2023 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Estrema
Alfa Romeo originally returned to the American market in 2008, but it was 2016’s Giulia sport sedan that marked the point in which they really got serious about selling cars in the US. And it was quickly followed up by the Stelvio SUV which has naturally become their best-selling model. So, what’s next? Well, it looks like Alfa is going to extreme measures to take the Stelvio to the next level.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio arrived 5-years ago with a bang. Not only bringing a much welcomeD splash of Italian style to the small sporty luxury-minded crossover scene, but bringing the most power and highest performance we’d seen yet. For 2023, there’s a new option for buyers, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Estrema AWD.
Starting with Veloce trim, the limited edition Estrema adds an adaptive suspension and limited-slip differential; essentially giving you some of the Quadrifoglio’s go-fast goodies without having to spend quite as much dough. It’s all integrated into their DNA drive mode setup, which Alfa says is tuned hand-in-hand with their Formula One team. The Estrema doesn’t get the Quad’s race mode, but Dynamic mode is quite aggressive; delivering a ride that’s about as firm as you’ll find in a production street vehicle. It can feel hyper, almost twitchy at times; seemingly unhappy tooling through commuter traffic, having higher speeds and freer flowing pavement on its mind.
4 unique colors are available, including this Misano blue; and all Estremas get a new rear diffuser, unique 21-inch wheels, and additional black trim; plus, carbon fiber covers for the grille and side mirrors. They’ve added plenty of carbon-fiber inside as well; on the door panels, console, and dashboard; along with leather sport seats stitched up with the same red thread as the dash. All of the additions are well executed, and breathe new life into a space that was starting to look somewhat dated compared to the newest rivals.
Both rear seat space and cargo area at 18.5 cubic-ft. are tighter than most as well, though max capacity of 56.5 cubic-ft. compares better. Rounding out the list of upgrades in the Estrema are a dual-pane sunroof, wireless phone charging, and a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system for cranking tunes.
Cranking away under the hood is the standard Stelvio’s 2.0-liter turbo I4 engine. It may fall short of the Quadrifoglio V6’s 505-horsepower, but still pumps out an impressive 280-horsepower and 306 lb-ft. of torque to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission, which has some beefy aluminum paddle shifters mounted Italian style on the steering column.
Unleashed at Mason Dixon Dragway, the Estrema, with its standard all-wheel-drive, has plenty of grip for a healthy launch; but from there, power delivery is more moderate than overwhelming, taking 6.3-seconds to hit 60. Shifts from the trans, whether triggered with those nice paddles or done automatically, are extremely smooth and barely noticeable. There’s not a lot of excitement inducing engine noise either, just a very calm and luxury-like cruise through the quarter in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour.
Everything took a turn for the better when we turned through the cones of our handling course. Here is where this utility vehicle really shines, feeling absolutely great when it comes to handling performance. That ultra-firm suspension and hyper nature of Dynamic mode helps this Stelvio feel more like a sport sedan than just about anything else in the crossover world. Very little body roll, virtually no understeer or oversteer, and the perfect amount of feel through the steering wheel, made for an incredibly precise, spirited, predictable, and fun run through the cones.
Brakes are by Brembo, but they’re not Quadrifoglio spec., and we felt substantial ABS pedal pulsing. Still, stops from 60 took only 113-feet; consistently staying straight and true, with only moderate nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 22-City, 28-Highway, and 24-Combined. We averaged a spot-on 24.2 miles-per-gallon of Premium. Making for an average Energy Impact Score, using 12.4-barrels of oil yearly, with 6.0 tons of CO2 emissions.
Stelvio pricing begins at $48,170, and for that, you’ll get the same engine found here in the Estrema. It’s starting price of $60,920, slots it well below the top Quadrifoglio, yet gives you a healthy dose of its performance.
So, whether you call it style, character, panache; the 2023 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Estrema has it by the boat load; giving you a perfect option for increased handling performance without having to break the bank. It’s still beautiful to look at, unique to see out on the road, and now even more fun to drive on that road than ever!
