Feature article

Best Alfa Romeo Cars Available in NZ: Buying Guide

Italian car maker Alfa Romeo's history dates back to 1910, when Società Italiana Automobili Darraq shares were acquired.

Last updated: 18 June 2024

Famous Italian car maker Alfa Romeo has a long and storied history, dating right back to 1910. That’s when Cavalier Ugo Stella acquired the shares of Società Italiana Automobili Darraq, the Italian plant of a French car maker. The first factory was in the outskirts of Milan and the company was called “Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili” hence the acronym A.L.F.A. It was to become known as Alfa Romeo from 1920, when the last name of entrepreneur Nicola Romeo, who took control of the company in 1915, was added to the badge.

The car maker is now a subsidiary of Stellantis, though it’s still headquartered in Turin, Italy. It is positioned as a maker of premium automobiles, designed with flair and engineered to deliver a sporty drive. 

The brand has but a small line up. There’s just the compact Tonale SUV, the brand’s entry level model and its newest offering. Then there’s the Giulia sedan and the Stelvio SUV, both closely related and both offering a high performance Quadrifoglio version. 

Tonale - the small Alfa SUV

The Tonale is Alfa Romeo’s newest vehicle and its first foray into the compact SUV realm. It's also the most affordable Alfa, starting at $59,990, while the better-specified Veloce is $66,990. It’s a hybrid of the mild kind, using a 1.5-litre turbopetrol with a 48v hybrid system. It has a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which manages the 118kW and 240Nm of torque that is available at just 1500rpm. That means it turns out good pull down low for easy commuting. You can expect fuel consumption of around 7L/100km from this front driver.

Alfa Romeos tend to be sporty in nature and the Tonale has a controlling ride, making it a good car to drive.

It looks premium inside with alloy finishes and leather seating. While it has traditional Alfa styling, it is infused with modern items such as its 10-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB ports and a charge pad. It’s missing some of the usual active safety features, which you need to option via the $4000 Technology pack. This then adds a 360 degree camera, intelligent cruise control with traffic jam assist, blind spot monitoring and lane keeping. 

It is a compact SUV so interior space is adequate without being generous. Along with being a practical, well made and easy to drive SUV, it gets a five-year, 100,000km warranty with five years of roadside assist.

Read the Alfa Romeo Tonale review 

View Listings on Trade Me Motors: Alfa Romeo Tonale

Stelvio - the big Alfa SUV

For those wanting a mid-size premium SUV with a sense of style, Alfa’s Stelvio will do the job. The Veloce model is $99,990, and is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol turbo with 206kW and 400Nm of torque. It uses an eight-speed auto for added refinement and gains adaptive all-wheel drive. This gives the Stelvio engaging dynamics, as it is predominantly rear-wheel drive until extra traction is required, when it directs drive to the front wheels too. The 2.0-litre turbo urges this along well, and fuel consumption is okay too at around 9L/100km if you take it easy.   

Stelvio is getting on in age however, so not the newest SUV. There’s not oodles of space inside but there’s enough leg and headroom in the rear while the boot is a useful size too at 499L, if lacking in ultimate width. 

The cabin is trimmed in leather with aluminium accents to give it a luxury feel. That’s along with an 8.8-inch touchscreen with 3D navigation, CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charger and a backup camera. The usual active safety features come standard with intelligent cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and traffic sign recognition.

For those with a need for speed, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio is $169,990 and comes with a Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre V6 twin turbo churning out 380kW and 600Nm. With a torque vectoring sports rear diff (this shuffles torque between each wheel on the rear axle to improve cornering/reduce understeer), adaptive sports suspension and big brakes, this is a fast and entertaining SUV to drive. 

Read the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio review

View Listings on Trade Me Motors: Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Giulia - the four door Alfa

Sedans aren’t big sellers here in NZ, but are an elegant antidote to all those SUVs running around. Like Stelvio, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is available in Veloce and Quadrifoglio guise. The former uses the same 2.0-litre petrol turbo as well, with 206kW and 400Nm, though the eight-seed auto only directs this toward the rear wheels. It too is $99,990, and features a similar fit out as the Stelvio. 

It's a well proportioned sedan with good room in the back and a boot with 480L of space. At 4.6m long, it's not too big, and being lighter and more aerodynamic than the SUV, it’s more fuel efficient. And so you can expect it to return around 8L/100km.

Its shapely styling is appealing and sets it apart from the German competition. It’s also a driver’s car with good steering, body control and feedback. For extra excitement, there is the Quadrifoglio version. This uses the firm’s 2.9-litre V6 with 375kW and 600Nm, all going through the rear wheels. It is $159,990, but it’s time is coming to an end soon. 

Read the Alfa Romeo Giulia review

View Listings on Trade Me Motors: Alfa Romeo Giulia


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.