The Alfa Romeo Tonale makes a very good first impression. It earns main avenue cred for its styling, which oozes italianità, and its cabin is a tasty mixture of old-school analog dials and intelligent Uconnect 5 digital tech. However while you push the starter button to summon the puny 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine, slide the gear lever into drive, and hit the throttle, sober actuality units in. Followers hoping for a junior model of the vivacious, sharp-driving Stelvio shall be disillusioned. The Tonale is constructed for a unique mission.
Alfa’s compact crossover is carved from the identical elements set because the Dodge Hornet and the Jeep Compass. Welcome to the world of Stellantis, the place obligatory synergies and obligatory differentiation are battling it out 24/7.
Not like its siblings, the Alfa in our market is obtainable solely as a plug-in hybrid. The powertrain combines a small 188-hp turbocharged 1.3-liter engine and a 121-hp electrical motor for a complete output of 285 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque. The This fall suffix confirms that the Tonale is all-wheel drive, however there isn’t a bodily connection between the engine and the motor powering the rear axle. Though Alfa claims a commendably brisk 60-mph time of 5.6 seconds, there’s not sufficient high-end grunt, and the unexciting high velocity of 125 mph takes without end to materialize. The sotto voce liftoff exhaust notice in Dynamic mode raises goose pimples, however then the noise at excessive revs kills the acoustic pleasure.
The 14.8-kWh battery permits feather-footed drivers to cowl a claimed 30-plus miles at speeds of as much as 84 mph. (Official EPA vary numbers will not be but accessible.) Chorus from unleashing your internal hooligan and Alfa Romeo guarantees a complete driving vary of as much as 320 miles.
More often than not, the Tonale is a front-driver, however kick-down routinely engages the rear motor, as can the traction and stability management. To the credit score of the system, the transition between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive ranges from just about imperceptible to mildly entertaining in Dynamic mode with dynamic stability management deactivated, when a refined front-to-rear torque switch briefly enlightens the oh-so-fail-safe dealing with.
Distinctive to Alfa is the DNA mode selector. D indicators Dynamic (a.okay.a. pure arrabbiata), N stands for Pure (a.okay.a. not notably involving), and A denotes Superior Effectivity (a.okay.a. electrical however solely whereas the battery lasts). Why is there no Particular person setting to allow you to compile your favourite mixture of throttle response, shift motion, damper management, and steering really feel?
We went apex chasing by way of the foothills of Monte Mottac, gave it stick on the frivolously trafficked A26 autostrada heading for Genoa, and fought our approach clench fisted by way of Milan’s rush-hour maze. The Tonale feels tight and effectively made, it has robust Brembo brakes which are a pleasure to modulate, and the experience is sufficiently compliant on all however probably the most uncared for surfaces. The cabin accommodates 4 in consolation, however the cargo maintain is compromised by the cumbersome electrical drivetrain elements. We give full marks for the infotainment interface, which is simple to make use of, comes with an accessible passenger’s display, and options wi-fi Android Auto and Apple CarPlay together with Fireplace TV to accommodate video streaming wants. The ten.3-inch touchscreen is supported by a row of direct-access buttons plus extra on the steering wheel.
Downsides? Yep, there are just a few of these, too. The steering is reasonably imprecise, mild, and woolly. There’s an excessive amount of play across the straight-ahead place, and the motion does not get any keener as you wind on extra lock. The Tonale is actually not under-tired, but it surely feels oddly over-damped and under-sprung on bumpy terrain the place recurrent floating, heaving, rolling, and pitching motions disturb the uninspiring dealing with. Then again, understeer is fairly effectively managed even when going nine-tenths, the chassis feels effectively balanced throughout cornering, and the directional stability is tough to fault too.
Again on the debit aspect, the seats lack thigh and shoulder assist, the unnecessarily broad middle console steals valuable legroom, the accessible shift paddles masks the wiper and turn-signal stalks, and, on the acknowledged curb weight of 4133 kilos, the Tonale is definitely heavier than the final 2.0-liter Stelvio This fall we examined. There is no such thing as a EV mode as such, however the driver can protect the present state of cost, and it is also doable to foster the battery on the fly. Relying on the kind of connection used, Alfa says it takes between two and a half and 5 hours to replenish the vitality pack.
Costs vary from $44,590 for the Dash to $49,090 for the Veloce, which options, amongst different goodies, the large paddle shifters, Alcantara-trimmed seats, and adaptive dampers. A sunroof, a Harman/Kardon sound system, 20-inch wheels, a surround-view digicam, and the extra superior driver assists value further, so we’re speaking $50K-plus for a completely loaded Tonale. Not surprisingly, Alfa expects 9 out of 10 automobiles to be leased at still-to-be-disclosed however allegedly extremely favorable charges. For packaging and portfolio-management causes, there shall be no Quadrifoglio version of this compact SUV.
In accordance with Domenico Bagnasco, head of auto improvement, Alfa did what it may with the Stellantis platform it was introduced with, throughout the confines of a shoestring price range. “We gave the automotive extra electrical energy, made it appear to be an actual Alfa in and out, and taught it respectable street manners. The result is just not a hardcore driver’s automotive, as a result of that is not what this section is about. As a substitute, we created a user-friendly and wholly competent various to the German institution. The Tonale is simple to drive and straightforward to stay with, but it shouts Alfa Romeo from each angle and in any gear.” Nicely mentioned, Domenico. Given the viewers of prosperous style-conscious urbanites, a child Stelvio is maybe not what the market ordered, as a lot as Alfa’s fan base might need preferred to see one.
2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale
Car Kind: front-engine, rear-motor, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base: Dash, $44,590; Ti, $46,590; Veloce, $49,090
turbocharged and intercooled SOHC 16-valve 1.3-liter inline-4, 188 hp, 199 lb-ft + 2 AC motors, 44 and 121 hp, 39 and 184 lb-ft (mixed output: 285 hp, 347 lb-ft; 14.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack; 7.4-kW onboard charger)
Transmissions, F/R: 6-speed automated/direct-drive
Wheelbase: 103.8 in
Size: 178.3 in
Width: 74.0 in
Peak: 63.0 in
Passenger Quantity, F/R: 52/46 ft3
Cargo Quantity, behind F/R: 51/23 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 4150 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 5.6 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.3 sec
Prime Pace: 125 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 26/23/29 mpg
Mixed Gasoline + Electrical energy: 60 MPGe
EV Vary: 30 mi
Though I used to be born the one son of an ornithologist and a postal clerk, it was clear from the start that birdwatching and stamp gathering weren’t my factor. Had I identified that God wished me to develop to six’8″, I additionally would have dominated out something to do with automobiles, that are responsible for a few slipped discs, a torn ligament, and that silly stooped posture behind the wheel. Whereas working as a keeper within the Aberdeen Zoo, smuggling low cost cigarettes from Yugoslavia to Germany, and an embarrassing interlude with an newbie drama group additionally didn’t yield achievement, driving and writing about automobiles turned a a lot better possibility. And it nonetheless is now, a few years later, as I strategy my seventieth birthday. I like each facet of my job besides long-haul journey on awful airways, and I hope it exhibits.