Just like Maserati, Alfa Romeo has been sharpening the SUV arsenal off late with the intention of being a modern-day (and rather mainstream) luxury car brand. It’s the modern method to success really, as in, there needs to be the ubiquitous premium compact SUV in your portfolio if you want to stick around. The Alfa Romeo Tonale is exactly that and aims to provide a more striking alternative to the swarm of German compact SUVs including the Audi Q3, VW Tiguan, Mazda CX-5 and Skoda Kodiaq.
Is it all good looks again when it comes to the Italian? Sure, but the range has kept up-to-date with the latest tech including mild-hybrid petrol and plug-in hybrids being firmly in the pipeline. Currently, the Tonale gets a 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol with some electrical assistance to bump up the power and torque while a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic takes care of the gearshifts. As a result, this is an Alfa Romeo that you might consider for its lower emissions rather than the usual case of vivacious Italian power and character.
More good news stems from its surprisingly well-made interior as material quality is up to scratch along with the usual duo of two screens plus all the usual tech (Apple Carplay, etc.) However, the steering paddles are long and slender with a nod to driving purists and are a token Alfa trait – we loved them in the Giulia Quadrifoglio – that has slipped through the net. Space is in plenty and augurs well with its family SUV pretensions while practicality has not been overlooked too.
We must also discuss design at this juncture as the Tonale is another knee-trembling design draped carefully on a compact SUV canvas. The proportions and the classic Alfa snout are perfect with no bulbous SUV lines and it’s genuinely one of the more interesting looking compact SUVs to look at.
A compact SUV is a tricky thing to master – especially when you consider the history and brand recall Alfa Romeo holds – but every car manufacturer must make profits and the current range hasn’t exactly troubled its German counterparts. This time, there is a determined effort with the Tonale so much so that every car will come with its own NFT of its service history; thereby improving its resale value.
Australia gets the Tonale next year with the aforementioned petrol mild-hybrids and there’s plenty on offer here to warrant a second look amidst the swarm of faceless SUVs. This is quite literally, the Alfa Romeo of compact SUVs!
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