New 2022 Alfa Romeo Tonale arrives with plug-in hybrid power
The Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV offers new technology, a range of hybrid engines and sporty handling
- Plug-in hybrid manages up to 37 miles of range
- The brand’s smallest SUV model yet
- On sale in April starting from around £35,000
The new Alfa Romeo Tonale has been unveiled, several years after the first concept appeared. The sleek SUV will be available with a range of hybrid and plug-in hybrid engines when it goes on sale in April; launching in a high-spec Edizione Speciale trim, with prices starting from around £35,000.
The Tonale SUV is an important car for Alfa Romeo, because it will give the Italian brand a foothold in the lucrative family SUV sector. It’ll sit beneath the Stelvio SUV in the brand’s range, rivalling the Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA, Volkswagen T-Roc and Volvo XC40.
2022 Alfa Romeo Tonale: styling
The design of the new Tonale borrows heavily from the concept car first showcased at the Geneva Motor Show in 2019. Like the show car, its nose features several traditional Alfa Romeo design cues, including a triangle-shaped front grille, a slim swept back headlight design, an offset front number plate, and a full-width front air intake across the lower part of the front bumper.
The model seen in the images sits on a set of large ‘Teledial’ alloy wheels, although smaller designs are also expected to be available. The sides of the car feature black plastic bodywork cladding, with an uninterrupted bodywork crease from front to back, leading to an upswept rear window. At the back, a full-width LED light bar sits above a centre-mounted Alfa Romeo badge, along with a sharply angled rear window, giving the Tonale a strong family resemblance to the larger Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
Interior, technology and practicality
Inside, the Tonale features a split-level dashboard design, separated by a central contrasting trim piece, and leather covers the lower section. A 12.3-inch digital dial cluster is standard, with graphics designed to replicate Alfa’s traditional analogue dials. This is complemented by a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Amazon Alexa – which is integrated with a voice assistant. The Alexa functionality also allows owners to select their Tonale as a parcel drop-off point using Amazon’s “secure delivery service.”
Elsewhere, there’s a conventional looking climate control setup featuring a row of physical buttons and a pair of rotary dials. There’s also a rotary dial for the car’s driving modes, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel paired with a set of large gearshift paddles.
While full specifications are yet to be revealed, the Tonale will be well-equipped with features such as dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated seats, a Harmon Kardon premium stereo, wireless smartphone charging and a powered tailgate. According to Alfa Romeo, the model features a 500-litre boot.
It also features a host of connected services, too, with integrated blockchain technology that record’s the car’s digital service record and details of over-the-air software updates.
At launch, a high-spec Edizione Speciale trim will be available, along with Super and Ti trim levels, plus Sprint and Veloce option packs. Full specifications will be revealed closer to the car’s on-sale date.
Alfa has fitted all of its latest safety tech to the Tonale, including adaptive cruise control that can automatically keep the car in the middle of its lane at motorway speeds. It also features autonomous emergency braking (AEB), pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot and rear-cross traffic detection, and a 360-degree view camera.
Engines, platform and performance
The Tonale is the Italian firm’s first plug-in hybrid model. Called the Hybrid Q4, it’s based around a four-cylinder 1.3-litre petrol engine which is shared with sister brand Jeep. This combines with a rear-mounted electric motor and a 15.5kWh battery for a total power output of 271bhp.
Power goes to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox, and it’s the fastest model in the Tonale line-up, managing 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds. Alfa claims the Hybrid Q4 can manage up to 37 miles in electric mode, and a full top-up of the battery takes around two and a half hours when using a 7.4kW home charger.
Beneath the flagship PHEV model, the regular Tonale is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine, mated to a 48-volt electronic hybrid system. The 130 Hybrid produces 128bhp, while the 160 Hybrid gets an upgraded turbocharger setup, increasing power to 158bhp.
Both engines feature a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox (there is no manual option), along with a small electric motor that can power the car at low speed. It features an ‘e-Creeping’ mode, allowing the car to move slowly in EV mode, along with an ‘e-Queuing’ function that keeps the car moving in traffic. This setup means that the Tonale hybrid models can be parked using only electric power.
A variation of Alfa Romeo's 'D.N.A.' drive-mode selector features in the plug-in hybrid, with the 'Natural' mode balancing the petrol engine and electric motor to provide the best efficiency, while the 'Dynamic’ mode maximises the performance of the powertrain.
The Tonale sits on an updated version of a Fiat-Chrysler platform, which is used on several Jeep models. Here, Alfa has given the small SUV wider axles to improve handling, along with several upgrades including Brembo brake calipers, a regenerative braking system equipped with brake-by-wire-technology and Frequency Selective Dampers (FSD), which automatically adjust as the car is driven. Alfa Romeo claims they deliver a comfortable ride and help to control body lean when cornering to give the car a more engaging and sporty driving experience. Upgraded adaptive suspension will also be available as an option.
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