While sports car manufacturers like Alfa Romeo and Porsche have long been associated with their sleek, sporty coupes and sedans, their SUVs have seen a massive surge in popularity. There is a lot to consider when shopping for a luxury sport SUV, so we're comparing two of the most attractive choices in the market head to head: the Alfa Romeo Stelvio vs Porsche Macan. While the two vehicles share some design cues and have a similar form factor, there is a lot to differentiate these two sporty SUVs. Let's take a look, and find out who comes out on top.

Design of the Stelvio vs Macan

One thing is for sure: Both of these luxury sport SUVs will turn heads wherever you take them. The Macan shares Porsche's iconic design language with its smaller vehicles, while the Italian flare and refinement of the Stelvio is undoubtedly luxury and something truly different.

But design decisions come down to a lot more than looks, affecting comfort and usability of the interior, performance, and more. And that's where the Stelvio and Macan start to separate themselves.

Both the Stelvio and Macan offer premium, sleek likes on the exterior, but the steep drop of the roof on the Macan significantly limits both rear passenger space and cargo room. The trunk of the Stelvio offers quite a bit more storage, and rear passengers will be much more comfortable. While performance-driven SUVs like the Macan and Stelvio won't offer expansive backseats like more mainstream family SUVs, Alfa Romeo has done a much better job of making the backseat usable and providing more of the benefits traditionally associated with SUVs and crossovers.

Alfa Romeo's attention to fusing practicality, performance, and true luxury is evident in its overall interior design as well. Stepping into the Stelvio, you'll be greeted by flowing lines, and a very clean appearance on the dash and center stack. The design is not minimalist by any means, but speaks to Alfa Romeo's Italian styling. Meanwhile, Porsche has delegated its functions to a plethora of buttons, which extend from the dash all the way down the center console. While this does look "cool", it can be frustrating trying to navigate so many buttons spread out along the side of the shift knob. It also clutters up the interior space, and forces drivers to look down to the center console to find many of the essential functions of their vehicle. Most drivers find the easy-to-use rotary knobs of the Stelvio more practical and attractive.

Features & Performance

Both Alfa Romeo and Porsche are known for performance and luxury, but they've taken different approaches when it comes to powering their respective luxury sport SUVs. There are also significant differences in pricing and feature sets that we'll examine below.

Starting with the base trims of the Stelvio and Macan, some significant differences emerge. While both the Macan and Stelvio start off with a 2.0l turbocharged engine, the Alfa Romeo makes an impressive 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile, the Macan's engine is limited to 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Other desirable features like full leather upholstery and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay are standard on the base Stelvio, while they're add-on options to the Macan.

The base trims are also the start of a common theme in the comparison of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio vs Porsche Macan: The Stelvio simply offers better value for the money. While the base Stelvio is clearly better-equipped than the Macan, its starting price is almost 25% lower. That continues throughout the range, as getting the most out of the Macan requires significant increases in price as you add on options and move up in trim levels.

And when looking at peak performance, the Stelvio again comes out ahead with its exclusive Quadrifoglio trim level. Its turbocharged 2.9l V6 makes a whopping 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. These are best-in-class numbers, and bring other important features. Meanwhile, the Porsche Macan's top engine is a turbocharged 3.0l V6 at 348 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. And like the base Macan, the V6-equipped model requires the purchase of additional options packages to get the same features that come as standard with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Stelvio vs Macan: Conclusion

When it comes to performance and features for the money, the Alfa Romeo is the clear winner over the Porsche Macan. The fact that it also wins head-to-head in peak performance, and offers a more practical backseat and storage are helps seal the deal. For most buyers shopping for a luxury sport SUV, whether in its base trim or at the top of the range, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio will be the better option.

While there's no doubt the Macan is an impressive vehicle that offers some great features, its price quickly rises to astronomical levels, and it never matches the performance of the cheaper Stelvio. It's no surprise then that Alfa Romeo is quickly growing its following in the United States, and becoming the preferred luxury brand of those who compare test drives and pricing. Check out the Alfa Romeo Stelvio below, and come in for a test drive to experience Italian luxury for yourself.