The thought of an Alfa Romeo SUV several years ago would have been sacrilege, but today one has arrived with the unveiling of the Stelvio at the LA motor show.

Then again, we've used that word sacrilege about Porsche and Jaguar SUVs in recent years - and not only have the likes of the Porsche Cayenne, Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-Pace been great cars to drive, they've also provided the profitably the brands need to allow them to develop the stuff we can really get excited about. It's win-win.

Read: Nine new Alfas revealed by 2021

That's what Alfa will be hoping for with the Stelvio. It's passed the first test: it looks a million dollars. In the metal it's svelte and sleek, and, importantly, unmistakably an Alfa Romeo. The crowd around it is vast, and few have done anything but nod with approval. A beautiful Alfa Romeo design works just as well on a SUV, we now know.

As ever, though, the real test will come in how it drives, and there's early good news on that front, because it has been confirmed as a pure Alfa product developed in-house on bespoke underpinnings and unrelated to the rather average Maserati Levante as previously thought. Phew.

This should hopefully give the Stelvio the kind of dynamic traits that have made the Alfa Romeo Giulia saloon so likeable to drive, with the same team being behind both cars.

More than anything, the Stelvio not only gives Alfa the chance to survive but to thrive. Whatever you think of SUVs - and on first impressions there is little not to like about Alfa's first effort  - any enthusiast should be able to get excited by the prospect of a successful Alfa Romeo. Fingers crossed.