54: Alfa Romeo Stelvio – a direct hit on a key market for the Italian brand

Top cars for 2018: It’s not pretty but it’s lovely to drive

 

Alfa Romeo has been threatening to build an SUV ever since the Kamal concept of 2002, and finally, 15 years down the line, they’ve done it with the Stelvio.

Named for the famously twisty, switchback road that crosses the Alps, this is basically a Giulia saloon with a loft conversion, and it retains much of what we love about Alfa’s saloon.

Aside from an over-firm ride quality, there are very few SUVs that are more engaging to drive. It’s also roomy (nice big boot, decent legroom in the back) and mostly well made (although as on the Giulia some cabin fittings are distinctly third-class).

The 210hp diesel engine, eight-speed automatic gearbox (with those gorgeous aluminium paddle shifters) and Q4 four-wheel drive all combine to make for some very good all-weather progress. Make no mistake; Alfa’s first ever SUV has really hit its targets head on. The only problem? For an Alfa, it’s distinctly un-pretty…

Best model: 210hp 2.2d Q4 Speciale

Prices start from: €47,295

Finance package from: POA

Co2 emissions: 124-161g/km

Sum-up: Great to drive, decent quality, but looks like a Hyundai Tucson from side-on.