Tonale Plug-in Hybrid: Performance and Efficiency
Alfa Romeo is an Italian brand that most people associate with performance rather than efficiency, but its latest model, the Alfa Romeo Tonale, manages to combine both. The new compact SUV, which is starting to arrive in dealerships this summer, is a plug-in hybrid, and Alfa Romeo has confirmed an EPA estimated electric range of 33 miles, as well as a 77 MPGe fuel efficiency rating. This model brings new tech and style to the premium compact SUV segment, and its plug-in hybrid drivetrain is a key differentiator.
Competing against vehicles like the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3, which are not available as plug-in hybrids, the Tonale offers a key differentiator to its drivers. Thanks to the EPA-estimated 33 miles of electric range, many owners will be able to do their daily commutes without having to tap the fuel tank if they plug in overnight.
A 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery drives an electric motor connected to the rear wheels. If drivers do need extra range and power, there’s an advanced 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood, which provides power to the front wheels. A belt-driven starter/generator connected to the engine further enhances efficiency and improves the engine’s smoothness. Total system output 285 horsepower, and 347 lb-ft of torque, which is best in class.
Sensual Italian Design
While buyers will appreciate the Tonale’s efficiency and electric range, they are likely to fall in love with it because of the design. This is one great-looking SUV. Intended for young and dynamic customers, the Tonale has a distinctive and forward-looking design. The distinctive “3+3” headlights and Alfa Romeo shield up front, the character line that runs front to back, and the curvy rear end are like nothing else in the segment.
Inside, the design is strongly focused around the driver, with all controls within easy reach and a good combination of touch screens and physical controls. The materials, such as real aluminum and leather, are of high quality, and build quality looks excellent. Standard tech includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the ability to issue voice commands via Amazon Alexa, and more. A new Alfa Connect mobile app lets drivers start the engine, lock or unlock doors, and more. Over-the-air capabilities allow software updates without having to visit the dealer.
Alfa Romeo Tonale: Enhanced Technology
Alfa Romeo also promises the Tonale will set the benchmark for the segment with its driving dynamics. The steering is claimed to be the most direct in the segment, and aluminum shift paddles let drivers operate the transmission in an enthusiastic manner. The model’s braking system uses high-performance Brembo fixed calipers and discs, and the fully independent MacPherson-strut suspension uses special Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) shock absorbers. An available adjustable suspension features electronically controlled dampers, which are tied to a selection of different drive modes.
Of course, the vehicle also has wide range of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), including:
- Intelligent adaptive cruise control
- Lane centering
- Traffic jam assist
- Automatic emergency braking
- Driver attention assist
- Blind spot detection
- Rear cross-path detection
In line with Alfa Romeo’s philosophy about being all about the driver, all of the systems are designed to operate unobtrusively, while improving the vehicle’s safety.
With a starting MSRP of $42,995 for the Sprint trim, $44,995 for the Ti trim, and $47,995 for the loaded Veloce model, the Alfa Romeo Tonale is shipping to dealerships now.