Put some fun into the school run with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a car with a robust aura – perfect for putting a little verve into your drive.

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Alfa Romeo is revered for its sporting cars, says Matt Joy in Car. Now it is gunning for mainstream success with the Stelvio SUV. But the change of direction has not meant any compromise on its sports car heritage. It is just as eye-catching as the saloon on which it's based, the Giulia, with attractive curves and retro charm. Indeed, it's the only SUV you'd buy on looks alone. But it's a pleasure to drive too. "Zipping up and down the gearbox and exercising the motor is a genuine pleasure," and it handles well for a car of its size. Given this is Alfa Romeo's first SUV, it's "borderline brilliant".

It makes for a good family car, says James Mills in The Sunday Times. This is a pleasant surprise, given that Alfas of the past have had driving positions "fit only for apes" and interiors "as flimsy as an Airfix kit". Alfa has struck a well-judged balance between control and comfort, made a more entertaining car than the competition, and delivered a drive that is pleasingly smooth. The four-wheel-drive system "knows how to give the driver a good time" so skip the Pilates class and take the long route home. This car will "put the fun into the school run".

On the move, it has a lightness of touch that is initially quite surprising for an SUV and the ride is excellent, agrees Steve Sutcliffe in AutoExpress. There are a few frustrating bugs, says Richard Bremner in Autocar, including the wind noise and a driver's seat with no tilt adjustment. But the flip side is a car with a "robust aura" and a high-quality interior and "the enjoyment of driving an SUV with a bit of verve".

Price: from about £33,000.

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