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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The RX Series has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Stelvio doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Stelvio doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The RX Series offers an optional Panoramic View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Stelvio only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The RX Series has standard Safety Connect®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Stelvio doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the RX Series and the Stelvio have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Stelvio has not been tested, yet.
Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Alfa Romeo covers the Stelvio. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Stelvio ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The RX Series’ corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Stelvio’s (6 vs. 4 years).
There are over 38 percent more Lexus dealers than there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the RX Series’ warranty.
A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the RX Series’ reliability 38 points higher than the Stelvio.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series first among midsize premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Stelvio isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Alfa Romeo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Alfa Romeo is ranked 29th, below the industry average.
The RX 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 15 more horsepower (295 vs. 280) than the Stelvio’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The RX 450h’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 28 more horsepower (308 vs. 280) than the Stelvio’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
On the EPA test cycle the RX 450h gets better fuel mileage than the Stelvio AWD (31 city/28 hwy vs. 22 city/28 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the RX Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Stelvio doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
The RX Series’ standard fuel tank has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Stelvio (19.2 vs. 16.9 gallons).
The RX 450h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Stelvio doesn’t offer a CVT.
The RX Series stops shorter than the Stelvio:
60 to 0 MPH
For greater off-road capability the RX Series has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Stelvio (8.2 vs. 8.1 inches), allowing the RX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The RX Series has 7.5 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 6.1 inches more rear legroom and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Stelvio.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the RX Series’ rear seats recline. The Stelvio’s rear seats don’t recline.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the RX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Stelvio doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
Maximum trailer towing in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is limited to 3000 pounds. The RX Series offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.
The RX Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Stelvio doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
If the windows are left open on the RX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Stelvio can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
When the RX Series is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Stelvio’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the RX Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Stelvio doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
The RX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RX Series will retain 46.6% to 51.56% of its original price after five years, while the Stelvio only retains 40.25% to 42.03%.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus RX Series will be $1453 to $2595 less than for the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus RX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio isn't recommended.
The Lexus RX Series outsold the Alfa Romeo Stelvio by almost seven to one during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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