Alfa Romeo has added an all-new subcompact luxury crossover to its lineup that goes by the name Tonale. The automaker is touting the new five-passenger vehicle as delineating the “brand’s metamorphosis” from combustion to electrification while remaining true to its legendary Italian heritage. While this SUV segment is getting increasingly crowded, Alfa Romeo promises that the Tonale will differentiate itself through styling, driving dynamics, and technological innovation.
2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Design
The Tonale won’t be mistaken for anything but an Alfa Romeo. Handsomely sculpted, the front fascia features the signature “Trilobo” grille and the brand’s unmistakable “Scudetto” shield. From its smooth lines to the pillar-mounted exterior mirrors and sporty phone-dial wheel design, the overall look is both sporty and timeless. Thankfully, Alfa Romeo has resisted the urge to follow trends, such as incorporating flush door handles and blackened D-pillars, instead choosing to create a more attractive and stylish look – the Tonale will look good a decade down the road.
Inside the Tonale, passengers will find a well-appointed, visually pleasing, and comfortable cabin that projects a premium appearance. Alfa Romeo has incorporated a three-spoke steering wheel (with paddle shifters), a traditional PRND shifter on the center column, and sporty bucket seats for front passengers. The dashboard is fitted with a standard 12.3-inch digital primary instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen running Uconnect 5 – Alfa Romeo says the displays are the largest in the class (digital services include Alfa Connect with over-the-air capability, and there is standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto).
2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Powertrain
Alfa Romeo will offer the Tonale two distinctly different powertrains in three unique trims: Sprint, Ti, and Veloce.
Standard models are fitted with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4, rated at 256 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The combustion engine is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels through the company’s Q4 AWD system. In addition, the engine boasts a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection, and an engine start-stop system to maximize power and fuel efficiency.
The range-topping Tonale is a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Its powertrain uses a turbocharged 1.3-liter inline-4 (rated at 180 hp) and a 6-speed automatic transmission to drive the front wheels. The rear wheels, which give the PHEV its Q4 all-wheel-drive system, are powered by a 90-kW (121 hp) electric motor. The total combined system power is 272 horsepower. A standard 15.5 kWh lithium-ion battery can propel the Tonale for about 30 miles, completely combustion-free.
On that note, Alfa Romeo is configuring the Tonale PHEV with three different driving modes: Dual Power/Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency. Dual Power/Dynamic configures the combustion engine and electric motor to deliver maximum output to optimize performance. Natural is the default driving mode that balances the combustion engine and electric motor without compromising comfort or performance. Advanced Efficiency limits the vehicle to battery only for about 30 miles of combustion-free driving.
How will the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale drive?
Alfa Romeo is promising “sports car-like impeccable dynamic behavior” for the new Tonale, citing the most direct steering in the segment, strong Brembo brakes, and a fully independent suspension with Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) shock absorbers. The “Alfa DNA” system manages the two pre-set damping programs: Comfort and Sport. The default program is Comfort, which provides the most compliant ride, especially over rough roads (the setting for Natural and Advanced Efficiency drive modes). Sport stiffens the ride to optimize handling and reduce body roll (it’s the setting when Dual Power/Dynamic drive mode is selected).
How much does the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale cost?
Alfa Romeo hasn’t released Tonale pricing as of press time, but it is expected to be priced very competitively in the segment – expect base prices to be about $36,000 – $40,000. Premium Veloce models will likely top out at just over $50,000. The Italian-made Tonale will arrive in dealers in early 2023.
Who should buy a 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale?
The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale targets an upscale “young, metropolitan, and dynamic customer” that will likely be new to the brand. Tonale buyers will be seeking premium styling, luxury, strong driving dynamics, and technological innovation. The Tonale is small in overall stature, but that won’t dissuade buyers as they aren’t transporting more than one other person on a regular basis – this vehicle is ideal for singles, young professionals, and couples without children. The Alfa Romeo Tonale is unique – the subcompact Italian is not a Mercedes-Benz, Audi, or BMW (it’s actually the choice against the German automakers). The Tonale targets those who want to be unique and individual but don’t want to compromise.