Savvy Driver Nick Smirnis notes: “The Italian version of Alfa Romeo’s small SUV for the North American market is really quite something to see. It features a host of current generation technology including a 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster and driver feedback system. The interior is finished in sporty Alcantara ventilated front seats and contrast stitching. Of course, it is an Alfa, so it also has arcane 11th century Milanese insignias stitched onto the head rests and their DNA drive-mode selection. On the outside, you’ll find unique three-part LED headlights and taillights that differentiate the Tonale from the larger Stelvio.
“Like the Stelvio, the Tonale is named after an Italian mountain and features similar dynamic body style inspired by the mountains of Northern Italy. With its combination of good looks and plush interiors, its no wonder that Alfa Romeo is once again tapping into its history of spirited driving machines to attract a new generation of buyers.”
The iconic brand’s first compact SUV remains true to the DNA of noble Italian sportsmanship. A “GT Line” running from the rear to the headlights, recalls the forms of the 1960s Giulia GT Junior, while the full and elegant volume of the vehicle is reminiscent of iconic Alfa Romeo models, such as the 8C Competizione. The front features the “Trilobo” front grille with the distinctive Alfa Romeo “Scudetto” shield.
Perhaps the biggest news about the Tonale, is how the plug-n hybrid (PHEV) Q4 AWD poses to reinvent the definition of “sporty” in the 21st century. The advanced hybrid system uses the 1.3-liter MultiAir turbocharged four-cylinder engine (180-horsepower) to provide torque to the front wheels. A high-voltage Belt Starter Generator, mounted to the engine, delivers torque to the crankshaft to smooth transitions from the six-speed automatic transmission. The system is bolstered by a 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery and a 90 kW electric motor powering the Tonale’s rear axle, making it capable of 184-lb-ft of torque from 0 rpm. All this works together to deliver best-in-class total horsepower of 272.
The PHEV offers three options in delivering electrified power to the wheels, controlled by the DNA switch. “PHEV/Dynamic” maximizes output from both the engine and electric motor. “Natural” manages power for everyday use, balancing use of the engine and electric motor without compromising performance or driving comfort. “Advanced efficiency,” designed for pure electric operation, allows the vehicle to run off the large battery with more than 30 miles of pure electric range.
The other powertrain option on Tonale is a Q4 AWD 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, with nine-speed automatic transmission with best-in-class standard horsepower rated at 256 and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, equipped with engine stop-start technology that meets the super-ultra-low emissions 30 (SULEV 30) standard.
Tonale also debuts non-fungible token (NFT) technology, Alfa Romeo is the first automaker to link a car with an NFT digital certificate. The technology is based on the “blockchain card” concept, a confidential and non-modifiable record of the main stages in the life of an individual vehicle. With the customer’s consent, the NFT will record vehicle data, generating a certificate that can be used to assure the car has been properly maintained, with a positive impact on its residual value.
The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale will begin arriving in showrooms throughout North America in the first quarter of 2023. Pricing is expected to start around $38,000 with entry-level Sprint trim with 2.0-liter turbo, and around $50,000 for the plug-in hybrid version. Tonale will compete primarily with BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, and Volvo XC40.