Alfa Romeo’s new Stelvio is stimulating to drive and has special appeal for those in search of a rewarding road experience. But for daily driving needs, we found this mechanical sibling of the Giulia ill-suited for everyday use. The Stelvio excels when driven with gusto; the turbocharged engine delivers thrilling acceleration accompanied by a pleasant exhaust snarl. The transmission shifts quickly and smoothly when pressed on the road. But drive it more sedately and the transmission can stumble.

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Handling is the Stelvio’s real strength. It turns through corners expertly, with quick, precise steering that rewards drivers who want to explore new roads—especially those that twist and turn. While the ride feels slightly jittery in general, the suspension does a good job of absorbing bumps. This sporty compact SUV was built for the racetrack, not for suburban side streets or grocery-store parking lots. In stop-and-go traffic, the touchy brake pedal makes it a challenge to stop smoothly.

The Stelvio achieves good fuel economy (24 mpg overall) for the luxury compact SUV segment. But daily annoyances abound: It has limited seat- adjustment range, a snug interior, frustrating controls, and obscured rear visibility. The parking sensors are hyperactive, and the lane-departure warning emits a startling bark through the speakers. And the Stelvio’s reliability is uncertain based on the woeful track record of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Read the complete Alfa Romeo Stelvio road test.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Review

HIGHS: Handling, fuel economy, style, character
LOWS: Controls, visibility, tight interior, limited seat adjustments, touchy brake pedal
POWERTRAIN: 280-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine; 8-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 24 mpg on premium gas
PRICE AS TESTED: $52,040

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the December 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.