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Italian Chic: Alfa Romeo Tonale

by Cam BentyMarch 24, 2024
Alfa Romeo Tonale is stylish, electrified, and very efficient. It's also the 2024 Green SUV of the Year.
Alfa Romeo Tonal rear view.

Alfa Romeo, one of Italy’s legendary performance brands, returned to the U.S. market in 2006 to reassert its Italian heritage with the sporty 4C. Since then, the Guilia coupe and Stelvio SUV have done an admirable job relaunching the brand.

The newest Alfa, the Tonale luxury subcompact SUV, speaks to buyers here that overwhelmingly skew toward crossover and SUV models. The Tonale, with its performance styling, advanced engine/battery technology, all-wheel drive, and high levels of utility, offers a combination that has never before been available in an Alfa Romeo.

Alfa Romeo Tonale plug-in hybrid engine.

First Alfa Romeo PHEV

Tonale is not only Alfa’s first hybrid powered car of any kind, but also its first plug-in vehicle. When fully charged – which takes somewhere under three hours with a Level 2 charger – the Tonale will deliver an EPA estimated range of 33 miles on battery power alone. With a combined average rating of 29 mpg and 77 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) on electric power, total range on both gas and electric power brings about 360 miles of driving.

Green Car Journal editors' recent time behind the wheel of a Tonale allowed experiencing how this sporty and efficient Alfa performs on the open road and while negotiating the meandering, twisty canyons of California's Central Coast. As with all Alfa Romeos, performance is expected, and in this case delivered via Tonale’s 1.3-liter MultiAir turbocharged four-cylinder engine that provides 180 horsepower to the front axle. The rear axle is separately powered by a 121 horsepower electric motor generating 184 lb-ft torque. The sum of all this is a best-in-class power rating of 285 hp and 347 lb-ft. torque, all in. A 15.5 kWh lithium-ion battery provides power for the electric drive system. An integrated high-voltage belt starter-generator mounts to the engine to assist in delivering smoother drive cycle transitions and start-stop capability. Notably, at times we found the Tonale delivering slightly more than its rated 33 mile battery electric range.

Alfa Romeo Tonale is High Tech

The Tonale sports a host of family friendly features that allow this stylish Alfa to hold lots of things, as SUVs are required to do. Along with the ability to transport your stuff, the Tonale’s standard content is also quite high. Among its many systems are Adaptive Cruise Control, Intelligent Speed Assist, Blind Spot and Rear Cross Path Alert, Lane Departure and Lane Keep Assist, and Forward Collision Warning with Automatic Emergency Braking for pedestrians. Yep, they are all there. Level 2 autonomy with Traffic Jam Assist is also available, as is an optional 360-degree camera system.

Three versions of the Tonale are available, starting with the Sprint edition, then the Ti, and finally the high end Veloce version that we drove. All three feature an excellent Uconnect 5 system with information displayed through a 10.25- inch center-mounted touch screen and a 12.3-inch drivers’ dashboard screen. Each screen can be customized by the driver to display the data most desired. In addition, an on board Alexa system allows connecting to the vehicle via voice commands – no inputs necessary.

Alfa Romeo Tonale interior.

Style Defines Alfa Romeo Tonale

The Tonale is one of the best looking subcompact SUVs on the market with its exceptional style and signature Alfa Romeo grille set into the surrounding bodywork. Its sculpted side profile flows past cool alloy wheels and is pure Italian. An elegant interior continues to delight, with a blend of brushed aluminum and suede-like seat upholstery. The stamp of Alfa approval adorns each seat back – very cool.

Alfa Romeo’s Tonale is covered by a four year/50,000 mile limited warranty with a full powertrain warranty for the same length of time. Pricing for the base Tonale Sprint is $43,845 with the Ti coming in at $46,500 and the Veloce $51,040. The Tonale Veloce we drove, with its extras and destination charge, featured an as-tested price of $57,290.