The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce is an SUV for enthusiasts
Alfa built an SUV that is not boring!
Can't afford the almighty Quadrifoglio? No worries, Alfa Romeo thought about you and offers an alternative called the Veloce. In this version, the brands only SUV is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that makes a healthy 280 horsepower. However, is it enough to call it sporty? Or, is it only going to stay in the shadow of the QV?
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV is one of the best performance SUVs on the market right now, and there is no doubt about that. It even held the record of the fastest SUV around the Nurburgring for some time. However, Alfa needed a car to bridge the gap between the top of their line and their entry-level Stelvio. Just like Audi with their S and RS models, the automaker from Torino wanted to offer a smaller, but still sporty brother to their 510 PS SUV and the result is this car: The Stelvio Veloce.
Named after the famous mountain pass, the Stelvio is Alfa's first SUV (without counting the 1950's Matta), and is today the brand's best selling vehicle. Not too large, but not too compact, the off-roader is a direct competitor to the BMW X3, or the Porsche Macan. Alfa Romeo were late to the SUV party, so in order to make their car stand out, the automaker gave it a sporty character, and a true Alfa Romeo exterior design.
It's taken time but we have finally driven an Alfa Romeo Stelvio, and it was worth the wait. So, when Alfa Romeo Switzerland offered us the opportunity to drive it, we just couldn't say no. The Veloce is an interesting car, because while so many people have written or spoken about the QV's excellence, people seem to have snubbed the Veloce. But not us. Just like a Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG, the Veloce made less headlines than the flagship model, and it's totally understandable. Yet, the Veloce is positioned as a sort of mini QV. In other words, a more affordable, less powerful car that still retains the style and character that made the original so good on the road. The Veloce can reach a top speed of 230 km/h and go from a standstill to 60 mph in only 5.7 seconds, and that's really not that bad. For reference, the Porsche Macan 2.0, that is also equipped with a turbocharged four-cylinder, takes 0.6 seconds more to reach 60 mph. That's also due to the fact that the Stelvio is quite light for a car of its size with only 1'660 kg on the balance, about 110 kg lighter than the Macan.
So, how is it to drive? The Macan may be one of the best cars to drive in the compact SUV segment, but the Stelvio has nothing to be ashamed of. You even go as far as asking yourself whether you are in an off-roader, or not. It sticks to the road like a Giulia, the steering is sharp, and the body roll is nearly inexistent. The turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is very responsive and makes a nice note. It's true that it would have been cool to get some crackles and pops, but you cannot get everything in life, can you? The engine is paired to an extremely smooth 8-speed automatic gearbox that is perfect for daily driving. It can also be controlled through beautiful metal paddle shifters. That's the whole point of the Stelvio Veloce, it's a prefect daily for people who like to drive.
Even though the harshness of the suspensions is adjustable, the Veloce is very comfortable. That comfort is replicated in the cabin where you are greeted by beautiful leather sports seats that bring a lot of lateral support and a perfect driving position. Even though, the interior feels less spacious than expected, it's still a great place to sit in, and I particularly liked the steering wheel with the very Ferrari-like start/stop button fitted on it. All in all, you feel closer and more connected to the road than in a Macan. Yet, there are some flaws, like the infotainment system that is slower than the competition's, and the fact that there are too many buttons. However, these are just details that will be overcome by the driving capabilities of the Veloce.
Did we like the Alfa Romeo Veloce? We are not the biggest fans of SUVs, but the Stelvio is closer to a Giulia than a soccer mom car. It truly is a car for people who like to drive. No, it's not perfect, just like any Italian car, but that's what makes them special. It has a character of its own which will make it less of a boring choice than any of its German counterparts. We also like the way it looks. Finished in this beautiful Misano Blue, a colour exclusive to the Veloce, the car is more discrete and subtle than the Quadrifoglio, but it's unmistakably sporty and it's a great design that should age well.
The Veloce is the proof that you don't always need the best of the best to have fun, and it's a refreshing car that says a lot about its driver. It's an SUV for people who want to be different, who like to drive, and who want sportiness without having a dedicated performance car. Yeah, we need SUVs to be more like the Stelvio.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce