Like many car enthusiasts, I grew up watching the antics of Top Gear. Watching the three bicker about anything and everything was hilarious, however one thing they did agree on was the fact that you were never a real petrolhead until you had owned an Alfa Romeo, and as a result I was always curious about the enigmatic automaker. Many complain that modern Alfas lack what made the models of yesteryear special. To see if that’s true for myself, we spent a week with the 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce.
New for the 2022 model year is the “Veloce” moniker in the Stelvio line-up, it takes the place of the Sport model. Veloce in Italian means fast, which is funny as the Stelvio Veloce, well, isn’t. The Stelvio produces 280 horsepower at 5,200RPM and a healthy 306 lb-ft. of torque starting at just 2,000RPM. In comparison to similarly priced models such as the 2022 BMW X3 M40i and the 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, the Stelvio takes about a second longer to reach 100km/h and is down around 100hp.
What the Stelvio lacks in power figures, it does make up for in responsiveness. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four feels better than the power figures would have you believe, and in the D mode of the “DNA” drive mode selector, the ZF sourced eight-speed automatic also shifts quickly. If you feel the need to shift the gears yourself, the aluminium column mounted paddles are excellent, and we really enjoyed their tactile feel. All models of the Stelvio except the Quadrifoglio are powered by this powertrain, which feels adequate but nothing special.
On the contrary, one of the pleasant surprises of the Stelvio Veloce’s powertrain was the fuel economy. The Stelvio is rated at 10.8L/100km in the city and 8.3L/100km on the highway for a combined 9.6L/100km. Over the 450 kilometers we drove our tester, with an emphasis on highway driving we were only able to manage 12.2L/100km. It does require premium fuel, though we anticipate efficiency to improve in better weather conditions.
The Stelvio’s handling is an area in which it feels like it is trying to be sporty but ends up falling short. The steering is very responsive thanks to a quick ratio steering rack, however it does lack a little bit of actual feel and can feel vague at times. The steering wheel itself has good bolstering, the ergonomics are great, and the turning circle was surprisingly good considering the all-wheel-drive system and large 21-inch wheels. Behind those massive wheel are some tiny brakes and after one or two heavy applications, brake fade is an issue but hey, at least they’re red.
The interior of the Stelvio offers a simple, easy to use layout. There are not many physical buttons, however fundamentals such as the HVAC controls, and heated seats are present. Most of the switchgear does feel of decent quality, however we couldn’t help but notice the odd mix of bespoke elements mashed up with components from much cheaper Stellantis models. Material quality on the whole was average, as we were pleased to see many key touch points were padded, and small details such as the Alfa logo on the headrests made this crossover feel more upscale.
Overall, front seat head and legroom were really quite good, unfortunately the same could not be said about the rear. When compared against similar models such as the Audi Q5, the Stelvio does seem a tad tight. The second row does offer two USB-C charging ports as well as three-way folding seats, which increases the practicality of this Italian grocery-getter. Trunk space behind the second row is a paltry 525-liters, in comparison to the BMW X3 at 812 liters. Worse than that, the cargo area has a large ledge to clear and is limited width wise. Compared to some other entries such as the Genesis GV70, the Stelvio may be considered average.
On the technology front, you guessed it – the Stelvio is just average. Some features of our test car are the 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, and a decent Harman-Kardon stereo. The infotainment system can also be operated with a rotary knob which is a welcomed addition.
The Stelvio does come kitted out with some nice driver assistance features such as active blind spot assist, highway and traffic jam assist, and lane keep assist which will not keep drivers centered in the lane but rather correct if it detects an unintentional departure from the lane. Generally, most of these features worked well however we did have a couple of instances of false blind spot monitoring alerts, however that may just be limited to our test car.
Speaking of issues with our test car, we did notice a couple of issues we’d usually not expect on a vehicle with so few miles on it. We noticed that the backlight on various elements of the dashboard lighting had started to flicker, and in doing so was rather distracting. There was a whistling noise that would come from the driver’s window and lastly, perhaps the most alarming was the engine failing to restart after shutting down as a part of the start/stop system.
Pricing for the 2022 Stelvio Veloce starts at $65,595, an $8,000 jump up from the base Sprint model. Alfa seems to compare the Veloce to the BMW X3 xDrive30i and Mercedes-Benz GLC 300, however due to the price of the Veloce, it is actually a closer comparison to the performance models of those two. If you were to compare the less powerful models, a similarly optioned 2022 X3 xDrive30i, will come in around $4,000 cheaper and the GLC 300 will be a whopping $8,000 cheaper. Our tester’s only option was the Ocra GT Junior paint job for a cool $2,700, bringing our as-tested price to $68,295.
In summary, the 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce is one to add the list for those that value the handsome looks of a stylish Italian crossover over cutting-edge technology and cargo volume. If those things are on your must have list, it may be a wise decision to check out the more mainstream German offerings. This Alfa certainly didn’t pull at my heart strings the way I imagine models of the past did, but I can still happily say that I have experienced an Alfa Romeo and glad to see these more unique offerings still available to the consumer.