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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. Just test drove a Ti Sport and really liked the power and handling. I was really disappointed, however, in the upgraded stereo and the lack of Apple Play (until later). Apple Play is not a huge deal to me but the HK stereo was complete trash. I've had HK upgrades in BMW (excellent subwoofer), Subaru ( no subwoofer but okay sound) and then this sounded like something -- I don't know how to describe it -- it's like they didn't even try to deliver a good product. Anyhow, I'm not trying to nitpick, but it really gives me pause that they're delivering a premium upgrade that should have never made it out of QA. Other than that it's an awesome automobile, but it makes me hesitant to think there are other unacceptable cheap-outs we'll find along the way. Talk me off the ledge!
 

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I don't think anyone is going to talk you in or out of a Stelvio on this forum. It's really a decision only you can make based on where you prioritize new car features and attributes.

IMO, our best course of action on the forum is to discuss everything, good and bad, openly so prospective buyers as yourself go into it with eyes wide open.

My 2016 Mazda CX-9 has a great HUD and a killer stereo and I do miss both of them. However, on its best days when it decides it would like to start and isn't at the dealer for issues, I'm still driving a Mazda. And try as they might with their "Zoom-Zoom" advertising it leans in a corner like it's sailing in the world cup.
I'll take the exceptional drive and looks of the Stelvio every time if it means I have to settle with less than stellar stereo.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

The HK upgrade isn’t awesome. It seems less bad in my 2018 and I do in fact have CarPlay/AA. What I’m finding is that the system works fine and has negligible lag compared to the 2012 Kia Optima I sold for this car. The Alfa is much more fun and I always look back at it when walking away. The Kia had similar radio with a little better sub. The sub is 99% of the problem in the Alfa.

If you want a driving experience, the Alfa is probably equivalent to a Macan GTS or even Macan Turbo for nearly $20k less. If you want a highway cruiser and never plan to go canyon carving the new X3 is more competent than ever before and the Mercedes GLC is fantastic if a trifle boat like. Alfa is not a make you buy based on a pros and cons list on a yellow legal pad, you buy an Alfa because you want an Alfa.
 

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I think you should get the Stelvio and take singing lessons !

:big-grin
 
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To me, just my opinion. The Stelvio is one of the best looking SUV's out there. It is a phenomial fun machine to drive. I have had many vehicles and this one I love every time I see it and it craves me to want to take it out for a drive.

Yes the stereo sucks, the Apple car play is a option available now so you can get that. Find a high end aftermarket audio shop and they can find some options for you. I have done many car audio systems and my initial take is the amp is one to change out and see if something can be done with the sub. Stereo's can be tweaked to get some decent sound.

Look on the road and you will see every other make and model out there but when you see a Alfa your head will turn.

I LOVE my Stelvio even with the kinda crappy stereo.
 

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Stereo is a weak link but a sub upgrade will be easy., but remember its only a $900 upgrade on a 50K car, not a $2000 upgrade on a 75K+ car. I had premium sound on my 2011x5d and while it could play at ludicrous loudness, it was never an enjoyable system to me as it was harsh. Meridian Audio in my RRS is best I've ever heard....I also pd double for it v the HK system. People don't tend to believe me but the cones do loosen up a bit and with ~+5/-2/+1 settings it isn't half bad. Source has a HUGE affect and once I can play my Ipod I can make a better judgement. Currently my sound is pretty lousy when using Google Play thru blutooth because of all the compression.
 

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Your gut will tell you! Go back to the dealer and just gaze upon the Stelvios. After having had your test drive, you will either be attracted to them or hesitant.

At this point, Stelvio's are not for those who worry about what is around the corner. They are for those you seize the moment- and know they will thrive no matter what life throws at them.

Good luck on your shopping journey- and enjoy yourself!!
 

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Speaking for myself (our family) the whole experience has been a blast-- we are totally satisfied at this point. When we had a small issue at first it was dealt with immediately and professionally with full engagement from Alfa Romeo Support. All of the best things in life involve some risk:return trade-off but you can see all of it here on this forum unvarnished in Living Technicolor and the truth is there are quite a few extremely PASSIONATE Stelvio owners right here. One thing: There is no force like a righteously offended consumer so the motivation to complain and nit pick is always the driver in disproportion to reality in any consumer situation. Good luck and if you decide to pull the trigger all of us here will be rooting for you! BTW and just to add- a large part of satisfaction is due to the dealer relationship so pick your dealer carefully. Ours, Fiat and Alfa Romeo has been superior in every way. Good luck.
 
