This car isn’t for everybody. And, oddly, that’s a good thing.
The world is steadily going crazy for SUVS and there are a number of reasons for this. The higher driving position, the feeling of greater interior space whilst the car gains no length – sitting with bent knees uses space more efficiently. Also, the vehicle looks more imposing and therefore maybe feels more impressive.
One thing that SUVs generally aren’t noted for is lively driving dynamics. The extra height results in more lean (and feels even greater) in corners, the steering is generally tuned to be easy – without forgetting that the extra weight dulls the experience generally.
Not so here. Now the laws of physics still apply, but the car has been developed to drive in as close a manner as possible to its sibling, the Giulia saloon. And it really does, this does just feel like a sports saloon. But sat slightly higher.
This is exactly why I say this isn’t a car that will suit everyone. Certainly not your typical Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC or Volvo XC60 buyer – the direct rivals of the Stelvio.
As soon as you start to drive the car, it this immediately apparent this is different. The throttle is sharper, the steering more direct (twitchy if you’re not ready for it!). This almost feels 4K to the other cars HD driving experience. In fact, I noticed when I first drove the review car that the delivery driver had left the car in A mode on the DNA selector. This chooses between Dynamic, Normal and All Weather, with A being the most emasculated mode. He wasn’t ready, it seems.
Don’t run away thinking that this is some hard riding, uncomfortable, fidgety race machine because it isn’t.
But it sure is more lively than your average bear, Boo Boo.
If CO2 emissions are not part of your decision making process, the Quadrifoglio with 500+hp (when it launches) will be more like this, but the regular range has AWD diesel versions with CO2 emissions of 127g/km. “Decent”, as my 14yr old son would say.
Size wise the car is exactly as it should be. Plenty of room for 4 adults and a fifth won’t be uncomfortable. The boot is large and square, but it hides a surprise.
Now come on. Inflate the Tyre, lose the stickers and that is one sexy spare wheel. I’d have those all round the car in place of the regular wheels (provided they didn’t look too small, obviously). A small detail, but an important one.
So the question is, are you up for it? If you fancy a Giulia but really wanted a wagon, or just need more room, this is for you. If you want an SUV that drives like a sports saloon, this is for you. If you want to float around easily with light steering and no real effort, look at one of the others.
For what it’s worth, this car is marvellous. Just not everyone will.
Paul Titchmarsh – Director of Risk & Manufacturer Relations