2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio ages with grace

Sometimes automakers get it right the first time. For enthusiasts looking for one of the best-driving small luxury SUVs, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio nailed it out of the gate.

Alfa Romeo has given the Stelvio minor updates since it debuted six years ago, but this crossover SUV carries the same basic gorgeous design, it remains comfortable up front, and most importantly, it retains its sharp driving dynamics. 

It’s not for everyone, though. Even with the latest infotainment system, technology isn’t the Stelvio’s strong suit, it still has a brake feedback issue, and its packaging leads to compromised interior space behind the driver.

After putting it into service to shuttle my kids around town for a week, here are the pros and cons of the 2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Pro: Alfa Romeo Stelvio proves simple can be pretty

The Stelvio is one of the prettiest small crossover SUVs. Rather than bling and flair, it sports simple gorgeous curves, the trademark Alfa Romeo Scudetto grille, and big exhaust outlets. The LED headlights have been updated, but the simple design has aged like a fine wine. It looks more like a tall wagon rather than an SUV with great proportions thanks to a long dash-to-axle ratio that puts plenty of sheet metal between the front wheels and the front doors.

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Con: Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s tech is complicated and glitchy

The Stelvio now features an 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system still running the automaker’s old Alfa Connect infotainment system rather than Stellantis’ latest UConnect 5. It’s the laggiest system I’ve touched in a long time. Its seemingly simple tile-based interface has fussy little icons on the left, tapping the screen doesn’t make it respond immediately, and the Apple CarPlay connection isn’t wireless. The up and down buttons on the steering wheel normally change the radio station and/or song, depending on the entertainment source. However, if you hit a window pane icon on the steering wheel, they control what’s shown in the gauge cluster. I’m not sure how anyone would be able to figure out the gauge cluster controls.

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Pro: Alfa Romeo gives bear hugs

Anyone seated up front will be very comfortable. The heavily bolstered sport seats give you a bear hug and keep your body snugly in place. Supportive for hours, these seats are among my favorites in any small crossover SUV. They also sit up high, which combines with a low-set dashboard to provide an excellent forward view. 

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Con: Alfa Romeo puts driving first, rear-seat passengers second

Occupants seated in the back won’t be as happy. Rear legroom is quite tight. There’s only 31.9 inches of rear legroom, about as much as a Spirit Airlines seat. Rear cargo space is also limited, as the Stelvio has 18.5 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 56.5 cubic feet with the seats folded down. All but one of those figures is notably lower than the smaller Tonale’s, which has 38.0 inches of rear legroom, 22.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, and 50.5 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded. The Stelvio’s longer overall length gives it more max cargo space, but its long dash-to-axle ratio and the packaging of its sophisticated rear suspension rob rear legroom and space behind the rear seat. The Tonale’s simpler suspension system has a negative, though, as it provides less fun behind the wheel.

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Pro: Alfa Romeo Stelvio satisfies around corners and along highways

The Stelvio is a delight around corners thanks to the well-tuned double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension. The super quick 12.0:1 steering ratio makes even neighborhood corners fun, and the firm tuning of the suspension lands on the just right side of comfortable. The Stelvio didn’t buck over broken, heaving Midwest pavement during the dead of winter despite the firm suspension. 

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Con: Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s brakes provide little feedback

The Alfa Romeo Steilvo’s brakes are quite strong and provide good bite, but they lack feedback. The pedal feels almost wooden. The reason is the feedback is simulated, as the brake-by-wire system uses a rubber block mounted behind the brake pedal so drivers can understand how much pressure is being applied. This is a tuning issue, not a hardware issue. Porsche and others do a fine job tuning their brake-by-wire systems.

The Alfa Romeo remains an enthusiast’s choice. It’s not the most tech-focused crossover SUV, or the roomiest, but it’s among the most fun to drive. For those who put how a vehicle drives ahead of all else, it’s among the best options in the segment. Though, it wouldn’t kill Alfa Romeo to tap other Stellantis arms to make its tech more user friendly.

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2024 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Base price: $47,545, including $1,595 destination

Price as tested: $59,870

Powertrain: 280-hp turbo-4, 8-speed automatic transmission, AWD

EPA fuel economy: 22/28/24 mpg

The pros: Gorgeous, comfortable front seats, good forward visibility, fun to drive

The cons: Glitchy and overly complicated controls, compromised second row and cargo area, poor brake feedback

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