Addition by subtraction.

Alfa Romeo’s first SUV – the Stelvio debuted only with all-wheel drive. Regardless what trim you picked, the powertrain propelled all four wheels. As the Stelvio SUV heads into its second model year of production, the Italian company is making one, distant change. According to Car and Driver, Alfa will offer the Stelvio with rear-wheel-drive.

The addition of rear-wheel drive will not only help the SUV save some weight but lower the price as well. Driving just the rear wheels shaves 100 pounds off the SUV’s curb weight and knocks $2,000 off the 2019 Stelvio price tag. That sounds like a win-win. A Q2 badge should denote the Stelvio’s rear-wheel-drive attributes with the Q4 badge remaining on the all-wheel-drive models. 

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The decrease in weight, however, doesn’t mean an increase in power. The Stelvio’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine heads into the 2019 model year unchanged. It will continue to make 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque. The eight-speed automatic transmission continues as well. 

Those who opt for the RWD Stelvio get the choice of a $1,800 Sport Package, which includes aluminum pedals, colored brake calipers, 19-inch wheels, and a few other goodies. There’s also an available 8.8-inch infotainment display, a Cold Weather Package, and driver-assist technologies. 

If you’re wanting a well-appointed and optioned Stelvio, you will have to abandon the RWD for AWD. Jumping up to the Ti variants will force customers to accept AWD as a standard feature. 

The addition of the cheaper, RWD Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a welcomed expansion of the lineup. A lower point of entry is almost always lovely, and the RWD driving dynamics will please some enthusiasts. It would be nice to see RWD proliferate across the entire Stelvio lineup – we’re looking at you Quadrifoglio – but that’s doubtful. At least for now. 

Source: Car and Driver

Gallery: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio: First Drive

Photo by: Jake Holmes
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