STYLISH AND SLICK AT ANY SPEED

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - Craig Duff

1. BE­ING FIRST PAYS OFF

A $6000 First Edi­tion pack pushes the price to $77,700 drive-away and helps lift Alfa’s mid-size SUV to pre­mium style, from the panoramic sun­roof to tinted rear glass, sus­pen­sion and wheel (19-inch­ers) up­grades, am­bi­ent light­ing, al­loy ped­als and in­lays and leather up­hol­stery, the front sports seats with heat­ing. Show­ing where costs have been trimmed, there are bixenon head­lamps when ri­vals pack LEDs. The five-year/150,000km war­ranty in­cludes road­side as­sist, ser­vice in­ter­vals are 12 months/15,000km and the first three are free.

2. BUY THE DIESEL

If you do plenty of kilo­me­tres, the 2.1-litre turbo diesel will jus­tify the $1800 pre­mium. It is faster, more fuel ef­fi­cient and a lot more fun with 470Nm to punch out of cor­ners. It even sounds bet­ter than the petrol en­gine once un­der way. Claimed 0-100km/h sprint time is 6.6 sec­onds — also laud­able is the mid-range surge. The all­wheel drive set-up sends power to the rear by de­fault and then en­gages the front axle when it de­tects slip.

3. THE BA­SICS ARE COV­ERED

The power tail­gate opens to a rea­son­able 525L boot. The stan­dard sun­roof on First Edi­tion Stelvios doesn’t in­trude on rear head­room and leg space is com­fort­able for two tall adults. The out­board seats are shaped and sup­port­ive. Rear vents send enough hot or cold air and a pair of USB ports should cover the en­ter­tain­ment. The view from up front is im­pres­sive, with a low, car-like dash in place of the chunky plas­tics typ­i­cally seen in SUVs. The 8.8-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen does the job but the dig­i­tal driver’s dis­play nes­tled be­tween the ana­log dis­plays looks last-gen­er­a­tion.

4. STEER­ING IS SCALPEL-SHARP

There’s an in­her­ent sense of sportscar-sharp mo­tion over smaller pot­holes but the Alfa also turns in and tracks as you’d ex­pect, de­spite the ab­sence of a high-revving ac­com­pa­ni­ment. As en­gag­ing as this makes the Alfa in short bursts, on longer trips the con­cen­tra­tion needed to keep it be­tween the lines gets te­dious. Tra­di­tional Alfa types should also look to the Ti’s 2.0-litre turbo with 205kW/400Nm, from $83,900 on the road.

5. SPORTY STILL MEANS SAFE

All Stelvios are fit­ted with au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, blind spot as­sist, lane de­par­ture warn­ing and rear cross traf­fic alert. The car is rated a five-star propo­si­tion by AN­CAP. Tested last year, it scored 97 per cent for adult oc­cu­pant safety and 84 per cent for child safety. Pedes­trian safety was also bet­ter than aver­age. The test­ing author­ity rated the AEB as good at all three tested speeds and Alfa says it op­er­ates be­tween 7km/h and 200km/h.

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