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When it comes to stylish, interesting and unordinary SUVs, two new models come to mind - the Stelvio and the Evoque. Which one is better?

25 Jul 2019


SUVs are boring. You may have heard. With manufacturers pumping out infinite iterations of vaguely interesting, generally competent and largely unexciting high-riding boxes of gloom, two manufacturers have decided to go down slightly different paths.

Land Rover introduced the Evoque back in 2011, banking on its combination of cool styling and technological modernity to appeal to new buyers. It proved a success. In its first year of production, Land Rover sold close to 90,000 Evoques globally. Now, the second generation model aims to continue this trend.

Both the Stelvio and Evoque are stylish SUVs with their own distinct personality

Wading into these deep waters is Alfa Romeo, introducing its all new first ever Stelvio. But does anyone want an Italian SUV from a brand slightly forgotten by time? Does the industry need yet another SUV?

One thing's for sure, these two new SUVs are definitely different propositions from your typical X3s and GLCs and the lot. So, if you were in the market for something a little different, something with a little more personality, which one should you have?

Sweet caroline

Undoubtedly, a key selling point for both cars are their distinct designs. The Alfa definitely boasts Italian flair - curvy lines, dramatic front air intakes, sculpted body panels - all undeniably sexy. The Evoque draws from its rugged heritage, but softens up the normally sharp and angular lines with smooth surfaces, clean details and curved surfaces.

The Evoque boasts a sleek and charismatic design

Personally, we think the Stelvio is more stunning to look at, but we are generally a sucker for anything Italian. It is quite shouty, all 'look-at-me!', but how else would you want your Alfa? The Evoque's understated handsomeness is a little less in your face, and we suspect that will prove more charming for a larger percentage of people. 

Living large

Inside, the Evoque easily surpasses the Stelvio. It packs a whole lot more tech, more comfort and more style. The twin 10-inch touchscreens easily trump the Stelvio's single 8.8-inch (non-touch) screen.

The Evoque delivers tons of high-tech equipment, such as the ClearSight rear view mirror

The Evoque's cabin isn't faultless, though. Navigating some of the menus can be confusing, and some functions are needlessly difficult to negotiate (climate control can be somewhat confusing if you're unfamiliar).

The Stelvio has some things going for it. It's more spacious, both in the rear cabin and the boot (525 litres compared to the Evoque's 472 litres). The cabin is less fussy and simpler to operate, the infotainment system much easier to make sense of and, in general, life in the Stelvio is a simpler affair.

The Stelvio's 525-litre boot trumps the Evoque's 472 litres

But overall, the Evoque's refinement, quality and wealth of equipment trumps the Stelvio. 

Getting down to boogie

It is when you get behind the wheel that you realise the two cars are world's apart.

On paper, this First Edition variant of the Evoque has a notable 47bhp power advantage over the Stelvio, but on the road the difference doesn't feel that clear. The Evoque is the heavier vehicle (more than 200kg heavier, in fact), and the powertrain lacks the immediacy of response that the Stelvio has. As such, the Stelvio is actually 0.3 seconds quicker to 100km/h than the Evoque.

The Evoque's cabin is high on quality, comfort and technology

The Evoque is a car made for comfortable and quiet cruising. The supple suspension soaks up bumps effortlessly, noise insulation is good, and the overall driving sensation is largely benign. However, as we've mentioned in our review, there's a disconnect from throttle to powertrain that makes us a little uncomfortable when driving.

The Stelvio is a delight to drive. The drivetrain is responsive and alert, the steering sharp and communicative, the suspension well accommodated to spirited driving, and the car just feels significantly more connected to the road than the Evoque.

Connected and direct steering makes the Stelvio a joy to drive

In the Evoque, you ride notably higher, and you feel like you're sitting atop a car (albeit a very comfortable one). In the Stelvio, on the other hand, you feel like you're part of the car. 

Styling out

Both models will draw buyers on their visual appeal alone. Delve deeper into these two cars and their distinct personalities reveal themselves. The Evoque will impress your passengers, but leaves the driver a little cold. The Stelvio is quite the opposite - involving and exciting for the driver, but passengers may be left a little uninspired. In that sense, the Evoque is a box of toys, while the Stelvio a toy box.

The Stelvio's responsive and perky engine allows it to out-accelerate the heavier Evoque

On price alone, you may say the Evoque is more expensive (it is), but there's a cheaper variant that's just about on par with the Stelvio on price and power (still superior on equipment and quality).

Which is the better car? It's hard to say. Both have their own set of flaws, and both have their own distinct appeal.

Which should you get? That's entirely up to what your driving preferences are. Personally, we'd have the Stelvio by a hair, just for its driving involvement.

Both SUVs will appeal to different buyers, but there's no denying that they are interesting and characterful

But if you don't really care so much about a car's mechanical constitution (and there are certainly more buyers like that than like us), then the Evoque's going to appeal to you much more. And we suspect between the two, the Evoque is definitely going to sell more. Objectively, it's probably the better overall car.

One thing's for sure - whichever car you find yourself in, you're going to be riding around town in style.
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Car Information

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Alfa Romeo Stelvio Super (A)
Rate it

Price

: $212,000

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1995cc

Horsepower

:

148kW (198 bhp) / 4500 rpm

Torque

:

330 Nm / 1750 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

7.2sec

Top Speed

:

215km/h

Fuel consumption

:

14.3 km/L

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