2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio vs. 2019 Toyota Highlander

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/12

Compared to metal, the Stelvio’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Highlander has a metal gas tank.

Both the Stelvio and the Highlander have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front parking sensors, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.

Warranty

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The Stelvio comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Highlander’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability

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The engine in the Stelvio has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the Highlander have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

The battery on the Stelvio is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Stelvio’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Highlander’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The Stelvio’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 95 more horsepower (280 vs. 185) and 122 lbs.-ft. more torque (306 vs. 184) than the Highlander’s standard 2.7 DOHC 4 cyl. The Stelvio’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 43 lbs.-ft. more torque (306 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is faster than the Toyota Highlander V6:

Stelvio

Highlander

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

15.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.3 MPH

92.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/12

On the EPA test cycle the Stelvio gets better fuel mileage than the Highlander:

Stelvio

Highlander

2WD

n/a

20 city/24 hwy

2.7 4 cyl./Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto 8-Spd.

22 city/29 hwy

21 city/27 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

n/a

20 city/27 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

4WD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto 8-Spd.

22 city/28 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

n/a

20 city/26 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

n/a

20 city/26 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

Brakes and Stopping

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The Stelvio’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Highlander are solid, not vented.

The Stelvio stops much shorter than the Highlander:

Stelvio

Highlander

70 to 0 MPH

176 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

127 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

138 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Stelvio’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Highlander (255/45R20 vs. 245/60R18).

The Stelvio’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Highlander SE/Limited/Platinum’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Stelvio offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Highlander’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The Stelvio offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Highlander’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Stelvio has vehicle speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Highlander doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Stelvio’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the Highlander (110.9 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

The Stelvio’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50% to 50%) than the Highlander’s (53% to 47%). This gives the Stelvio more stable handling and braking.

The Stelvio AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the Highlander AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Stelvio Ti AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Highlander LE (26.9 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Stelvio has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Highlander (8.1 vs. 8 inches), allowing the Stelvio to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Alfa Romeo Stelvio may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 650 pounds less than the Toyota Highlander.

The Stelvio is 7.9 inches shorter than the Highlander, making the Stelvio easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio amounts to more than styling. The Stelvio has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is lower than the Highlander (.33 to .34) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Stelvio get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The front step up height for the Stelvio is 2.3 inches lower than the Highlander (17” vs. 19.3”). The Stelvio’s rear step up height is 1.5 inches lower than the Highlander’s (18” vs. 19.5”).

Cargo Capacity

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The Stelvio has a much larger cargo volume than the Highlander with its rear seat up (18.5 vs. 13.8 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Stelvio easier. The Stelvio’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.5 inches, while the Highlander’s liftover is 29.7 inches.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Stelvio’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Highlander doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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The Stelvio’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Highlander’s (3000 vs. 1500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The Stelvio uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the Stelvio is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Highlander. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

The Stelvio has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Highlander doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

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The Stelvio has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Highlander doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Stelvio’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Highlander doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Stelvio’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Highlander’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the Stelvio and the Highlander have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Stelvio is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Highlander prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Stelvio’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Highlander’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Stelvio’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Highlander’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Stelvio’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Highlander’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Stelvio to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Highlander doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Stelvio offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Highlander doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Stelvio has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Highlander doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Stelvio offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Stelvio has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Highlander.

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