2023 alfa romeo tonale veloce review feature

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid Review: Enough to Disrupt?

It’s been nearly four years since I drove my first modern Alfa Romeo. A top-of-the-line Giulia Quadrifoglio that left a lasting impression for its Italian quirkiness (call it ‘Alfaness’) and general lack of sensibility all in the name of character. I loved it.

Who would’ve thought the size of the front doors would be a talking point in my first car review for this very website, let alone that hilarious idea that you can’t have the loud exhaust without completely disabling the traction control system? Oh Alfa, I wish you’d never change.

But change they have! Unfortunately, quirkiness doesn’t sell cars, so the brand has thrown its hat in the ring of the most competitive segment in Australia. The mid-size SUV category with the new Alfa Romeo Tonale.

Like Giulia and Stelvio before it, Alfa is insistent in its quest to disrupt the status quo. With the Tonale, they hope to steal a few sales from premium German luxury cars like the BMW X1 and Japan’s best-selling Toyota RAV4. Not to mention other reasonable competitors like the VW Tiguan of which it shares its dimensions. Will Tonale’s good looks be enough to carry the car to sales success? Let’s find out.

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How Much Does the Alfa Romeo Tonale Cost?

The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale is priced from $49,900 AUD before on-road costs in Ti grade and $56,400 in Veloce specification. Both models get everything from 10.25-Inch touchscreen infotainment with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to Level 2 Autonomous Driving.

I had a chance to drive both models on the Australian launch of the Alfa Romeo Tonale in the Adelaide Hills. This was a great chance to compare the trim levels and test the suspension differences between them.

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2023 alfa romeo tonale veloce interior
Alfa Romeo Tonale has ‘Sporty sophistication’ in every aspect of the interior | Image: Supplied

What is the Alfa Romeo Tonale Like on the Inside?

Alfa Romeo is dedicated to providing, what they like to call, ‘Sporty sophistication’ in every aspect of the interior. It starts with the Alcantara seats (found in the Veloce), leatherette finish (found in the Ti), and tech components like the new 12.3-Inch TFT instrument cluster that combines with 10.25-Inch touchscreen infotainment with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available as standard across both model variants.

There are very few differences between the two model grades on the inside, with the seats, alloy shifter paddles, and trim finishes being the only real standouts. You’ll notice a lack of an adjustable suspension button around the Alfa ‘DNA’ drive mode selector, indicating a noticeable hardware difference between the two. More on that below.

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2023 alfa romeo tonale infotainment screen
10.25-Inch touchscreen infotainment with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto | Image: Supplied

In my short time using the 10.25-Inch touchscreen infotainment with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto I had no issues connecting my phone or accessing any features. It’s swift to respond, never hangs, and has great modern Alfa graphics and fonts. You can even display technical gauges such as oil temp, transmission temp, and 12v battery voltage. Although, I’m not sure what anyone is meant to do with this information.

Maybe my only complaint about the interior is a wireless charger that simply refuses to hold your phone still, meaning the connection constantly disconnects. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto suck a lot of power out of your phone and a good wireless charger is mandatory. The rubber case on my Samsung S23 Ultra should, in theory, help hold the phone still.

Standard Interior Features on the Alfa Romeo Tonale ‘Ti’:

  • Carbon Cloth and Leatherette Seats with Beige Stitching and embossed headrest finisher
  • Sporty 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
  • Aluminium Pedals

Additional Interior Features on the Alfa Romeo Tonale ‘Veloce’:

  • Perforated black Alcantara and Leatherette Seats with embroidered “Biscione” logo and red stitching
  • Red accent stitching on doors and centre console trims
  • Aluminium Door Sills
  • Aluminium Gear Shift Paddles

Standard Comfort Features on the Alfa Romeo Tonale Ti:

  • 10.25-Inch Touchscreen Infotainment and Navigation System
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Digital radio
  • 6 speakers
  • 12.3-Inch “Cannocchiale” TFT Instrument Cluster
  • Alfa™ Connect Services with voice assistant
  • Wireless Charging Pad
  • Front and Rear USB A/C Ports
  • Keyless Entry and Go
  • Dual Zone Air Conditioning
  • Electric park brake with auto hold
  • 6-way manual-adjustable front seats with powered driver lumbar

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What powers the 2023 alfa romeo tonale
1.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with 48V mild hybrid battery system | Image: Supplied

What Powers the Alfa Romeo Tonale?

