The perfect mid-size SUV needs good technology, comfort, looks that help it stand out, and above all, a great driving experience. If you’ve just muttered “that doesn’t exist” under your breath, let us introduce you to the 2023 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce.
Having undergone a makeover to make it a little sexier, and add some much needed technology, this Italian colt (the Quadrifoglio is clearly the stallion) packs decent punch. Some 206kW and 400Nm is on tap from the 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.
Paired to an 8-speed torque converter auto, and Alfa Romeo’s Q4 all-wheel drive platform, it will sprint to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds. Properly engaging to drive, it delivers an on-road experience that’s impressive and belies its numbers.
Rest assured, it will make you smile as you put the pedal down, and should you want to go all GT3 racer, there are actual metal paddle shifters behind a very comfortable steering wheel, that is almost point-and-click in the way it takes on a twisty turn.
With double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, its handling package is superbly on-song, giving an almost car like feel to the bulky SUV. Ventilated brakes provide the stopping power, while Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres enhance its performance bent.
Decidedly comfortable, despite all that sportiness, it got a big thumbs up from the chief finance officer and her friends after a lengthy day trip from the NSW Central Coast, to Sydney and then onwards into the Blue Mountains.
What better way to test the fuel economy than to have it drive some long stints, combined with short runs between scenic venues and cafes across one of the State’s most iconic tourism regions. It wasn’t exactly a pretty outcome, but it wasn’t ugly either.
Alfa Romeo claims 7.0-litres/100km and while that looks great on paper, the best we could manage was a 9.9-litres/100km. Like we said, not perfect, but not a disaster. Performance aside, the Stelvio Veloce is a good looking bit of kit, especially in Alfa Red.
If that’s not for you, there’s also Misano Blue, Alfa White, Vesuvio Grey, Alfa Black and the delectable Etna Red. The 20-inch wheels are something to behold and feature one of the coolest designs on the market, while a Q2 limited slip diff provides extra stability.
Inside, a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is the first thing you notice, along with the existing, and now somewhat dated 8.8-inch infotainment screen. To be fair it does feature wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there’s a wireless charging pad too.
The screen can be controlled via touch or a rotary dial, and can be a little complicated to use. That’s particularly so for the sat-nav setup, which is clunky at best. In another update though, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system kicks some big goals.
Leather can be found everywhere, including across the dash, on the door cards, and of course the seats. Those are pretty damn comfortable too, and there’s decent head and leg room in the back for average rear seat passengers.
Load the 5-seater up with that many adults though and it’s a little cosy back there. There’s a fair bit of plastic about, which doesn’t really fit the Veloce tag, but there’s a few trade offs – including a nice steering wheel, and side bolsters on those front pews.
There’s a decent driving position that feels very driver focused. Alfa Romeo has packaged the Stelvio to feel almost like it wants you to be a little naughty in it, to push it through corners, to accelerate hard, and the interior reflects that.
It’s oddly racy, and yet still feels family oriented as well. A powered tailgate is another nicety, giving way to 525-litres of boot space. Priced at $82,950 plus on-roads, it’s backed by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
A similar period of capped price servicing is also offered. Should you want to tow, the 2023 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce has a 2,300kg braked capacity. Safety tech includes highway and traffic jam assist, intelligent speed control and traffic sign recognition.
You’ll also find active blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Up against BMW’s X3 xDrive30i and Audi’s Q5 45 TFSI Sportback, it presents a case for something that’s a little different from the norm. It is Italian after all.
Practical, while still being sporty enough to make you smile, the 2023 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce is worth checking out on the car maker’s website. You can also chat to your local dealership. If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.
Our test vehicle was provided by Alfa Romeo Australia for review purposes.