The Alfa Romeo Tonale has been a long-awaited and quite frankly overdue response to the rapid growth in the CUV segment. Alfa Romeo has long been limited to two models (the Giulia and the Stelvio) with the combined sales total of the two models in the U.S. lagging behind some of its luxury rivals. The Tonale aims to change all that and not only allows the Italian performance brand to offer a smaller utility offering, but also embraces the growing trend towards electrification too.
Tonale Packs Performance In Smaller Package
The Tonale share some of its underpinnings with the Jeep Compass, but unlike the trail-focused Jeep, the Tonale will go off on its own agenda and woo buyers with impressive amounts of performance. That will come from two engines with a 256 hp 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder being the base engine which places it squarely in the same crosshairs as other luxury CUVs that also follow the same base engine procedure. Buyers looking for more green in their step will be pleased with the optional plug-in version which is good for 272 hp and mates a smaller 1.3-liter four-cylinder with a 90 kW electric motor and a 15.5 kWh battery pack.
A six-speed automatic is the lone transmission here and while Alfa will be offering smaller engines in Europe, look for the brand to stick with their larger engines here in the U.S. to maximize sales demand here in this country. Alfa reps didn’t release formal performance figures for the ICe version but did confirm that the electrified PHEV model can make the sprint to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds. The Tonale will have standard all-wheel-drive across the board with the PHEV getting it due to the placement of the electric motor.
Style Inside And Out
When the Tonale is not amazing the world with its performance, the Tonale is also flaunting an enviable suit of clothes. LED lighting is standard equipment, and the trademark Alfa Romeo grille is a prominent design cue especially when bathed in black if it’s placed on a Veloce model. Speaking of the Veloce model, it also gets blacked-out alloy wheels for a sportier edge which should please weekend warrior buyers.
The interior also gets turned up a notch in the Veloce with Alfa throwing in a standard 10.25-inch infotainment screen with Uconnect 5 software. That screen is bigger than the Stelvios which is only a mere 8.8 inches. The screen is paired with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with Alfa cleverly styling it to look like the tunneled analog gauges that were a hallmark design feature of vintage Alfa models.
The Tonale has the ability to receive Over The Air Updates (OTA) and is even capable of supporting both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. The CUV is clearly targeted towards the sportier side of the market with potential rivals including the BMW X1, Audi Q3, and the Lexus NX. Buyers looking for a luxury experience that greater embodies the traditional aspect of things will have to move towards Maserati and their unique flavor of luxury.
When Can I Buy One?
While the Tonale is being promoted as a future sales savior for Alfa Romeo, the Italian brand is not in a hurry to release it, with reps claiming that the first Tonales will not arrive here in the U.S. until winter of 2023. That’s a move we’re still perplexed about since that means that the Giulia and the Stelvio will be asked to tread water for another year, and Alfa will lose yet more ground to rivals in the interim especially when some of them are updated or refreshed.
However, when the Tonale does eventually arrive here, look for it to still make an impact and to perhaps draw in a wider dragnet of buyers to Alfa Romeo showrooms.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.