, clutter-less dashboard and a unique layout. I’ll save you the trouble of trying to locate the start button — it’s mounted on the steering wheel ala another premium automaker hailing from Italy. The attention to detail and craftsmanship is really evident in places like the long sculpted paddle shifters made out of real metal. The steering wheel definitely could have been thicker for better grip feel, though.

The company describes the crossover as “simple, stylish and tailored like a bespoke suit,