Alfa Romeo Tonale: latest news and release date

Alfa Romeo’s new compact SUV stole the show at Geneva, and its set to be the brand’s first PHEV when it reaches showrooms in 2020

There’s a new arrival in the compact premium SUV market in the form of the Alfa Romeo Tonale. The Italian car manufacturer unwrapped a concept version of the new model at the Geneva Motor Show, which will slot into its range below the Stelvio. We’re expecting to see a production version in the next 12 months, before the Tonale reaches dealers in 2020.

Underneath, the Tonale is based on the same platform as the Jeep Renegade, albeit with a range of chassis revisions, such as new suspension, upgraded brakes and a new plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Tonale will be Alfa Romeo’s first PHEV, debuting the technology ahead of its appearance on the Giulia saloon and Stelvio SUV.

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Alfa Romeo is yet to reveal an official statement on the Tonale’s engines and specs but, speaking from the Geneva Motor Show, Alfa’s European boss Roberta Zerbi told us: “Clearly we are working on the plug-in technology for the range. Tonale will be the first.”

We expect the Tonale’s drivetrains will be pulled from elsewhere within the FCA Group, with likely options including the latest Firefly petrol engines from the mechanically similar Fiat 500X. Given how sharp the Stelvio is, the Tonale will probably be one of the better models to drive in its class.

The Tonale will be fitted with Alfa Romeo’s D.N.A. drive mode selector, updated to suit the car’s hybrid powertrain. ‘Dynamic’ mode becomes ‘Dual Power’ mode, which forces the petrol engine and electric motor to deliver maximum performance. ‘Natural’ mode maintains a compromise between efficiency and outright power, while ‘Advanced Efficiency’ mode will morph into ‘Advanced E’ mode, allowing all-electric running.

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The Tonale looks very much like a shrunken Stelvio. Styling features include a distinctive nose with an extended front overhang, the traditional “heart-shaped” Alfa grille and slender three-bulb headlights. A long bonnet leads back to a rakish windscreen, a low roof and curved rear end.

Some of the concept’s design touches, such as the slender wing mirrors and small tail-lights, are likely to be tweaked for the final production model, while a more conservatively-sized set of alloy wheels will also feature. Given the largely-finished look of the concept, though, changes should be minimal.

When it does go on sale, the Alfa Tonale will enter an exceedingly crowded SUV market at the very closely-fought small SUV end. The newcomer’s size pitches it alongside cars such as the BMW X2, Volkswagen T-Roc and Audi Q3, as well as being a premium alternative to more mainstream models such as the SEAT Ateca and Nissan Qashqai.

Why is it called Tonale?

The ‘Tonale’ moniker (pronounced ‘To-na-le’) follows on from Alfa Romeo’s ‘Stelvio’ nameplate, being also borrowed from a mountain pass in the Alps. At 1,883m the Tonale pass in Northern Italy is lower than the famous Stelvio; a suitable fit for Alfa’s more diminutive SUV model. The mountain pass is also a popular route to ski resorts in the region, further emphasising the car’s lifestyle aspirations.

Now read our review of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

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