2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale
How do you expand on a brand that is making a comeback?
But, is Alfa Romeo making a comeback? It is now a huge part of the combined Stellantis strategy by taking the premium brand from the Italian side of the “house” and putting it on its own spotlight. With the Giulia and Stelvio in place, they needed a smaller vehicle that is also electrified.
This is where the Tonale comes in. It is a crossover built on a smaller platform, produced near Naples, Italy. It arrived in America ready to lure upwardly mobile customers with its combination of tradition and the latest technology.
You can see the tradition immediately, with its “shield” grille that has been part of Alfa Romeo’s century-long history. Flanked by this grille is a triple-bulb LED headlamp unit. The silhouette is influenced by the Stelvio with a curvaceous set of funders and long roof. The triple-bulb design is also seen in the taillight units creating a curvy liftgate shape.
Our Ti tester wore the brand’s signature 19-inch five-hole alloy wheels and red brake caliper covers. All are a part of some upgrades made to this trim level. These features help give the Tonale a true Alfa Romeo presence that will attract customers to its fold.
Step inside and you will be immediately greeted with several brand touches. The instrument cluster is all digital, but the cowl above it will tell you otherwise. The screen you will enjoy the most is one that emulates two old school Alfa dials for the speedometer and power meter. The ignition button is placed on the steering wheel, which is full of modern controls. The rest falls on the modern side of the ledger when it comes to technology – including the 10.25-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system and various switches for the drive modes and climate control.
Leather is what you will find in this upgraded Ti model. The seats are firm, but they offer plenty of bolstering and support. Rear seat room is fine for averaged sized adults. The seats fold down in a 60/40 split to expand the cargo space from 22.9 cubic feet to 50.5 cubic feet.
The Tonale is the first electrified Alfa Romeo ever created. It starts with a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, coupled to an electric motor and a plug-in receptacle good for Level 2 charging. All told, this power source yields a combined 285 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels.
For charging, you can go to a Level 2 charger and return a full battery in 2.5 hours. In turn, you should get up to 32 miles on electric driving alone. In our turn in the Tonale, we observed an average fuel consumption figure of 32.0 MPG based on both electric and gasoline use.
You’re thinking the Tonale would drive like something you expect from an Alfa Romeo, you may be disappointed. It does drive well for its intended purpose – a small plug-in hybrid crossover that just happens to wear the badge. While on the firm side in the Dynamic mode, it does soften up a tad in Normal to a more solid feeling. The Tonale also absorbs rougher surfaces quite well. Cornering is fine, as is its response in evasive maneuvers.
The Tonale also tries its best to steer like its other siblings. It is responsive, yet there is a feeling of vagueness in the system itself. You do get a good turning radius, mostly due to its overall size. The brakes were decent. Stopping power is solid, turning in good stops in normal and panic situations. Pedal feel was fine and responsive.
The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale comes in three trim levels, starting at $42,995. Our upgraded Ti tester came with a sticker price of $55,950.
The trend towards smaller, more efficient crossovers and SUVs have caught on among premium and luxury brands. Being a plug-in hybrid does help the Tonale’s cause while being compared to other models in its class. Such competitors include the Mercedes-Benz GLB and EQB, BMW X1, MINI Countryman, Audi Q3 and Q4, Lexus UX and RZ, Infiniti QX50, Jaguar I-Pace and E-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque, Volvo XC40 and C40, Cadillac XT4, Buick Encore GX, Lincoln Corsair, Genesis Electrified GV70, and the Maserati Grecale.
Alfa Romeo has produced a small crossover/SUV that fits its image with a look towards the future. Its first electrified vehicle shows a way forward, while still giving you elements of its past. If you’re looking for something practical and premium, give the Tonale a good look.
Credits: CarSoup Editors