Alfa Stelvio

Exploring the trio of characters within the Veloce’s DNA

- Richard Browne (@washlander)

AS YOU’RE NO DOUBT AWARE, ‘DNA’ IS the mnemonical name used by Alfa Romeo for its driver mode systems. It’s simple: D is for Dynamic, N is for Natural and A is for Econom… Wait. What? Ah. Apparently the A stands for ‘Advanced Efficiency’. Further research tells me that it used to mean ‘All Weather’, so I suspect the firm’s marketing department didn’t want to lose the DNA ‘brand’.

As tenuous as all this is, upon spinning the dial it’s obvious: D shows as red in the instrument display, N as blue and A is green. See? Simple. The suspension is unchanged throughout, as our Veloce has the passive but sporty Dynamic Suspension set-up, not the optional Active Suspension, but the modes still alter the torque curve, accelerato­r and brake response, transmissi­on logic, and stability and traction control behaviour. And unlike with some other cars, here the difference­s between modes are easy to detect.

On long slogs, I’ve tried putting our Alfa in Econ…sorry, Advanced Efficiency mode and have been pleasantly surprised with the increase in mpg it seems to deliver beyond a similar journey in Natural. With fuel prices as they currently are, I’m no longer as dismissive of eco modes like this as I may have been in the past. But for run-of-the-mill journeys and about town it’s in N mode where the Stelvio feels at its best, with a smooth power delivery that doesn’t feel reined-in.

And then a twist of the dial to select Dynamic instantly turns the Veloce into what you’d expect an Alfa to really feel like: the throttle sharper, the engine louder, the gearshifts more intuitive – and more smiles per mile guaranteed. It may not have a clover on its side, but this is still a fun, fast SUV.

Easy access to these distinct characters is one of many reasons why I’ll be sad to see our Stelvio leave the fleet – and indeed its time with us is almost up. Full end-of-term report coming soon.

Date acquired January 2022 Total mileage 6300 Mileage this month 339 Costs this month £0 mpg this month 24.2

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