2023 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Estrema

2023 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Estrema

Episode 4216
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

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!

Specifications

  • 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 Solterra 3/4 Front

2024 Subaru Solterra

The Solterra Gets Subaru Into The EV Game

Episode 4339
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You could say that Subaru is one of the more conservative brands out there. So, it’s no surprise it took them a little longer than most to venture into pure EV territory. But now that they’ve staked a claim with this Solterra, it’s time for us to see if Subaru buyers should plug in.

The Subaru Solterra is indeed the brand’s first full battery-electric vehicle; and while it took partnering with Toyota to make it happen, as we’ve seen with the BRZ and GR86 sport coupes, that partnership can lead to some great things.

So, we’ll start there; the Solterra’s counterpart is the Toyota bZ4X, and they do share most powertrain elements, specs, and features; but Subaru has done a few things to establish some unique vibes for their brand. That starts with the drivetrain, as all-wheel drive is standard here as in most Subarus, and in similar tradition, power won’t overwhelm you, it’s more safe and familiar feeling than overpowering as some EVs can be. Called StarDrive, this Subaru’s dual-motor setup rates 215 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Subaru loves to tout that their drivers are second only to Jeep owners when it comes to venturing off pavement, so capability is a must.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front
2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem
2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel
2024 Subaru Solterra Profile
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail
2024 Subaru Solterra Badge
2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel2024 Subaru Solterra Profile2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail2024 Subaru Solterra Badge2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port

We did find Solterra as competent as every other Subaru. Their X-Mode has been programmed to work seamlessly with the electric motors, and its 8.3 inches of ground clearance is higher than the bZ4X; plus, you can use Grip Control to moderate speeds and maximize traction.

While most new EVs seem to be hovering around 300 miles of range, max here in the Solterra from its 72.8-kWh battery pack is 227 miles, 222 here in Touring trim. Our results were much less than that, on pace for just 172 miles in our driving loop. But that may be a fluke since we managed 210+ in our bZ4X test.

Only 100-kW max for DC fast charging. But even though it has only been on the market for a year, they’ve already cut down charging times for ‘24 models. An upgraded battery conditioning system, needs 35 minutes for an 80% charge. Subaru always seems to come out on the right side of being cool while remaining authentic, and the Solterra’s styling works, as does its beefier roof rack for ’24 which now holds up to 700 lbs. for tents and the like. Touring trim comes with some great looking 20-inch alloy wheels and there’s lots of body protection, but they did go a little overboard with all of the EV badges everywhere.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected.

In addition to being a good-looking small SUV, it’s a highly functional one too with plenty of room for 5, durable materials, and a bridge-type center console with lots of storage space underneath, though there is no traditional glove box. Subaru also claims it was designed to be dog-friendly, so that’s a plus too. It does have the roomy feel of an Outback, and rear cargo capacity is pretty close, too, at 29.0 cubic-feet.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected. It really shined in the handling course at our Mason-Dixon test track; the EV low center of gravity giving it a very planted feel through the cones. There was minimal body roll and great all-wheel-drive grip; though when it came to us getting a grip on the steering wheel. Well, it’s an oddly shaped steering wheel that took some getting used to. It’s another thing that separates it from the bZ4X, though it seems a little bit like just being different for the sake of being different.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard
2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster
2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display
2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk
2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk

On the other hand, while not insanely fast like some EVs, there was good punch off the line; enough to get us to 60 in 6.2 seconds. And rather than rolling back the power, the Solterra kept it consistent the whole way down the track. We finished the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 93 mph. There wasn’t much feel coming through the brake pedal, but panic braking stops were fade-free with an average amount of nose dive; our stops from 60 averaged 120 feet.

Using 33-kWh of electricity per 100-miles, the Solterra earns a good efficiency rating. Pricing starts at $46,340 for the base Premium, and tops out with Touring at $53,340, with Limited in between.

Being the rugged and lovable outdoor types, Subaru owners have proven to be willing to sacrifice certain things for the good of the environment they spend so much time enjoying. Whether that will translate to them going all-in on the 2024 Solterra remains to be seen. It’s no surprise Subaru has finally gone all-electric, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’ve entered the EV game conservatively. Something tells us Subaru owners wouldn’t have it any other way.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Battery Size: 72.8-kWh
  • Horsepower: 215
  • Torque: 249 lb-ft
  • EPA Range: 222 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.8 seconds at 93 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 120 feet (avg)
  • MW Test Loop: 172 miles