2017 was when the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV made its South African debut, and we were there to witness it. The setting for the launch was the Western Cape and its world-renowned driving roads with breathtaking scenery. It was fitting for an SUV named after a famous mountain pass in Italy. Six years on and Stellantis, the new custodians of the Alfa Romeo brand, have introduced an updated version of the Stelvio SUV. The setting? None other than the Stelvio's local birthplace. Once again, we were in for a treat in the new car with some of Cape Town's finest roads at our disposal. 

Cosmetic tweaks

Before we get to the business end of things, allow us to reacquaint you with the Stelvio and what Alfa has done here. Aesthetically, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio has always been a handsome SUV, and that remains true. Alfa has given the facelift a darker and sportier appearance by finishing its taillight clusters and exhaust tips in a dark shade. It now has a focused and stern face thanks to the addition of Alfa Romeo’s  “3+3” LED daytime running lamps in each headlamp cluster, with full Matrix headlights. These lamps made their first appearance in the smaller Alfa Romeo Tonale



The cockpit

In the driver-orientated cockpit, you'll find the familiar sports steering wheel with a built-in start button, behind it resides some of the finest shift paddles you'll find in a non-supercar production vehicle, fixed to the steering column and independent of the rotating steering wheel. What's new is the instrument cluster, which has migrated from analogue to digital. And to keep the cockpit experience dynamic, you can alternate between three different themes in the new cluster. Everything else remains the same with the rousing dna rotary still ever-present for swift switching between the three driving modes.

Road manners & performance

Speaking of driving, we might as well cut to the chase and tell you about the business end of things. After all, the Alfa Romeo Stelvioprides itself on being one of the few SUVs with wicked handling characteristics. A lot of wizardry has gone into making the Stelvio a driver-focused car, like its Alfa Link suspension with a semi-virtual steering axis for sharp steering, a 50:50 weight distribution, and a carbon fibre drive shaft for weight saving. 

Slicing through some of the finest passes in the Western Cape in the Romeo Stelvio six years later was a rewarding experience. Still powered by its 2.0l turbocharged petrol engine, the Stelvio brings a smile to your face when put to the task. Handling is still as precise and sharp as the day we met it, if not more. The 206kW and 400Nm are delivered progressively and enough for you to enjoy the car without feeling like you might have an encounter with Jesus. 

How much is the Afa Romeo Stelvio?

Currently, Stellantis is offering the Stelvio in Veloce - a Stelvio Q will be joining it later in the year. They've thrown in a lot of standard equipment for the buyer, like heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. The seats offer a 4-way lumber adjustment. You're also getting a wireless charging pad, full Matrix LED headlamps and a hands-free tailgate. The only feature you'll need to pay for is the sunroof, which rings the till at R20 000. Should you opt out of the sunroof option, the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce retails for R1 205 500.


Gugu Masuku - Proudly ATM