Words and Images: Vicki Ravlich-Horan
“How did you fit the car seat in?” This was the first question I got asked when I said I had taken the latest Alfa Romeo for a test drive. It’s a valid question because I too have harboured the dream of owning a sporty Alfa Romeo—red and convertible of course.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no car buff, and my test drive and this subsequent review is purely from a layperson’s point of view. If you want to talk torque, horsepower or catalytic converters, the team at Winger Hamilton can fill you in.
We did fit the car seat in, comfortably in fact. The Alfa Romeo we took for a spin was not the Italian sports car you might imagine Audrey Hepburn driving through the streets of Monaco, but an SUV, the Stelvio. So while not red (this one anyway) or a convertible, it still has an undeniable European style and elegance. But more importantly, it is packed full of practical features.
First up, that car seat. The back seat has three easy to access isobar fixtures, so you know your precious cargo is securely locked in. That precious cargo will also be very comfortable with plenty of cup holders, USB ports and air-conditioning vents.
With kids comes stuff and lots of it, so a generous boot is necessary. For someone pushing five foot three, a big boot on a large car can cause embarrassment in the supermarket carpark as I jump up and down trying to close it! Very handily for the vertically challenged or those with their hands full, the Stelvio has a handy wee button which closes the boot for you.
Possible embarrassment at the supermarket is not the only reason you may have steered clear of an SUV. For me, fuel efficiency is a big consideration, so I was surprised to find the Stelvio has a five-star fuel efficiency rating with 4.8 litres per 100kms.
Car seat in, boot packed, it was time to hit the road. Well, after we sort the sounds that is. The Bluetooth took about a minute to sort and coming from someone who drives half the year with her clock an hour behind waiting for daylight savings to come around because changing the clock is too hard, this says something! The large screen is also a bonus as you can have the navigation on while also checking out what’s playing on Spotify.
The luxurious leather seats hug you as you sit proudly behind the wheel. The all-wheel drive system and eight speed automatic transmission (I looked that up) result in a super smooth ride as we cruise over the divvy to Raglan. Adding to the smooth ride is the long list of safety features this car has. All in all a great family car that doesn’t compromise on style.
I test drove the STELVIO 2.2L Diesel turbo model thanks to Winger Hamilton.