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Alfa Romeo Tonale small SUV: Q3, XC40 rival coming in 2023 with all-hybrid engine range


All-new Italian-made small SUV will launch exclusively with hybrid engines, while all-electric variants are on the cards

Nearly three years after it was shown in near-identical concept form, the Alfa Romeo Tonale small SUV has been officially revealed.

Set to launch globally in the fourth quarter of 2022 before an Australian release date in the first half of 2023, the Tonale will compete with the Audi Q3, Volvo XC40 and Mercedes-Benz GLA in the luxury small SUV segment.

Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 green front end

Arguably Alfa Romeo’s most important car in recent memory, the Tonale’s success in Europe, North America and Asia will be a key factor that determines the level of future investment owner Stellantis will make into this heritage-laden Italian marque.

Every engine is a hybrid for most markets

Every Tonale for Australia – plus Europe and Asia – will incorporate a level of electrification, with a brand-new 1.5-litre turbocharged series-parallel hybrid powertrain confirmed for Australia.

In Europe, at least, two outputs will be available for the Tonale hybrid: one with 96kW of power from the petrol engine and another with 120kW, while an electric motor mounted to the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission boosts outputs by an additional 15kW/55Nm.

Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 blue rear end

The Tonale hybrid runs on electric power alone for about 50 percent of the WLTP urban fuel consumption cycle, Alfa Romeo says.

A performance-orientated plug-in hybrid that makes 205kW of combined system power will launch first for European markets, which severely penalise higher-CO2 vehicles.

Whereas the Tonale hybrid is front-wheel drive, the PHEV ups the ante with electric AWD thanks to a 90kW electric motor mounted at the rear axles. A 15.5kWh battery will provide an electric driving range of about 60km on the WLTP cycle.

A spokesperson for Alfa Romeo said that the Tonale plug-in hybrid was “under study” for Australia, but senior brand executives said that the self-charging hybrid was locked in.

Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 steering wheel

While the series-parallel hybrid is based on an all-new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine, the Tonale PHEV powertrain is based on the existing Stellantis 1.3-litre Multiair turbo-four, with engine power of 134kW driving the front wheels.

Buyers in the United States and Middle East will also have the choice of a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine shared with the Giulia sedan, producing 190kW of power and employing mechanical AWD. The larger engine has only been developed for left-hand drive at present, though right-hand drive applications are possible.

Some markets will also receive a 97kW turbo diesel powertrain – but Australia will not be among them – and just a few seconds were dedicated to mentioning the oil-burner.

Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 interior

Tech-laden interior based around always-on 4G

The Tonale’s interior is built around a new-to-Alfa Android-based operating system that integrates rich Amazon integration: voice search drives the American firm’s Alexa assistant, while Amazon packages can be delivered directly to the Tonale’s boot with Amazon couriers given one-off access to the Tonale’s boot.

A driver-focussed interior will incorporate a 10.25-inch central touchscreen as well as an immersive digital driver display called the “Cannochiale cluster” that is capable of showing high-resolution mapping, media and drive mode graphics.

Smartphone mirroring utilising Apple CarPlay and Anrdoid Auto is expected to be fitted as standard, while a range of USB-C ports will be accessible throughout the vehicle.

Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 taillight

Tonale uses reworked FCA Small Wide 4×4 platform

Alfa Romeo engineers say they have comprehensively reworked the Stellantis Small Wide 4×4 platform to the point that the Tonale shares only its floor plan with platform-sharing models like the Jeep Compass and Fiat 500X.

Compared to those vehicles, the Tonale gets a completely new suspension with either frequency-selective fixed or adaptive dampers, plus a new steering rack and a range of all-new powertrains.

The brand claims that the Tonale is the most agile C-segment SUV – a class that includes luxury models like the GLA and X1, as well as mainstream vehicles like the Volkswagen T-Roc and Mazda CX-30.

Alfa Romeo says the Tonale hybrid will weigh “just above” 1500kg, while the plug-in hybrid will tip the scales at between 1800kg and 1900kg.

Simple global lineup of two variants wearing heritage badges

Initially, the Tonale will be globally offered in entry-level Super and higher-specification Ti variants, though a hot Quadrifoglio version is on the cards for an introduction later on.

Each of the launch variants can be further specified with an option pack that Chasing Cars understands includes a range of additional features. The Tonale Super can be optioned with a Sprint pack, while the Tonale Ti can be specified as a Veloce.

In markets that receive the plug-in hybrid powertrain, this is expected to be marketed as a ‘warm’ performance variant under Tonale Ti badging, with standard adaptive dampers and Brembo brakes.

Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 blue front end

Alfa Romeo says it is closely considering a Tonale Quadrifoglio sports SUV. Instead of following the mould of the larger Stelvio Quadrifoglio, which uses a twin-turbo petrol V6 engine, the Quadrifoglio would be at a minimum a plug-in hybrid but more probably fully electric.

The brand is evaluating demand for fully-electric C-segment SUV; if it is clear that consumer demand exists for such a vehicle, Alfa Romeo will “for sure” introduce a fully-electric Tonale.

Vehicle history guaranteed by NFT, five year warranty

Alfa Romeo says the Tonale will become the first vehicle to launch with an integrated non-fungible token (NFT) exclusively assigned to the vehicle.

Relying on the car’s in-built network connectivity, the NFT associated with each Tonale will record the car’s specification, delivery dates, plus ongoing maintenance details. The NFT transfers to subsequent owners. It’s not clear whether driving style and other attributes will be viewable.

Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 Cannochiale

Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo says it is embarking on a push for higher quality with a major overhaul of the Pomigliano d’Arco factory that will build the Tonale.

The quality push will also be backed by a global five year warranty that will apply for the Tonale in all markets. It is not yet known whether this warranty will be extended to Alfa Romeo’s existing Stelvio and Giulia models.

2023 release date in Australia

The Tonale will enter series production shortly for European customers with a market launch scheduled for the second quarter of 2022, falling between April and June of this year.

Some Asian markets, including Japan, will receive the car before Christmas – but Australian buyers will need to wait until 2023, with a spokesperson for Alfa Romeo Australia confirming that the local release date will fall in the first half of next year.