2020 Volvo XC40 vs. 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 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 XC40’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Stelvio doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the XC40 and Stelvio have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC40 offers optional power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Stelvio’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The XC40 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Stelvio doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC40 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Stelvio doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The XC40 offers an optional CTA Auto Brake that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Stelvio doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The XC40 offers an optional 360-Degree Surround View Camera 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 XC40’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Stelvio doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The XC40 has standard Volvo On Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, 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 XC40 and the Stelvio have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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 blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC40 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Stelvio has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The XC40’s corrosion warranty is 8 years longer than the Stelvio’s (12 vs. 4 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC40 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Alfa Romeo only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Stelvio.

There are over 72 percent more Volvo dealers than there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the XC40’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volvo vehicles are better in initial quality than Alfa Romeo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volvo 28th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Alfa Romeo is ranked 29th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC40 gets better fuel mileage than the Stelvio:

MPG

XC40

FWD

T4 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

AWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Stelvio

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

The XC40 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Stelvio doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo XC40 higher (5 out of 10) than the Alfa Romeo Stelvio (3). This means the XC40 produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Stelvio every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC40’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Stelvio:

XC40

Stelvio

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

The XC40 stops shorter than the Stelvio:

XC40

Stelvio

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

176 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The XC40’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Stelvio’s standard 60 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The XC40 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC40’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Stelvio doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The XC40 T5 R-Design AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Stelvio AWD pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the XC40’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the Stelvio’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.5 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC40 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Stelvio (8.3 vs. 8.1 inches), allowing the XC40 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The XC40 is 10.4 inches shorter than the Stelvio, making the XC40 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The XC40 has 4.3 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more rear headroom, 4.2 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Stelvio.

Cargo Capacity

The XC40 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Stelvio with its rear seat up (20.7 vs. 18.5 cubic feet). The XC40 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Stelvio with its rear seat folded (57.5 vs. 56.5 cubic feet).

The XC40’s cargo area is larger than the Stelvio’s in almost every dimension:

XC40

Stelvio

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

34.9”/65.7”

39.4”/72.5”

Max Width

47.8”

46.5”

Min Width

39.5”

36.7”

Height

29.4”

28”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the XC40’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Stelvio doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

The XC40’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Stelvio’s (3500 vs. 3000 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is only 3000 pounds. The XC40 offers up to a 4630 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the XC40 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Stelvio can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

When the XC40 with available tilt-down mirrors 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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Volvo XC40 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Stelvio doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The XC40’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Stelvio doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

The Volvo XC40 outsold the Alfa Romeo Stelvio by 384 units during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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