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I don't think the standard stereo sounds that bad at all, but it's without doubt a great car to drive, and for all its idiosyncrasies (it has a few) that is the overriding thing about the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Welcome to the forum.

The HK upgrade isn’t awesome. It seems less bad in my 2018 and I do in fact have CarPlay/AA. What I’m finding is that the system works fine and has negligible lag compared to the 2012 Kia Optima I sold for this car. The Alfa is much more fun and I always look back at it when walking away. The Kia had similar radio with a little better sub. The sub is 99% of the problem in the Alfa.

If you want a driving experience, the Alfa is probably equivalent to a Macan GTS or even Macan Turbo for nearly $20k less. If you want a highway cruiser and never plan to go canyon carving the new X3 is more competent than ever before and the Mercedes GLC is fantastic if a trifle boat like. Alfa is not a make you buy based on a pros and cons list on a yellow legal pad, you buy an Alfa because you want an Alfa.

Thanks for the color. We went and test drove the NX F-Sport, and while it has some decent kick and the interior is a bit more luxurious, I'm leaning toward the Stelvio. The standard stereo is a level better than the HK upgrade, and it does a decent job in Sport+ mode, but the front grill is hideous, the infotainment screen isn't user friendly, and it doesn't have the rear wheel bias -- which so far makes the difference. There's a bit more roll in the turns than I experienced in the Selvio, and the wheel tightens up just a bit too much in Sport and Sport+ mode.

We tested the X3, and it was easily the first we crossed off the list. Sluggish and very average handling. Not nearly as attractive as the Stelvio.

We tested the Q5, and while I really think it's the best *overall*, all things being equal, the driving *experience* doesn't measure up to the Stelvio.

Long story short, we're going to take another spin in the Stelvio. It really feels like Alfa is hitting shots from half-court and missing some layups. Therein my concern/frustration.


Q: How do you like the Apple CarPlay? Do you find it useful, or is it just a shiny object that you could do without?
 

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CarPlay is something I use when I want to listen to music off my phone. Its utility would be much greater if I used Apple Maps for navigation rather than Waze. As it stands I have a ProClip mount where my phone lives with Waze running pretty much constantly and the phone charging from the 12V so I don’t need to back out of CarPlay to my preferred Sat radio channel.

Having played with CarPlay in an X3 I find it actually less distracting with the clicky iDrive thing in my Stelvio than on a touch screen like the BMW. For managing media and making calls it’s fantastic. But I can only give CarPlay a 6/10 because Apple is too arrogant to allow better nav software on the platform.

I can say with certainty that running Waze how I do plays merry **** with Bluetooth and CarPlay. Apple fixing this issue would make me 100% happier with the state of my car’s Infotainment.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So that I understand completely -- are you saying you can't even play music off your iPhone without Carplay? Or does connection to one of the UBS ports accomplish that? And if so, can you control from the steering wheel?
 

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As long as you aren’t using an app like Waze which overrides to the phone speaker Bluetooth works like any other car (actually better than most). You can stream audio over BT fine without CarPlay, CarPlay just makes it easier to select media.

My usage pattern is a unique one because I don’t listen to music off my phone 90% of the time so I have my navigation route to the phone speaker instead of the car speakers. I can make and receive calls fine, I just have to hit the home button to force my phone to hand off to the car when I want to listen to music off my phone and then reopen my nav.
 

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No worries. I totally understand your confusion because I wasn’t super clear.

For what it’s worth the Stelvio according to my wife and Luddite parents actually has really clear BT phone audio with minimal compression. The software update I have at version .56 apparently really cleans it up.

As another CarPlay note you’ll need to use an authentic Apple cable. Certified cables don’t work for some reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Pulled the trigger. Got a 2-year lease on the Ti Sport in Rosso Competizione Tri-Coat / Aluminum trim. No CarPlay but I'll survive.

First impressions. WOW. It's a slick drive. HK speakers are just ok. My ears will adapt, but they'll never match the HK Logic7 in my 2009 BMW.


Thanks for the responses to my questions.
 

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Congratulations. Here’s hoping you fall in love with the brand!
 
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