A VERY ITALIAN WEEKEND WITH THE ALFA ROMEO STELVIO

Italians – they don’t half pick their moments. A full 10 months after I allegedly ‘occupied’ a Veronan bus lane, the Veronan Police Force finally got around to sending me a lovely thick letter in the post demanding money, and in doing so turned my Saturday morning into the kind of expletive-laden affair Gordon Ramsay would be proud of. My plan for a stress-free, relaxing, lazy weekend had been scuppered. There was only one thing I could do – treat myself to the World’s greatest iced coffee. Funnily enough, that coffee can only be found at Leoni’s café, an Italian-inspired cafe in a town called Malton.

 

Coincidentally, my car from Synergy HQ for the next couple of days was the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio, adding to the Italian theme that was beginning to blanket my weekend. Usually, driving to Leoni’s is great, you follow a twisting, undulating road through gorgeous Yorkshire countryside, but by midday on Saturday I was grumpy, tired and unusually for me, really didn’t feel like taking advantage of this great little road.

 

 

After an uneventful drive to the café – where I paid absolutely no attention to the Stelvio – I was sat sipping on the world’s greatest iced coffee and could feel my mood improving with each sip. It occurred to me that it was perhaps a good thing that I’d noticed absolutely nothing about the Stelvio during my drive. Unlike some older Alfa Romeo models, the Stelvio did nothing that annoyed or bothered me. Everything seemed right, and I don’t remember ever driving an Alfa Romeo that has achieved that before. This is the car that represents the new face of Alfa Romeo though, one of two all-new models. The Stelvio is Alfa Romeo’s first SUV, the firm’s attempt to establish a foothold in what is currently the most lucrative sector of the car market. Not every car can be exciting, and that morning the Stelvio was pleasantly ordinary.

 

 

Alfa says the Stelvio is ‘engineered to thrill’ and ‘rewrites the rules of its class’, but it doesn’t, not really. After all, this is an SUV and there’s only so much you can do with an SUV. That Saturday morning, I couldn’t care less about its dynamic potential, it got me to the café in comfort and later on that day it swallowed the weekly shop. It did normal SUV things in a normal SUV way and stuck to a tried and tested recipe as far as SUVs go. Turbo diesel 4-cylinder engine? Tick. 8-speed automatic gearbox? Tick. Four-wheel drive? Tick, ah, but this is where things start to get interesting. The Stelvio’s ‘Q4’ four-wheel drive system is predominantly rear-wheel drive, right up until the point that it senses you’re getting yourself into trouble and then it engages the fronts. This, I like.

 

Sunday was a new day. Bright sunshine matched my more optimistic state of mind and it was finally time to give this Stelvio a proper drive. As far as SUVs go, the Porsche Macan is the leader in terms of driving performance, but it didn’t take me long to really get to grips with this new Alfa Stelvio, reminding me in many ways of the Macan in the way that it handles and moves around on the road. It might not have quite the same composure as a Macan on a motorway, but boy does it put a smile on your face. Such a smile actually, that it reminded me how much I loved Italy.

 

 

Iced coffee, beautiful cars, the best food in the world. It isn’t that bad really is it? Things might take a little longer over there – new Alfa Romeo’s have been few and far between – but when they finally do arrive, you realise they were well worth the wait. Unless of course, it’s a letter from the Polizia.

 

Synergy personal lease customers, I’d like to talk to you directly here. We all know the standards that have been set in this area of the market by the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. If you’ve driven the likes of the Q3, X3 or GLC, this is a new flavour altogether. This is a design-driven, motorsport inspired SUV that takes inspiration from the past and Alfa’s historical sporting heritage, while also recognising the trends of our time and blending it together in a seriously compelling package.

 

This is a dazzling, gorgeous and engaging SUV that is unlike any Alfa Romeo ever made, well deserving of serious consideration and better to drive than nearly every other rival in its segment.

 

 

 

SYNERGY BUSINESS LEASE RATING – 3/5 – ROOMY, COMFORTABLE, AND JUST 127G/KM OF CO2. NOT BAD AT ALL FOR A SUV WITH SUCH IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCE.

SYNERGY PERSONAL LEASE RATING – 4/5 – AN ABSOLUTE JOY TO DRIVE – FOR AN SUV. A SERIOUS CONTENDER TO ESTABLISHED GIANTS IN THE SEGMENT AND A BRILLIANTLY EXECUTED PROJECT FROM ALFA ROMEO. IF YOU FANCY A CHANGE OF PACE FROM GERMAN PRODUCTS, THIS IS THE ONE TO HAVE.

SYNERGY OVERALL RATING – 5/5 – IF YOU CAN FIND AN SUV THAT DRIVES AS WELL AS THIS THAT DOESN’T HAVE ‘MACAN’ WRITTEN ON ITS RUMP, YOU’VE DONE BETTER THAN ME.

HAS THE NEW STELVIO CAUGHT YOUR EYE? CHECK OUT OUR LATEST ALFA ROMEO STELVIO BUSINESS AND PERSONAL LEASE DEALS.

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