Sedan-like agility. Because of their size, few crossovers or SUVs can handle similarly to sedans. The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is one of the rare crossovers that can actually provide similar handling and performance as a sport sedan. It’s incredibly impressive, but the downside to its excellent handling is a firm ride.

Find a twisty road, and the Stelvio comes alive. Thanks to its 50/50 weight distribution, short wheelbase, and rear-wheel-drive layout, it handles better than 90% of the crossovers on the market.

That’s all with the base trim, too. Move up to one of the higher trims and you’ll get even better performance around corners. The available Quadrifoglio model is even more agile, features a super-quick steering ratio, and barely has any body roll.

A tale of two engines. The Stelvio is available with two engines, both of which are strong. The base engine may not sound all that impressive, but it’s got plenty of oomph. It’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that generates 280 hp. Thanks to an eight-speed automatic transmission, it can get to 60 mph from a standstill in 5.4 seconds – not bad for a base powertrain.

If you want sports car performance out of your Stelvio, you can opt for the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 that’s only for the Quadrifoglio trim. It churns out 505 hp and comes with various high-performance components: a torque-vectoring rear differential, two-mode exhaust system, sticky tires, and better cooling. The result is a 0-60 mph time of just 3.6 seconds.

Aiding drivers in getting the most out of the Stelvio is Alfa Romeo’s DNA drive-mode selector that lets drivers choose between three different modes – four in the Quadrifoglio. Each mode brings out a different quality, allowing drivers to cater the vehicle to the desired task.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

A well-formed Italian suit. Crossovers, for the most part, have ungainly designs because they’re trying to combine the best of cars and SUVs. This isn’t an issue the Stelvio has. Alfa Romeo has a history of designing some of the prettiest cars ever. While we wouldn’t put the Stelvio in the category of the best-looking vehicles ever made, it’s certainly handsome.

Sharing a familial design with the Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan, the Stelvio has a curvaceous blueprint that makes it look exotic. We’re especially partial to the front end, which features a triangular grille, razor-sharp headlights, and large oval air intakes. It’s certainly a unique design that gives the Stelvio a sporty, yet elegant stance.

On the inside, the Stelvio takes a different approach. The cabin features a simplistic design that strives to keep things straightforward for the driver. There’s a new 8.8-inch touchscreen for the 2020 model year that takes up a lot of space on the dashboard, while oversized paddles sit behind the steering wheel. The recessed dials in the instrument cluster have a sporty edge to them that reminds you of the Stelvio’s best qualities.

Cramped seating. If you plan on getting a ride in the Stelvio, be sure to call “shotgun” because the rear seats aren't a comfortable place to be. While the front two seats are pleasant and have a lot of space, the rear seats are another story. In the back, passengers have just 31.9 inches of rear legroom. For adults, it’s a tight squeeze.

Cargo space is just as lackluster. Because of the Stelvio’s design, it only has 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. Folding the second row down results in 56.5 cubic feet of space. These figures are well behind other compact crossovers.

Final thoughts. Make no mistake, the 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio puts performance first. Whether you go with the base trim or the mental Quadrifoglio, you’re going to want to take the long way home.

But that kind of performance comes at the expense of things that stop it from being as comfortable as others on a daily basis. Its tight rear seats are a major downside, the firm ride could prove to be annoying for regular use, and the small cargo area could be a hassle for road trips.

There’s a lot of competition, but if you’re looking for performance, you’ll want to check out the Jaguar F-Pace and the Porsche Macan. The F-Pace is offered with three engines that range from efficient to ludicrous. It’s nearly as good looking as the Stelvio and nearly as good to drive. A tricky infotainment system and a lackluster interior are a few of the F-Pace’s downsides.

The Macan is offered in a dizzying number of configurations with powertrains that nearly match the Stelvio’s in terms of performance. The Porsche has nicer materials and better fit and finish, but, surprisingly, it has less cargo space.

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