Alfa Romeo is on a roll! Following its integration into the Stellantis Group in January 2021, the Milanese manufacturer is in excellent health and plans to launch no fewer than 6 new models between now and 2027. The aim is to boost sales, particularly on the international market. The first vehicle in this ambitious product plan is the Tonale, a compact SUV available in Mild Hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains.
How does this new rival measure up against the competition? Does it meet the expectations of customers in this segment? To find out, we took the wheel of its entry-level model: the Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid 1.5 TCT with 130 hp.
A recognisable style for the Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid
When we think of Alfa Romeo, we immediately associate it with the brand’s glorious past in motor racing, but also with the models that have marked their time with their ageless designs. To design the lines of the Tonale, the Italian company has chosen to honour its heritage with a style that is both sporty and distinctive.
At the front, we find the triangle-shaped radiator grille that has been dear to the company since its inception, this time with a floating effect. Its full LED lens, arranged in a 3+3 configuration, feature Adaptive Driving Beam technology, which constantly adjusts the light beam according to the driver’s lighting requirements. At the same time, the system takes care not to dazzle oncoming traffic, making it ideal for night-time driving with complete peace of mind.
The profile is athletic, and this ‘Speciale’ version benefits from the famous ‘telephone’ style wheels echoing the 33 Stradale of the 1960s. With a length of 4.53 metres, it is up against rivals such as the Mercedes GLA, BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque. The rear end features a 3D effect lighting strip and a pointed rear window, reminiscent of the Brera coupé presented in 2005. The successful Tonale lettering, together with the curves and black lacquered bumper, give the car a dynamic, Latin identity. The Tonale is an SUV that will delight fans of sporty SUVs!
A technological interior for the Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid
Once inside the transalpine SUV, you immediately feel at ease. The styling is pleasing, in line with that of its big brother, the Stelvio. The build quality is right up there with the average for the category, with well-chosen and well-assembled materials.
The driving position is similar to the Giulia sedan. It features a multitude of settings to suit all body sizes. The sporty appearance of the exterior is confirmed by a steering wheel with a very thin rim. The start button on the left-hand side of the steering wheel adds a touch of originality. Attractive aluminium paddles complete the package, reminiscent of some Italian supercars. The speedometer cap is another reference to Alfa’s past. As for the multimedia, there are two screens inside the vehicle.
The first screen, facing the driver and measuring 12.3 inches, acts as the instrument display, bringing together all the information essential for the driver. It can be fully customised, with a range of graphics (with a special mention for the highly successful dial mode).
At the centre of the dashboard of the Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid stands a 10.25-inch touchscreen that serves as the infotainment system. It offers excellent resolution, responsiveness and ergonomics. The organisation of its various menus is clear and intuitive. Amazon Alexa voice control is also available. It is handy for getting information while driving, without taking your eyes off the road for a second. Finally, the light strip on the dashboard adds a touch of modernity and creates a unique interior ambience to accompany your night-time journeys.
A friendly SUV
Neat, sporty interior styling doesn’t mean you can’t look after your passengers. On the contrary, the Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid offers a very high level of passenger space, with good legroom and generous headroom. The seats are comfortable and offer excellent lateral support, ideal for fans of dynamic driving on winding roads. As for the transmission tunnel, it takes up very little space, allowing you to use the central space. For greater comfort, there’s a USB-C connection and a central air vent.
We like the large door bins, which provide plenty of storage space for everyday items. The Tonale Hybrid also puts everyone in agreement with its large boot volume of 500 litres. Its square shape makes it easy to use. The 60/40-split folding rear bench provides extra space and a virtually flat load surface.
An SUV that is both efficient and comfortable
Our test version is equipped with the entry-level engine. This is the 130 hp Mild Hybrid, combined with a 7-speed TCT automatic transmission. Because of its 1600kg, we’re talking more about versatility than high performance in this configuration. In fact, that’s not what you expect when you buy a vehicle of this power.
For those who want a fun-to-drive SUV with enough power for everyday journeys, this engine is perfect! What’s more, it’s extremely quiet, and the engine is discreet under acceleration.
The steering is precise and light in the city, becoming firmer as the pace quickens. The Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid is based on the Jeep Compass platform. However, this has been completely redesigned by the engineers to meet the brand’s requirements. The result is a pleasant and comfortable. Its big brother, the Stelvio, remains a notch above it in terms of driving precision.
The DNA selector comes as standard (Dynamic, Normal, All weather) and offers a range of driving modes, from the most comfortable to the most dynamic. The automatic gearbox favours smooth rather than sporty driving. As for fuel consumption, it averages 7.5 litres per 100 km in combined use, which is a reasonable figure in its category.
Review of the Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid test drive
With its Tonale, Alfa Romeo is making a strong entry into the premium compact SUV segment. Well-designed, comfortable and fun to drive, it offers very interesting features for families looking for a stylish family SUV. Its 130 hp Mildhybrid engine is more than sufficient for everyday use. Given its low power output, it offers good performance and reasonable fuel consumption. Prices are well placed, starting at €36,400, with a fairly comprehensive range of equipment. Finally, this vehicle will enable the Milanese brand to develop its sales while awaiting the arrival of a city SUV, which will be unveiled to the world’s press in early 2024.
Length: 4528 mm
Width: 1841 mm
Height: 1601 mm
Wheelbase: 2636 mm
Ground clearance: 175 mm
Weight: 1600 kg
Boot space – minimum: 500 l
Boot space – maximum (with seat folded down): 1550 l
Turning circle: 11,57 m
Max torque: 240 Nm
Power: 130 hp
Acceleration 0 – 100 km/h: 9,6 sec
Engine capacity: 1469 cc
Maximum speed: 200 km/h
CO2 emissions: 139g / km
Warranty: 5 years / 200 000 km
Many thanks to the Fiat / Alfa Romeo Perpignan-Tressol Chabrier dealership for the loan of this vehicle!
303 Chemin de la Fauceille / 66000 Perpignan – FRANCE