With ‘Veloce’ meaning quick or fast in Italian, the Stelvio Veloce’s name is a clear statement of intent.

This high-end SUV from Alfa Romeo certainly lives up to its sporty billing, offering the kind of dynamic performance characteristics you’d more commonly associate with a saloon.

With entertaining handling, lively acceleration and agility that belies its size, it’s more tailored towards keen drivers than many of its rivals in the crossover market – in line with Alfa’s goal of creating a car to ‘rebel against the mundane.’

Alluring looks, some updated tech, and an interior that blends style and functionality are all part of the appeal.

Under the bonnet of my test car, a 2.0-litre 280hp petrol engine provided plenty of power, with the turbocharged four-cylinder unit taking the car from a standing start to 62mph in 5.7 seconds.

With permanent four-wheel-drive being standard issue, the Stelvio feels sure-footed in a variety of situations.

The steering is razor sharp and the body control is nicely balanced - all backed up by a substantial 400Nm of torque at 2250rpm.

Under heavy acceleration, the urgent engine note of the Veloce will also bring a smile to the face.

However, when cruising, that noise dies away to a very subtle level, meaning you can also relax in this vehicle as it rolls along in a well-mannered fashion.

The car came with 20-inch V-spoke alloy wheels, which meant ride quality was on the firm side, especially around town.

However, those sizeable wheels translate into great road-holding abilities when you get out onto the B-roads, helping the car feel nicely-planted when cornering.

The eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox is about as responsive as you could reasonably expect, while the car's superb damping further enhances the driving experience.

In terms of looks, it’s a vehicle that has instant appeal.

The front end features the iconic Alfa Romeo trilobe grille, with the headlights and bonnet creases fanning out from that central feature.

Those large alloys, complete with coloured brake callipers, really look the part, while the vivid ‘Misano Blue’ paintwork ensured the car catches the eye.

Inside, the cabin represents a gentle improvement on previous models, bringing it much closer to the quality of some of the car’s German rivals.

The layout of the cockpit is now better than before, with the main controls more easily to hand.

A higher quality of materials can be found throughout the interior, with black sports leather to the fore on this model.

The new infotainment system is a real improvement, having been completely redesigned.

It was equipped with an 8.8-inch multi-touch display, which has sharper graphic than before and was both intuitive and easy to use.

Meanwhile, a seven-inch colour instrument panel offers an overview of vehicle settings and active safety systems.

The leather sports steering wheel features aluminium gear shift paddles and includes and number of buttons that allow you to control several functions without taking your hands off the wheel .

There’s also a new storage space on the central console for charging smartphones.

The sports seats are comfortable and supportive, holding you firmly in place in the corners.

Priced around the £50,000 mark, the Stelvio Veloce doesn't come cheap - but you get a lot for your money.

An entertaining driving experience and good looks are synonymous with Alfa Romeo – and this model certainly follows that fine tradition.

However, it's the improvements in other areas – notably the more refined cabin and the increasingly sophisticated technology – that broaden the car's appeal and take it into the coveted territory of 'great all-rounder.'

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce

ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbo petrol 280hp

PRICE: £49,755

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic, permanent four-wheel-drive

PERFORMANCE: 5.7 143mph

PEAK TORQUE: 400Nm at 2250hp

ECONOMY: 30.4mpg and 211g/km