They say one is not a true car enthusiast until they’ve owned an Alfa Romeo. Well since I have
a lot more saving to do before I can buy one for myself, I thought I would do the next best
thing…test-drive one.


However finding any Alfa Romeo in Zimbabwe is no easy feet which is why I was overjoyed
when I learnt that ZIMOCO was hosting a test-drive day for the Alfa Romeo SUV called the
Stelvio. Without any hesitation I made sure I was there!


Upon arrival, I was treated to great-tasting complimentary coffee courtesy of @ZimBarista.
Immediately after, I went outside to take a look at what I would be driving shortly. Alfa Romeos
have always been one of the best looking cars in the market and this Stelvio was no exception.
Its signature ‘Molto Bello’ grille and overall front facia looked even more exotic in person and
the cherry on top were the chrome accent four leaf clover wheels which were, dare I say,
mesmerising.


After I picked up my jaw from the floor and stopped drooling, I hopped in and got ready to set off.
The route chosen for the test drive was very useful in determining how the car would perform in various categories. There were long straights for prolonged hard acceleration, long and short corners to test out handling and bumpy, pothole-ridden sections which helped determine how well it would iron them out.

The Drive


First off, acceleration. I had the 280 horsepower and 415nm of torque version which meant that from a stop, you are guaranteed respectable acceleration. 0 to 100km/hr was dealt with in just over 7 seconds. However when you switch driving modes to ‘Dynamic’ the acceleration intensifies thanks to a more responsive engine and quicker shifts from the ZF 8 speed automatic transmission.


Around the bends, the Stelvio handled itself well aided by its lightweight. This Italian SUV gives you great confidence to push even harder (legally of course). In Shona we say INOFURIRA! That’s because unless you look at the speedometer, one is unaware of just how rapid the car is going. The steering is extremely light which requires some getting used to especially when you’re coming from your run of the mill Ex Japanese car.


When the road gets bad which is just another Tuesday in Zimbabwe, the Stelvio takes up the challenge with all it’s got. The suspension does a great job in striking an adequate balance between suppleness and rigidity thus maintaining good composure throughout the obstacle course…sorry I mean Zimbabwean roads.


All in all it’s a great place to be in. Materials of key touchpoints such as the centre console, dashboard and doors are pleasant to the touch. The seats are comfortable and hug you tight but most importantly for myself, a near 2metre tall gentleman, I had a surprisingly good amount of legroom and headroom. I could see myself doing road trips in this car with relative ease.


So it’s safe to say that my first Italian car experience was unforgettable. Being an SUV one would think it’s just like the rest, in a sea of other uninspiring family haulers.
On the contrary, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is one of the few exceptions and thus worthy of consideration if one is looking for a car that blends performance and comfort seamlessly well whilst looking dang good doing it.