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Alfa Romeo News & Reviews

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid is the latest small luxury SUV, and the first from famed Italian automaker Alfa Romeo. This attractive Italian is also the first Alfa available with an optional plug-in hybrid powertrain. Those of us at Napleton News are all about things Italian, so when this one drove up, we started talking a lot with our hands.

But can we talk about that name? At quick glance, people refer to it as the Toe Nail. A rather unfortunate “nom de macchina,” if you ask us.

Regardless, it is time. Salta nella macchina allaccia le cinture (Jump into the machine and buckle up.)

What’s the Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid all about?

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Badge and crest.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid is the latest SUV from the brand with the legendary racing history and gorgeous Italian styling. It’s an ideal match for young urban drivers looking for entry-level Italian luxury without having to pony up (pun intended) for a model from the Prancing Horse brand (Ferrari).

In its base form, the Tonale is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 engine, 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. This package supplies 256-horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.

The 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Hybrid engine powering the Tonale.

But our tester goes further: It features a plug-in hybrid-electric powertrain. This package consists of a turbocharged 1.3-liter inline-4 engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and a 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack for power. This drivetrain is connected to a 90-kW electric motor at the rear axle for all-wheel drive capabilities. It delivers best-in-class 285-horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, as well as 30 miles of pure electric range.

What does the Tonale look like?

A look at the Alfa from head-on.

Start with a basic two box design. In general terms, the Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid breaks no new ground in overall design. What it does, though, is take that basic look and make it a bit more cosmopolitan overall.

Start with the Alfa’s “Scudetto” front grille. It’s inspired by the traditional “horse collar” centerpiece seen for years on their Alfa Romeo front facias. In this case, though, it lends a bit of familiarity without going too overboard stylistically.

Alfa Tonale’s LED Headlights.

New to the look is a pair of 3+3 LED headlights, created by the Italian electronics firm, Marelli. A  GT Line runs from the headlights rearward where it ends with a stylized set of taillights that resemble the headlights. It brings to mind the design of the classic Giulia GT Junior and more contemporary cars like the 8C Competizione.

The Ital-design look carries on to the 20-inch aluminum alloy Grigio five-hole wheels, which company officials suggests resemble classic telephone dials.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Grigio front wheel and Brembo Brakes.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale will be offered in three different trim levels. It all begins with Sprint, carries on to Ti, and ends with the top-shelf Veloce trim.

Designed with the Driver in Mind

The Tonale takes inspiration from classic Alfa Romeo race cars, the Tonale is built around the driver. All controls are easily accessible to ensure a secure and engaging drive. Passengers will be able to enjoy their trip in a comfortable and spacious atmosphere.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce dashboard and business seat.

A leather-wrapped steering wheel offers precise handling and features alloy steering wheel-mounted paddle shift levers. A gearshift lever on the center console allows drivers to shift to manual mode so they can channel their inner Valterri Bottas (Alfa Romeo’s star Formula 1 driver). It’s a blast every enthusiast driver should try!

The interior of the Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid.

Technology is on board, too. A programmable display can show specific gauges or even a navigation map. Alfa Romeo’s Uconnect 5 system keeps the Tonale connected and  passengers engaged. This keeps the driver’s attention on the road ahead. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are, of course, along for the ride.

Behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid.

We’re looking all over the center console for the starter button, until, wait, it’s on the steering wheel! Huh? Right, it’s located at about 7 o’clock on the wheel and just requires a foot on the brake while the hand presses away.

While stepping into the gas finds a CUV that is quite agile and ready to get rockin.’ If your hybrid battery is charged, you could expect approximately 30 miles of pure electric power. Beyond that, on gas, you’ll see about 279 miles per tankful.

Acceleration from a stop is quite brisk, but not like what you would find in one of its Ferrari cousins. Still, there’s a sense of aggression that gets you ahead of the pack in short order. Handling is stout and steady. We are not fans of the Tonale’s need to constantly correct lane departures, especially when we chose not to use the turn indicators. Speaking of turn indicators, we wish they had solid detents rather than no feeling at all when turned to the right or left

A beauty shot look at the left side of the Alfa Romeo Tonale.

As we managed to switch lanes, the steering wheel switched us back. It was not readily apparent how to disable this function, which became an annoyance rather than an assistant. As the button was not apparent around the dashboard area, we can only assume it was buried somewhere in the software.

Despite these minor quibbles, the Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid proves itself a worthy ride for those interested in entry Italian luxury. Just make sure you don’t make any sudden Italian hand gestures.

Specifications:

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid
Engine Type Intercooled Turbo Gas/Electric I-4
Horsepower 285 horsepower
Torque 347 lb-ft
Transmission 6-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy (Combined/City/Hwy) Not Rated
Suspension F/R MacPherson Strut / Strut
Turning Circle 37.9 ft.
Also Available Gasoline powered AWD various trim levels.
Specs
Warranty 4 years / 50,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 4 years / 50,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating Not Rated
Max Seating Capacity 5
Wheelbase 103.8 inches
Overall Length 178.3inches
Width 72.4 inches
Height 63.2 inches
Cargo Room (Behind 1st and 2nd row) 50.5/22.9 Cubic Feet
Headroom, Front 38.8 inches
Headroom, 2nd 38.2 inches
Legroom, 1st 41.7 inches
Legroom, 2nd 38.0 inches
Shoulder room, 1st row 55.7 inches
Shoulder room, 2nd row 54.8 inches

This post was published on September 7, 2023

Mark Elias

I've loved everything on wheels: Trains, Planes and definitely Automobiles. I am constantly in search of the latest in new technology, which makes our lives better each day, but will always respect the classics. You can't continue forward without first taking a look back at where you've been.

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