Marketing June 2022
130 and 160 hp hybrid engines
Plug-in hybrid 275 hp at the end
5.7 l / 100 km and 130 g CO2 / km minimum
From € 35,400
The Alfa Romeo brand continues to be reborn. With the 156, with the Giulia, with other models before that. But this time, it’s right, we were promised. Since the merger of FCA (Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles) and PSA given to Stellantis, government agencies have been rebuilding brand after brand. And for Alfa, this gives a product plan until 2027, recorded and funded, with electrification at stake.
And in 2022, the restart model is what you have in front of you: the Tonale. A compact 4.53 m SUV, located under the Stelvio, which comes to fight in the premium category, next to the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and other Lexus UX.
Its peculiarity: it does not exist in pure heat, but is only offered in a hybrid, and it will be in a rechargeable hybrid at the end of the year. For this, it uses the technical base, platform and engines of its cousin Jeep Compass. Visited again with Alfa fashion, as it should. With a key question: is the brand’s DNA preserved in terms of driving pleasure? In short, the rage to plumage?
A “bella matsina”
And let’s start with the plummeting of this supernatural innovation. If we believe the heads that were unscrewed in his way, he has great success. Definitely because it deviates very little from that of the concept presented in 2019. The design, if reminiscent of that of Stelvio’s big brother, is even more balanced in our opinion.
Dynamic, sporty, the Tonale reveals a grille that occupies the famous “trilobo”, the clover, the petals of which are connected here and framed by very conical optical LEDs, called “3 + 3”. They have a sinusoidal luminous signature of the day, in three parts, inspired by the SZ and RZ Zagato or the Proteo concept. With no sharp edges or intricate design, the Tonale is smooth yet elegant. The rear shoulders are marked, the luggage compartment door window, with a large slope, ends slightly at one point and the lights are attached with a tape. This is a first time for Alfa, but it is in vogue these days. They are also distinguished by a sinusoidal luminous signature.
And in these times of hunting for CO2 emissions, we hide what can make us think of the thermal engine, so we will notice the amazing disappearance of the exhaust outlet, here well hidden behind the shield. The exact opposite of Giulia and Stelvio, which have large, very visible exits, at least in some finishes.
In any case, this SUV exudes an unquestionably elegant and sporty scent, perfectly in the spirit of the brand, and the “rosso alfa” of our test model, this so characteristic red, fits the glove.
A friendly, driver-oriented interior
If the exterior style is completely in the purest tradition of the manufacturer’s style, and we will recognize it without hesitation, it is … the same inside. Indeed, even though the instruments have been made 100% digital (12.3-inch panel), the gauges are still mounted on the bottom of two barrels. We are talking about “cannibalistic” orchestration.
And everything focuses on the driver, the central element of the car. Central console, multimedia display, air conditioning controls and drive selector are all made to ensure that it maintains control of the car.
The design is both modern and evocative of the brand’s other models, but the 10.25-inch multimedia display, ideally located, is less integrated into the dashboard. The last one, in our test version, was covered with Alcantara and the plastic veneer in front of the front passenger is illuminated with backlight, imitating what is done in Mercedes and Audi.
The steering wheel is unmistakably similar to that of the Giulia, as are the turbine-shaped side air vents.
The build quality is generally good. Only the lower parts of the cabin are made of hard plastic, like the one used elsewhere, including the premium competitors that have already been mentioned a few times. But some center console plastics still sound very hollow, this could be improved.
In practical terms, the Italian innovation has plenty of storage space, the rear space is right, nothing more and the 500-liter boot can be described as spacious, especially since the volume is not reduced by engine hybridization, with a battery located between in the front seats, not under the boot floor.
You should also be aware that, unlike usual, Alfa only offers black interiors in the Tonale. So do not expect to be able to choose light colors on the dashboard or red or beige leather like in Giulia and Stelvio. Shame.
Under the Jeep Compass
As mentioned above, Tonale uses its cousin’s platform’s Jeep Compass platform. The reason ? To be able to offer electric motors.
In this case, it will have a 48 V hybrid block at launch at two power levels: 130 hp or 160 hp. The torque is the same for both, ie 240 Nm, with a speed of 1,500 rpm. The thermal base is the new 1.5-cylinder 1.5 designed by the former FCA, a GSE (global small engine) engine called “Firefly”. Direct injection, with the injector pressure rising to 350 bar (this is huge for a petrol engine), has many technologies to reduce consumption and emissions, such as a cylinder head with a solid combustion chamber, double variable valve timing and “high valve timing”. inlet ducts. It operates in the Miller cycle (by promoting the closing of the intake valve, to improve efficiency) and is connected to a starting alternator, but mainly to a 15.5 kW (20 hp) and 55 Nm torque electric motor, located in the dual gearbox. 7-speed TCT clutch, which sends power to the front wheels.
This engine is powered by a small 0.77 kWh lithium ion battery, which weighs only 13.5 kg. The set allows, unlike a less advanced conventional micro-hybridization, to drive 100% electrically at reduced distances. Tonale can therefore evolve without CO2 emissions in the city, at low speeds (up to 20/25 km / h according to our observations). It can also shut down the thermal motor at high speed when power demand is low and maintain its speed thanks to the electric motor. As in the jeep, it is not surprising.
The only differences between the 130 hp and 160 hp are a variable geometry turbo and a revised engine map for the latter, which therefore saves 30 hp.
The official consumption is between 5.6 and 6.2 liters / 100 km for the 130 hp, for emissions between 127 and 140 grams depending on the finish. For 160 hp, it is between 5.7 and 6.3 liters and 130 to 144 g / km for CO2.
At the end of 2022, a plug-in hybrid version will come. Based on the thermal engine 1.3, it will deliver 275 hp in cumulative power and 80 km. 100% electrical autonomy, thanks to a 15.5 kWh battery.
Equipment and technology innovations
In terms of equipment, Tonale does not usurp its participation in the premium category. The instruments are made 100% digital with a 12.3-inch screen for the headset and another 10.25-inch for the multimedia. All standard driving aids are included, including Level 2 standalone driving. There is automatic Android connectivity and the Amazon Alexa Assistant is built into the car, allowing voice guidance and even some household controls to be controlled from the car.
La Tonale also has digital NFT certification. An innovation based on the concept of blockchain and enabling the virtual recording of the stages of a car’s life in a safe and secure way, such as interviews, that can support the resale value. It is simply a global exclusivity. More information can be found on the equipment page.
After doing this tour to the owner, you must be eager to find out if the soul of this Tonale is really in line with what is expected of an Alfa Romeo. So go to the next page to find out.