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In-depth reviews

Alfa Romeo Tonale review - Interior & comfort

The Alfa Romeo Tonale can’t compete with the Audi Q3 or BMW X1 for interior quality

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Interior & comfort Rating

3.5 out of 5

While our test car had slightly different trim and upholstery to UK-specification cars, the material quality is the same. That means you don’t get the same standards or plushness as you do in the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, or even in the Mazda CX-5. Some of the plastics feel a little low-rent, but there are nice touches like a sporty steering wheel from the Alfa Romeo Giulia and aluminium paddles for the automatic gearbox.

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Signs of cost-cutting in material quality are even more noticeable in the back, where occupants sit next to a door card entirely covered in tough (but cheap-feeling) plastic. You get the sense that more money was spent on the outside than the inside. The Veloce trim improves things somewhat, thanks to some aluminium and Alcantara accents that leave you in no doubt it’s intended to be an upmarket, sporty model.

Ride comfort isn’t too bad in models with standard alloy wheels, and even upgrading to 20-inch wheels doesn’t spoil the ride too badly. The Veloce version we tested on British roads had adaptive dampers with quite a different feel in each setting. Comfort is definitely best here, as the firmest mode feels pretty harsh over poor tarmac and bumps.

Alfa Romeo Tonale dashboard

Rather than having a touchscreen buried in the dashboard like in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Giulia, the Tonale’s 10.25-inch infotainment system sits proud. That’s the current trend and you’ll find similar interior designs throughout this sector, so it helps the Tonale’s cabin feel more modern than Alfa Romeo’s other models.

A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is also standard, with graphics designed to replicate traditional Alfa dials. While this is more configurable, we do wonder if a standard set of dials would have done the same job for a lower cost. Admittedly, a set of analogue dials don’t have the same showroom appeal as a crisp digital display, and the Tonale may have felt behind the times if it didn’t feature one. The infotainment system is easy to use, although the lack of anywhere to rest your hand makes it tricky to make precise inputs on the move.

We’re pleased that Alfa Romeo has resisted the temptation to stuff everything in the touchscreen. There are buttons to twiddle and press on the steering wheel, which control things such as the volume and cruise control without you needing to take your eyes off the road, and under the touchscreen is a bank of buttons for the climate control functions. These are much easier to use while driving than the touch-sensitive panels you get in a Volkswagen Tiguan or going through the touchscreen like you have to in the Peugeot 3008. You’ll still need to prod the screen to turn on the heated seats, mind.

Equipment

Along with an ‘Edizione Speciale’ launch model, you can choose between Ti and Veloce trim levels. The entry-level Ti gets 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and gloss black exterior trim, while Veloce aims at Audi S line and BMW M Sport trims with bigger wheels, chrome exhaust tips, a body kit and red brake calipers. Sporty trim features inside too, with aluminium pedals and suede seat upholstery.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

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Most Economical

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Fastest

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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