Right now, this is your cheapest ticket into the glamorous, alluring world of the Italian
marque Alfa Romeo.

The Tonale is a small SUV that is available at the moment only as a fuel-saving hybrid,
which could be a real bonus depending on your perspective.

Some drivers may hunger for something a bit spicier, say the larger more powerful 2.0-litre
turbo from Stelvio.

Named after a mountain pass in Northern Italy, Tonale sits on the same platform as the
Jeep Compass and is a little brother to the mid-sized Stelvio, but still seats five like Stelvio.

It’s also available as a more expensive plug-in hybrid, while a re-badged, re-styled version
is sold as the Dodge Hornet in the United States.

Tonale is available in three grades: Ti, Veloce and Plug-In Hybrid Q4. Prices start from
$49,900 for Ti, $56,400 for Veloce and $77,500 for Plug-In Hybrid Q4 — all prices before
on-road costs.

Metallic paint is $1600 and our test vehicle, the entry Ti, was fitted with the $4500 Lusso
options pack includes perforated leather trim, a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled
front seats, power adjust driver and passenger front seats with driver memory and 14-
speaker Harman Kardon audio.

Standard kit includes 18-inch alloys, keyless entry and go, anodised brake calipers, auto
high beam, electric park brake, auto dimming mirror, auto lights and wipers and front and
rear park sensors.

You also get a body-coloured rear spoiler and door handles, gloss black painted body kit
with satin chrome inserts, black painted power-fold heated exterior mirrors with Italian flag,
and automatic full LED matrix headlights with adaptive driving beam and dynamic turn

Inside there’s dual zone climate air with rear air vents, carbon cloth and leatherette seats
with ‘Electro’ welded Alfa logo and Biscotto stitching, manual adjust front seats with power
lumbar for driver, leather steering wheel with start button, soft-touch dashboard finisher
with beige stitching and 3D insert, 60:40 split rear seats with ski-pass, black headliner,
front and rear floor mats and aluminium pedals.

Colours available in Alfa White, Alfa Red, Alfa Black, Vesuvio Grey Metallic, Misano Blue
Metallic and Montreal Green Tri-Coat (Veloce only).

Tonale is covered by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, with 5-year roadside
assistance. Service intervals are 12 months or 15,000km.

An all-new infotainment system, with a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and 10.25-inch
touchscreen navigation system, with AM/FM/DAB+ digital radio, wireless Apple CarPlay
and Android Auto, and six-speaker audio.

There’s also wireless phone charging and front and rear USB A/C ports and 12-volt outlets
in the front and cargo area.

With the My Alfa Connect app users can remotely access their vehicle using their mobile
phone using services such as vehicle finder and remote operations.

A 1.5-litre four -cylinder, petrol engine coupled with a 15kW electric motor produces
118kW of power at 5750 rpm and 240Nm of torque at 1500 rpm. Power is transmitted to
the front wheels through a 7-speed dual clutch transmission.

Five-star safety includes six airbags, a rear-view camera and autonomous emergency
braking (AEB) with vulnerable road users.

There’s also adaptive cruise control with stop and go, forward collision warning, lane
support system (lane departure warning + lane keep assist), driver drowsy detection, traffic
sign recognition with intelligent speed assist and tyre pressure monitoring.

Tonale sits 4528mm long and weighs 1491kg, with a braked towing capacity of 1500kg.
The dash from 0-100km/h takes 8.8 seconds and it has a top speed of 212km/h.

With a 55-litre tank, it takes premium 95 unleaded with fuel consumption a claimed

Energy is recovered during periods of decelerating and braking, which is stored in the
0.8kWh battery for later use. It can operate on electric power alone at speeds of up to
15km/h, which means silent starts and happy neighbours.

The fully independent suspension features McPherson struts and ‘unique’ sway bars at
either end, while the 18-inch wheels are shod with chunky Continental 235/50 series

Koni supplies frequency selective dampers that adjust the level of hydraulic damping
based on the road surface, improving handling but retaining a comfortable ride.
A space saver spare is provided.

Matrix LED headlights are able to shut down individual LEDs, keeping high beam active
but preventing on-coming traffic from being dazzled, in a kind of halo effect.
Unique brake-by-wire technology delivers strong, aggressive braking.

The 48-volt mild hybrid delivers respectable performance and fuel economy, but we
expected a little more excitement.

It is after all an Alfa and that’s why people buy them the last time we checked.

The hybrid is happy to comply, with a rasp when you punch the throttle, but ultimately
lacks torque when it comes to firing out of corners.

And then there’s an all too familiar ‘jerky’ twin clutch tranny and surprising lack of gear
change paddles, which is not exactly encouraging.

It smacks of cost cutting and together with the price, suggests the premium brand is
looking to pick up a bit of mainstream action.

The more expensive Veloce gets paddles, while the plug-in scores a conventional six-
speed auto.

Switching to dynamic mode is transformative and the engine tries hard with a little help
from its electric friend, but it really needs some more get up and go.

On a more positive note, ride and handling are excellent, especially the ride quality which
sets a new benchmark for the brand.

The car corners flat with plenty of grip from the Continentals, on well-formed bitumen at

Dirt is another story.

The brake-by-wire stoppers are similarly impressive, biting hard and fast. But the steering
is odd. It’s sharp and responsive and provides good feedback, but is very light and doesn’t
seem to weight-up even in Dynamic mode.

Of note our test vehicle had a rattle from the instrument cluster which is sure to drive
someone crazy trying to figure out where it is coming from.

Sometime later the dash began flashing a warning.

Lane Assist was not available — clean windscreen! Is that all it takes?

The instrument cluster itself is fully digitised, but offers just the one theme that is designed
around analogue-style gauges, with a central information area that can be scrolled, but
working out how to do this is a challenge.

Physical buttons are provided for the aircon and a roller-style volume control for audio in
the centre console.

While Android Auto is conveniently wireless, actually connecting to it with our phone was
also problematic.

The phone told us to follow prompts from the car touchscreen, but there were none and it
took a couple of minutes to find Android Auto buried in the menu system.

When it did finally hook up, it worked fine.

We were getting 6.8L/100km after 360km of mixed driving.

The Alfa Tonale Ti is a likeable car offered at an attractive price.

While there’s no mistaking it for an Alfa, close your eyes and it doesn’t feel like an Alfa.
The drive experience is not engaging and we wonder how many corners Alfa cut to get the
car down to the price.

More power, paddle shifts and the Lusso pack should all be part of the deal – or you could
spend $6500 more for the Veloce.

Effectively, however, adding the Lusso pack is the only way to get power-adjust seats with
either grade.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 7/10
Safety: 7.5/10
Thirst: 7.5/10
Practicality: 7.5/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Overall: 7.4/10


Ti: $49,900
Veloce: $57,900
Veloce PHEV: $77,500
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Alfa Romeo dealer for drive-away prices.


Capacity: 1.5 litres
Configuration: In-line four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine / 48-volt mild hybrid
Maximum Power: 118 kW @ 5750 rpm
Maximum Torque: 240 Nm @ 1500 rpm
Fuel Type: 95 premium unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.6 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 129 g/km

DRIVELINE: (Alfa Romeo Tonale Ti, 1.5L 4-cylinder turbo petrol with mild hybrid, 7sp
dual clutch automatic, FWD, 5-seat SUV)

Length: 4528 mm
Wheelbase: 2636 mm
Width: 1835 mm
Height: 1601 mm
Turning Circle: 11.57 metres
Kerb Mass: 1491 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres

Front: Ventilated disc, single piston floating caliper
Rear: Solid disc, single piston floating caliper

5 years / unlimited kilometres

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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