Update: ‘Production & Release Date’ section updated and ‘TopElectricSUV says’ section added.
After prolonged delays, the much-awaited Alfa Romeo Tonale is finally here, and it’s the brand’s first model available with electrification. The U.S. launch of the new Alfa Romeo is a go. Here’s everything we know about the Alfa Romeo Tonale, and the Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is a compact SUV, and it debuted as a concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. The concept car was a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and so will be the production version. As Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato had said, the luxury C-SUV offers the distinctive Alfa Romeo Italian style.
At the front, the Tonale flaunts the iconic “Trilobo” grille, the distinctive Alfa Romeo “Scudetto” shield, and aggressive full-LED matrix headlights in a “3+3” design. The Tonale sports pronounced wheel arches, fender flares, a sleek greenhouse, and strong shoulders on the sides. Additionally, the Tonale features low-profile tires with signature Alfa Romeo rims. At the rear, the taillights repeat the design cues of the sleek headlights, and in addition, they form a sine curve covering almost the vehicle’s width. Alfa Romeo says that the all-encompassing rear window is a tribute to the 8C Competizione.
Alfa Romeo has announced the plug-in hybrid variant of the Tonale but has not revealed it. On August 28, 2022, professional spy photographer Walter Vayr (Gabetz Spy Unit) published pictures (see on Facebook) of a prototype with an Italian registration plate undergoing testing on public roads. The spy pictures indicated that the only difference on its exterior from the regular Tonale will be the presence of a charging hatch on the rear left wing. The company is likely yet to complete the development of the Tonale PHEV.
The interior of the Tonale is conventional and sporty and doesn’t go overboard on minimalism, just the way traditional performance enthusiasts prefer. The dashboard finds a nice middle-ground between chunky and sleek, and it features a sporty design pattern integrated into its smooth passenger-side section. The compact steering wheel features a flattened bottom section, and two large paddle shifters are behind it.
The highlights of the in-cabin technology are a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, both Android-powered and part of Uconnect 5. The infotainment system has 4G connectivity, OTA updates, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wireless Android Auto.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale rides on the same platform as the Jeep Compass and the new global Jeep Commander, what Stellantis calls the “small-wide 4×4 architecture.” It measures 178.3 in. in length, which means it is longer than the Compass (173.4 in.), and its width and height are 72.4 in. and 63.0 in., respectively.
Alfa Romeo will introduce the Tonale in the U.S. in gasoline and plug-in hybrid variants. The non-electrified variant employs a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produces 256 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission and an AWD system transfer drive to the wheels.
Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV specifications
The Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV borrows the Compass 4xe’s plug-in hybrid electric powertrain, where a 1.3-liter MultiAir turbocharged gasoline engine allies with an electric motor powering the rear axle. The gas-powered engine, linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission, produces 180 hp and propels the front wheels. The electric motor driving the rear wheels generates 90 kW (121 hp) using energy stored in a bigger (compared to the Compass 4xe’s 11.4 kWh) 15.5 kWh battery pack. Effectively, the Tonale PHEV becomes an e-AWD model.
A DNA switch allows controlling the electrified power delivered to the wheels. In Dynamic mode, the engine and electric motor deliver maximum performance. Then comes the Natural mode for normal or relaxed driving. Lastly, an Advanced efficiency mode enables pure electric operation, in which it’s possible to drive the Tonale PHEV for more than 30 miles silently. However, this is not an EPA-estimated figure. A 0-60 mph sprint in the Tonale PHEV takes six seconds flat.
Trims & Features
The Alfa Romeo Tonale will be available in the U.S. in a base ‘Super’ trim, a luxury-focused ‘Ti’ trim, and a sporty ‘Veloce’ trim. Details of the features included in these trims should emerge closer to launch. Alfa Romeo has confirmed the following features as part of the standard equipment:
- 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster
- 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto
- Wireless smartphone charger
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
- Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR)
- Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA)
- Blind spot and Rear Cross Path detection
- Forward Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection
- Driver Attention Assist and rear seat reminder
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW) with Lane Keep Assist (LKA)
Alfa Romeo has also confirmed that it will offer Level 2 autonomous driving with Traffic Jam Assist (TJA) in the U.S.-spec Tonale. TJA automatically adjusts speed and trajectory to keep the vehicle centered in the lane and at a safe distance from the car in the front.
Production & Release Date
Production of the Alfa Romeo Tonale will take place at the G.B. Vico plant in Pomigliano d’Arco (Naples), Italy. Alfa Romeo is likely to reveal the Tonale’s plug-in hybrid variant later this month.
