Last week, Popular Mechanics announced the winner of its “Crossover of the Year” title for 2018: the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Based on the same lively, lightweight Giorgio platform as the Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan uses, the Stelvio is more nimble and sporty than any crossover has any right to be, whether powered by the 280-horsepower, 2.0-liter Multi-Air Turbo that comes as standard in the US, or the 505-horsepower, 2.9-liter turbocharged V6 deployed in the record-breaking Quadrifoglio model.
“The Stelvio is the Giulia of crossovers, and that’s about the highest praise we can give it,” says Popular Mechanics Automotive Editor Ezra Dyer. The Giulia, remember, won Motor Trend‘s 2018 “Car of the Year” title. “It’s got muscle, even in four-cylinder guise, but it’s also one of those cars that’s fun to drive at any speed, because of the way it feels. The steering is light but not numb, the ride control is taut without being harsh. It was obviously tuned by people whose priorities skew toward performance.
“The Stelvio feels like an Italian sport sedan, only taller. Which is exactly what it is.”
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio launched last year as a 2018 model in the US, with the aim of capitalizing on Americans’ penchant for crossovers and SUVs to attract new customers to the brand. So far, it’s fallen somewhere short of success in the showroom, being outsold by the Giulia throughout each and every month since its introduction, but we expect sales to pick up as Americans get reacquainted with the long-absent Alfa Romeo brand.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio also shows what’s possible with the Italian automaker’s new Giorgio platform, which is set to be shared with a number of new FCA products in the future – although plans to base the next Dodge Charger and Challenger on Giorgio have reportedly been scrapped.