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Specifications
Engine1.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with 48V mild hybrid battery system
Power118kW at 5750rpm
Torque240Nm at 1500rpm
Drive-typeFront-wheel drive
Transmission7-speed dual-clutch transmission

Both Alfa Romeo Tonale models in Australia share the same basic engine architecture. A 1.5-litre 4-cylinder, petrol engine coupled with 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and a 48V mild hybrid battery system. Together, the engine and hybrid system combine for a modest power figure of 118kW at 5750rpm and 240Nm at 1500rpm. In short, it isn’t quick.

2023 alfa romeo tonale veloce on the road
Unlike Alfas of the past, the brand has a focus on achieving great fuel economy | Image: Supplied

How Does the Alfa Romeo Tonale Drive?

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Performance
Top speed212km/h
Acceleration0-100km/h in 8.8 seconds
Fuel consumption5.6 litres per 100km

Unlike Alfas of the past, the brand has a focus on achieving great fuel economy rather than outright performance and the acceleration figures should tell you such. While it just scrapes under the 10-second barrier on its way to achieving a 0-100km/h time of 8.8 seconds, the Tonale Hybrid does offer great fuel economy figures of 5.6L/100km.

Expect to see a plug-in hybrid make its way into the lineup within the next year that will undoubtedly feel a little quicker when you pull away from the traffic lights.

My first impression when driving from Adelaide to our overnight accommodation in the Adelaide Hills was that of intrigue. While a typical mild-hybrid setup uses a belt-powered generator-motor unit driven off the engine to supply power to a small battery, the Tonale combines its 48-volt mild-hybrid system with a gear-driven 15kW/55Nm e-motor. On paper, this should be more responsive and seamless.

2023 alfa romeo tonale veloce on the road rear end
Don’t get me wrong, once the Tonale gets moving the gearbox works very well | Image: Supplied

However, the dual-clutch transmission and hybrid system seem to speak two completely different languages. It took VW a decade to iron out the clunkiness in its dual-clutch gearboxes and it seems like Alfa Romeo is still figuring this one out.

Don’t get me wrong, once the Tonale gets moving the gearbox works very well. But I can’t help but think introducing a gear-driven 48-volt mild-hybrid system into the equation unnecessarily complicates things. It’s not something buyers care about on a technical level.

Once you get moving, the Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid begins to elevate itself over cars like the Toyota RAV4 in driving dynamics. The driving modes really work and they’re more than just a rev-hanging gimmick.

The Veloce gains ‘Active Dual-Stage Valve Suspension’ with electronically controlled damping via a little button located on the ‘DNA’ driving mode switch. With this you can unlock the true sweet spot of the Tonale; Dynamic Mode ‘D’ mode with soft suspension.

It’s planted on the road, sure-footed, and with 345mm front / 305mm rear Brembo callipers on the Veloce you can enter a corner with confidence.

Dynamic ‘D’ mode sharpens everything up to the point the car feels willing and fun to drive. Natural Mode ‘N’ is where you’ll find yourself on a daily commute, while Advanced Efficiency Mode ‘A’ mode really dumbs down the response from the accelerator pedal. I’d left the Veloce in ‘N’ mode most of the time.

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2023 alfa romeo tonale veloce safety 1
Standard across the range is Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, High Beam Assist (HBA), and 6 airbags | Image: Supplied

Is the Alfa Romeo Tonale Safe?

To assist the driver with parking Alfa has included a 360° Surround View Camera, Level 2 Autonomous Driving (Traffic Jam Assist), Side Parking Sensors, Blind Spot Detection, and Auto-Dimming Rear Mirrors as standard in the Veloce model (optional for Ti). Standard across the range is Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, High Beam Assist (HBA), and 6 airbags.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale garners a 5-star ANCAP rating after testing to the maximum 5 stars in Euro NCAP.

A full list of standard equipment can be found below.