Alfa Romeo has launched the Tonale in the home market of Italy. The exclusive launch version, called Edizione Speciale (Special Edition), retails at EUR 39,000 (USD 38,962). The Tonale Special Edition has a 130 CV (128 hp) 1.5L mild-hybrid powertrain, but the 160 CV (158 hp) version will become available in due course. Customers who would like to purchase the latter can pre-register their interest.
Alfa Romeo has confirmed that it will begin selling the Tonale in the United States in early 2023. Larry Dominique, Senior Vice President and Head of Alfa Romeo and Fiat North America, told Andre of TLFNow that both the gasoline and gasoline hybrid (PHEV) are destined for the U.S. market. The latter, with its impressive specs, is also considered by the company as the performance version of the Tonale.
So from a pricing point of view (for the U.S.), we’re still finalizing the pricing, we’ll announce that over the next couple of months. From the availability point of view, we’re going to launch this vehicle in production in Q4 2022, and the first vehicles will be arriving end of the year and we’ll start selling them in Q1 of 2023.Larry Dominique, Senior Vice President and Head of Alfa Romeo and Fiat North America, talking to TFLNow at the New York International Auto Show in April 2022
Imparato suggested that Alfa Romeo isn’t expecting the Tonale to sell in big numbers. He said that 1% of Europe’s compact SUV market would be 25,000 units, and the company would be happy if it’s able to deliver 30,000 units between its (market) debut in June and December 2022. The Tonale could contribute 70,000-80,000 units to Alfa Romeo’s global sales in a full year, with 45,000-60,000 units coming from Europe and 10,000-15,000 units from the U.S. market.
Alfa Romeo would start making a profit on the Tonale once it reaches 30,000 sales. The company doesn’t aggressively have to push the SUV to keep its factory afloat because the capacity is filled up by the production of the Fiat Panda.
On the Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio
Alfa Romeo cars with the four-leaf clover badge are instantly associated with a significant performance advantage compared to the regular models. Larry Dominique told Motor Trend on May 10, 2022, that Quadrifoglio versions would continue to be produced even in the electrification era. Dominique noted that a performance upgrade for the Tonale is not currently in the works, but Motor Trend learned that it could be a possibility down the road.
Imparato has also suggested that a Tonale Quadrifoglio is not on the roadmap. The brand boss told Auto Express that “Quadrifoglio is not the vocation of Tonale” currently. However, if the customer response (for the standard variant) is good and there are expectations (for a high-performance variant) then Alfa Romeo “will work on other possible development,” the CEO added. If many customers request “something special,” then the company may launch the Tonale Quadrifoglio, the CEO indicated.
Internationally, the Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV will compete with the Mercedes GLA 250 e, the Audi Q3 45 TFSI e/Audi Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI e, and the BMW X1 xDrive25e.
Alfa Romeo reportedly unhappy about the Dodge Hornet
In a large company like Stellantis, it might seem like one brand is having to shoulder the responsibility of restoring another brand’s portfolio balance. This can cause difficulties if the latter brand feels that such decisions go against its values of exclusivity. The matter can get only worse if the marque doesn’t have the strength to influence alliance-level decisions because of poor performance or insignificant contribution. That was quite the situation for Alfa Romeo when Stellantis asked it to supply the Tonale to Dodge.
A Stellantis source has told The Drive that the Tonale was originally an Alfa Romeo-only project. Internal politics and Dodge’s desire to improve its average fuel economy figures compelled Alfa Romeo to share the model. The Italian brand wasn’t happy about it but had to deliver the requested compliance car. The budget simply wasn’t there to make extensive design changes, which meant that it could only ensure a basic level of exclusivity on the design front. As a result, the Hornet has ended up looking way too close to the Tonale.
Alfa Romeo has been trying to win over North American customers for years now, but has yet to find success. The Giulia and Stelvio were both attempts at breaking into the mid-size market, but neither was successful. It was hoping that the compact Tonale will finally be its winner across the Atlantic. But now, with a similar model from Dodge also available, it can’t claim the exclusivity it originally intended to. Many Dodge fans aren’t happy either, feeling the American brand didn’t differentiate the Hornet enough and make it look like a proper Dodge, as per a report from Motor1.com.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV will be a compact SUV with a sporty but eco-friendly powertrain and sophisticated European styling. Although it won’t stand out as much as the Giulia or Stelvio, it could be a step above most rivals with a premium interior consisting of high-quality materials, classy in looks and feel.
Alfa Romeo Tonale FAQs
What is the Alfa Romeo Tonale release date?
The Alfa Romeo Tonale will be delivered to customers in the U.S. from Q1 2023.
What is the expected Alfa Romeo Tonale price?
The Tonale’s prices could start at around USD 35,000, with the PHEV priced well above USD 40,000.
What are the chief competitors of Tonale?
Audi Q3 Sportback, Mercedes GLA, and the BMW X1 are some alternatives.
Featured Image Source: Stellantis