Affordable Alfa! The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale
Italian automobiles are typically known for being exotic, fast, expensive, and impractical. Being such, many car buyers see them as unobtainable. But a small new crossover SUV from Alfa Romero is changing that. It’s somewhat exotic, it’s fast, and it doesn’t carry a price tag that requires you to see your accountant. And it’s an SUV, so it is quite practical. I’m referring to the 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is the newest vehicle from the Italian automaker. It’s a small crossover SUV that comes in under the brand’s other SUV, the Stelvio. Alfa Romeo states that every new vehicle they make after 2025 will be some form of EV – and the Tonale, which is a plug-in hybrid, signifies the company’s first step into reaching that goal.
The Tonale’s exterior styling isn’t extremely flashy as you might expect for an Italian vehicle, but notice the uniqueness to it, like the rotary-dial inspired wheels and the 3+3 headlight design, and you’ll realize the Tonale is striking, but in a subtle way.
The interior of the Tonale follows the same agenda. At first, it doesn’t instantly grab your attention, but soon, the details emerge. There is the perfectly sized steering wheel with the start button mounted on it and large aluminum shift paddles as well as huge round air vents. Adding a splash of spark are the multicolor patterns found on the inner part of the seats. Top-trim levels get a cabin draped in vegan leather (the new way to say synthetic leather or leather-like), Alcantara suede and aluminum accents.
The Tonale seats five, but despite its small footprint, its back seat is quite roomy. And those seated back there get their own air vents and USB ports. Behind the back seat is about 23 cubic feet of cargo room.
The Tonale is offered with one powertrain and all-wheel drive. The plug-in hybrid electric powertrain (PHEV) features a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 180 horsepower is supplemented by a 121-hp electric motor on the rear axle to make a combined 285 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission provides the power to the front wheels. A 15.5-kWh battery stores enough energy for approximately 33 miles of electric-only range. Once the battery is depleted and the Tonale switches over to being a hybrid, it achieves a combined 29-mpg EPA rating. Fully charging the battery should take about 2.5 hours using a 240-volt Level 2 charger.
Alfa Romeo offers the Tonale in three trim flavors. The Sprint is the most affordable, starting at $43,000 but comes surprisingly well-equipped with power front seats, dual zone climate control, wireless charging pad and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster along with a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen. Move up to the Ti trim level and the Tonale is fitted with different wheels, a blacked-out body kit, ambient interior lighting, and a power liftgate. The top-of-the-line Tonale is the Veloce, which it how the tester arrived. It adds on to the Ti by getting dual chrome exhaust tips, red Brembo brake calipers and a dual-mode suspension. Unlike the other trim levels that have a cloth interior, the Veloce uses the vegan leather. The sticker price of the test vehicle was $57,450.
On the road, the Tonale is a mixed bag. The steering is somewhat isolated from the road making for a drive that isn’t as engaging as I was hoping for. But the plug-in hybrid powertrain provides a good amount of around-town punch – able to hit 60 mph in the mid 5-second range, which should be plenty quick for most drivers. And the Tonale is equipped with Alfa’s DNA drive mode system, which stands for Dynamic, Natural and Advanced, allowing you to adapt the steering, throttle, shift-mapping, and fuel efficiency of the Tonale by simply turning a dial – all of which makes drive the Tonale more enjoyable.
Competing with the likes of the Audi Q3 and Q4, BMW X1 and X2, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, and Volvo XC40, the Tonale stands apart from them as being the only one in the group offered as a plug-in hybrid. And with the Tonale, Alfa Romo is making that dream of owning a cool Italian vehicle a reality.
— Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce EAWD
Base Price: $47,495.00
Price as Tested: $57,450.00
Layout: front-engine / all-wheel drive
Engine: 1.3 liter turbocharged four-cylinder with PHEV
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Horsepower: 285 hp
Torque: 347 lb-ft
EPA Fuel Economy: 29 mpg (est)
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