Alfa Romeo Tonale Everything We Know About The Compact SUV

Alfa Romeo Tonale Everything We Know About The Compact SUV

In 2017, Alfa unveiled the Stelvio, its most recent new series. Now, the tiny Tonale complements the Italian SUV lineup: The Veloce’s 160-horsepower top-tier variant is described in detail.

Since Alfa Romeo canceled the mid-engine sports car 4C and the Golf challenger Giulietta in 2020, the lineup has been restricted to the two mid-range models Giulia and Stelvio, with the SUV being the newest model despite being almost five years old. With the small SUV Tonale, Alfa is now introducing a new series.

It is a close cousin of the Jeep Compass, which employs the same 1.5-liter, 130-hp gasoline engine and 48-volt electric motor in the housing of the seven-speed DCT as its base unit. The similarly powerful 1.6-liter turbo diesel, on the other hand, will be exclusive to Alfa, since Jeep just discontinued the program. In the fall, a plug-in version of the Tonale will debut with 275 system horsepower and a 15.5 kWh battery (Jeep: 245 hp, 11.4 kWh).

Alfa Romeo tonal

The first test drive is conducted using the 160 hp gasoline engine, which is based on the basic engine and similarly employs the Miller cycle but is fitted with a VTG turbocharger (variable turbine geometry).

According to reports, the Tonale can attain a maximum speed of 210 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.8 seconds, which are standard numbers for a motorized 1.5-ton vehicle. Despite the assistance of the 15 kW electric motor, the Alfa does not have a quick start from a stop, but there are no irregularities in normal operation.

It makes little difference whether you accelerate softly or aggressively; the driving is often exceedingly slow. The situation deteriorates when the gasoline engine shuts off while driving in the city: it restarts smoothly with the accelerator instruction, but then the four-cylinder increases its voice, you count “twenty-one, twenty-two,” and then it pulls. In addition, the gearbox sometimes produces two brief jerks while downshifting under modest loads.

As in a Ferrari, the steering wheel has a button to start the engine and fixed shift paddles. Wide and comfortable backrests.

The drive not only affects driving comfort but also hinders enjoyment. Because even if there are 4,000 trips in overrun, it seems as if at least 1.5 seconds pass at full power before progress is made. Alternately, if you accelerate at the apex, the acceleration often does not occur until the turn is almost complete.

Additionally, you must account for a delayed engine brake before the bends: The automobile accelerates at the same pace for two or three-tenths of a second when the gas pedal is depressed. Nevertheless, according to Alfa experts, this behavior is intentional: in the event that the driver chooses to continue accelerating.

Clean brake adjustment

On the other hand, the metering of the brake-by-wire brake works effectively, and it does not even need the experience to stop smoothly. And at the front of the top model Veloce, behind the 20-inch wheels, there are four-piston fixed Brembo brakes that enable the Alfa to decelerate with great force.

In addition, a navigation map may be placed in the center of the digital speedometer.

Due in part to the direct steering ratio, the Tonale has a particularly sporty impact in terms of transverse dynamics, with minimum body roll and quick responses to steering inputs.

Only the extreme ease of movement does not meet this description, since even in Sport mode the power assistance remains too high. At the steering wheel, there is no perception whatsoever of the cornering forces that are there; only road damage is conveyed through jolts that are not excessively intense.

Such is the operation of paddle shifters!

The adaptively damped Tonale, despite its huge wheels, is surprisingly comfortable, though not soft. On roads in urgent need of repair, though, there are sometimes faint rumbling sounds.

There is also a real highlight with the shift paddles known from other Alfa and Maserati: massive aluminum components mounted on the steering column, which are so much fun with a long stroke and well-defined click feeling that you use the shift paddles more often in town to engage manual mode, despite the automatic selecting gears intelligently.

This is especially effective since the shift paddles do not rotate when the vehicle is turned. Also fantastic are the recessed ergonomic grips under the spokes of the leather steering wheel’s somewhat concave bottom. A simple mix of an inductive charging station and a wireless connection to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Long-pressing the voice control button will activate Siri or Google Assistant if a compatible smartphone is linked. Alternately, Amazon’s Alexa may be engaged by a tiny graphic button on the touchscreen or by saying “Hey Alexa.”

The infotainment system operates at an average rate, wirelessly supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and shows straightforward route directions through TomTom software. Except for the rotary volume control and the multimedia buttons on the steering wheel, the system is handled solely by touch.

This also applies to the steering wheel and seat heating as well as the seat ventilation. For the two-zone temperature control, there is a row of buttons with all the essential functions beneath the display.

It begins at 44,500 euro

The back compartment is conditioned via central air vents located on the center console, which also has two USB connections (as in the front: one USB A and one USB C socket each). In the second row, there is just sufficient headroom, but the legroom and foot room are enough.

The compartment in the back holds 500 liters of baggage; however, the parcel shelf does not fit under the adjustable loading floor. The through-loading gate that can be opened from both sides, the 12-volt connection in the trunk, and the external cameras that show crisp photos and a 360-degree view onto the screen all exhibit functionality.

Alfa Romeo tonal

In addition, the Tonale provides contemporary assistance as an additional comfort and safety feature, including lane keepers (with a control button on the turn signal lever), active lane guiding, traffic sign recognition, and a cruise control system with automated distance management.

Similar to the headlights, the taillights are U-shaped. The center band also illuminates.

The Veloce costs 44,500 euros, therefore this is also to be anticipated. The Tonale TI with the 160-horsepower engine is 2,500 euros less than the Super variant with 130 hp, which begins at 35,500 euros. In addition, Alfa is not presently developing a Quadrifoglio model to compete with the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45, Audi RS Q3, or Cupra Formentor VZ5. The platform does not provide an electric-only variant. Therefore, it is unknown how the Italians will adjust the plug-in drive.

The noticeable lack of response of the modest hybrid powertrain negatively impacts both the enjoyment and the comfort. Other than that, the relatively roomy and contemporary-equipped Tonale is sporty but not uncomfortable.