Safety and Driver Assistance Features on Alfa Romeo Tonale ‘Ti’:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go
  • High Beam Assist (HBA)
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with vulnerable road users
  • Lane Support System (Lane Departure Warning + Lane Keep Assist)
  • Driver drowsy detection
  • 6 airbags
  • Front and Rear Parking Sensors with Backup Camera and dynamic lines
  • Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Assist
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
  • Spare wheel

Alfa Romeo Tonale ‘Veloce’ Adds the Following as Standard (optional in the Ti):

  • Level 2 Autonomous Driving (Traffic Jam Assist)
  • Side Parking Sensors
  • 360° Surround View Camera
  • Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Path

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2023 alfa romeo tonale veloce at a galnce
With a great interior, good driving dynamics at speed, and best-in-class looks, I really want to love the Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid | Image: Supplied

Man of Many’s Verdict on the Alfa Romeo Tonale

With a great interior, good driving dynamics at speed, and best-in-class looks, I really want to love the Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid. However, it’s hard to look past a complicated powertrain that often stumbles over itself at lower speeds and seems like a filler option for our market until the headlining PHEV arrives.

In speaking with those who’ve driven the plug-in hybrid Tonale, I’ve heard that it completely removes any of the low-speed clunkiness. I look forward to driving it when it touches down in Australia.

For now, the $49,900 AUD before on-road costs Ti grade Tonale is the model I’d lean towards for its value proposition. And while the Veloce is the clear favourite when it comes to driving dynamics, this Alfa is best treated as a frugal city runabout that can take the family for longer journeys if necessary.

Note: Man of Many attended the Alfa Romeo Tonale launch as a guest of Stellantis, with travel, accommodation and meals provided.

2023 alfa romeo tonale rear three quarter
Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid Ti Standard Features | Image: Supplied

Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid Ti Standard Features

Exterior, which includes:

  • Glossy Black Painted Body Kit with Satin Chrome Inserts
  • Ti Badge on Fenders
  • Automatic Full LED Matrix Headlights with Adaptive Driving Beam and dynamic turn indicator
  • 18-Inch Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels
  • Gloss Black Painted Electrical-Folding Heated Exterior Mirrors with Italian Flag
  • Body-coloured Rear Spoiler and Door Handles

Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid Veloce Standard Features

Exterior, which includes:

  • Dark Miron “Scudetto” Front Grille Finish
  • Dark Miron Body Kit with Matte Inserts
  • Alfa Scudetto with Dark Finishing
  • Privacy Glass
  • Glossy Black daylight opening
  • Brembo Red Brake Calipers
  • 19-Inch Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels

Comfort, which includes:

  • Alfa Active Dual-Stage Valve Suspensions
  • Auto-Dimming Exterior Rear-view Mirrors

Alfa Romeo Tonale Options

  • Dual Pane Panoramic Sunroof (both models).
  • 20-Inch Grey Finish Alloy Wheels (only Veloce).

Lusso Pack, which includes:

  • Heated Front Seats
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Heated Washer Nozzle
  • Perforated Black Leather-Accented Seats with dark grey stitching
  • Dark grey accent stitching (front centre armrest and door pad)
  • Ventilated Front Seats
  • Electric 8-Way Driver and Passenger Seats with Driver Memory Function
  • 14-speaker 465-watt Harmon Kardon Sound System

Technology Pack (standard on the Veloce), which includes:

  • Level 2 Autonomous Driving (Traffic Jam Assist)
  • Side Parking Sensors
  • 360° Surround View Camera
  • Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Path
  • Auto-Dimming Exterior Rear Mirrors

Additional standard and optional features, including the choice of colours, can be found below.

Warranty and Servicing for Alfa Romeo Tonale

This is how much the Alfa Romeo Tonale costs to service in Australia.

  • 1 year/ 15,000km – $545
  • 2 year/ 15,000km- $645
  • 3 years/ 15,000km- $545
  • 4 years/ 15,000km- $1345
  • 5 years/ 15,000km- $595

Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid Colour List

The following colours are available on the Alfa Romeo Tonale in Australia.

  • Alfa White
  • Alfa Red
  • Alfa Black
  • Vesuvio Grey Metallic
  • Misano Blue Metallic
  • Montreal Green Tri-Coat (only on the Veloce).

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Ben McKimm
Journalist - Automotive & Tech

Ben McKimm

Ben lives in Sydney, Australia. He has a Bachelor's Degree (Media, Technology and the Law) from Macquarie University (2020). Outside of his studies, he has spent the last decade heavily involved in the automotive, technology and fashion world. Turning his passion and expertise into a Journalist position at Man of Many where he continues to write about everything that interests the modern man. Conducting car reviews on both the road and track, hands-on reviews of cutting-edge technology and employing a vast knowledge in the space of fashion and sneakers to his work. One day he hopes to own his own brand.