- Engine: 2.0L Turbo I-4
- Horsepower: 280
- Torque: 306 lb-ft
- 0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 14.5 seconds at 95 mph
- 60-0 Braking: 113 feet (avg)
- EPA: 22 City / 28 Highway / 24 Combined
- MW Fuel Economy: 24.2 mpg (Premium)
2024 Subaru Outback
The Outback Continues To Deliver
In a world that’s SUV crazy, it’s easy to forget that the Subaru Outback has been delivering capable and comfortable all-weather and all-road capabilities to adventure-loving Americans for years. In fact, it’s now well into its 6th generation. So, it’s time for us to check in with the latest Outback and find out what’s new.
Almost 50-years ago, long before all-wheel-drive became an option for just about every car on the road, Subaru released the first four-wheel-drive passenger car in the U.S. Immediately, they knew they had a good thing going with that wagon, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the marketing folks got on board and helped launch the Subaru Outback Sport Utility Wagon.
While the 2024 Outback is approaching the end of its 6th generation, its not slowing down when it comes to delivering tons of value to adventure-minded families.
The Outback is the sole remaining wagon available here in the U.S. from a mainstream brand, though even Subaru doesn’t use the “W” word anymore.
Now strictly referred to as a mid-size SUV, when it comes to selling any vehicle, attractiveness is always a bonus, and the Outback’s unique blend of rugged and refined has set the tone for many followers over the years. The exterior was recently updated, and while it looks big and more like a true SUV than ever, it’s only about 5-inches longer than the 1990’s original.
Some trims do get additional standard content for ’24, but our top Touring XT showcases everything Subaru has to offer, with an 11.6-inch Starlink infotainment screen that controls more features than ever, includes navigation, and pumps tunes out with Harmon Kardon sound. EyeSight Driver Assist Technology remains an Outback standard.
Cargo capacity is a great 32.6 cubic-ft., 75.6 with rear seatbacks folded, and despite the high ground clearance, the floor is lower than SUV typical, which makes for easier loading.
Outback seat comfort has improved greatly over the years, and despite the increased reliance on the touchscreen, everything about the cabin is simple to operate and logically placed.
The XT part of our Touring XT means there’s extra power under the hood with a 2.4-liter flat-4 turbo engine which rates 260-horsepower and 277 lb-ft. of torque. It’s a big upgrade over the standard 182-horsepower naturally aspirated 2.5-liter.
Both engines are unchanged and work with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT; all-wheel-drive is of course another Outback standard.
At Mason-Dixon Dragway, our XT had plenty of grip off the line, hitting 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. That’s a couple of tenths quicker than our last time out with this turbo-4. We’ll chalk that up to better weather this time around.
Like many Subarus, it doesn’t feel overly fast but it’s snappy off the line, and perfectly adequate from there.
Power delivery stayed very consistent down the track; the CVT definitely keeps engine revs maxed out the whole time, but noise is far from annoying. Our best ¼-mile time was 14.6-seconds at 97 miles-per-hour.
The Outback boasts 8.7-inches of ground clearance, which is more than many mid-size SUVs; and while it felt plenty competent through our slalom course, there was noticeable body roll and understeer to deal with. Yet steering was light and predictable, plus Active Torque Vectoring and Vehicle Dynamics Control are hard at work to keep you stable and safe no matter what.
In panic braking, there were only moderate amounts of nosedive, and mild ABS pulsing. Stops averaged a fine 115-feet from 60 miles-per-hour.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 22-City, 29-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a great 27.9 miles-per-gallon of Regular; a feat most SUVs can only dream of.
That’s an average Energy Impact Score; with use of 11.9-barrels of oil yearly, with 5.9-tons of CO2 emissions.
Base Outbacks have plenty of standard content, and remain a real bargain, starting at just $30,240, top trims, including Wilderness, take you into the low 40s.
Decades of loyal Outback owners have helped Subaru grow the 2024 Subaru Outback into what it is today; a highly capable and comfortable, thoughtfully designed, adventure-ready family truckster that’s as adept at backwoods exploring as it is soldiering through the daily grind. Your family activities may not take you far off the beaten path, but life itself is an adventure, and the Subaru Outback is outfitted for your adventure better than ever.
- Engine: 2.4-liter flat-4 turbo
- Horsepower: 260
- 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
- 60-0 Braking (avg): 115 feet
- MW Fuel Economy: 27.9 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: CVT
- Torque: 277 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 14.6-seconds at 97 mph
- EPA: 22 City | 29 Highway | 25 Combined