It’s the beginning of a new era for Alfa Romeo as the iconic Italian brand has unveiled its first-ever electrified model, the 2023 Tonale compact SUV. The Tonale is part of a radical evolution taking place at Alfa Romeo, with electrification and connectivity at its center.
Starting with the looks, the Tonale stays quite close to the namesake concept unveiled in 2019, sporting similar proportions and exterior lighting, albeit adapted for production. The full LED matrix headlights and LED taillights retain the signatures yet are thicker than on the concept, the rear door handles are conventional instead of hidden, and the production model gets actual side mirrors instead of cameras.
The Tonale is easily recognizable as an Alfa Romeo thanks to iconic styling cues such as the unmistakable "Trilobo" front end with the "Scudetto" shield at its center, "GT Line" that runs from the rear to the headlights, and telephone dial wheels.
Alfa's first plug-in model is based on an evolution of FCA’s Small Wide (SUSW) platform also used by the Jeep Renegade and Compass, although Alfa Romeo notes that the suspension (fully independent MacPherson setup with Frequency Selective Damping shock absorbers), steering (13.6:1 ratio), and electronic architecture are all-new.
The SUV is 178.3 inches (4.53 meters) long, 72.4 inches (1.84 meters) wide, and 63.0 inches (1.6 meters) high, which makes it similar in size to a BMW X1.
Inside, the Tonale is strongly focused on the driver, with standout features including the 12.3-inch "telescopic" instrument panel, compact steering wheel with a sporty shape and aluminum shift paddles, and 10.25-inch main touchscreen. There’s also the new DNA mode selector on the center console, which allows the driver to switch between three drive modes: Advanced Efficiency (all-electric), Natural (hybrid), and Dual Power/Dynamic (maximum performance).
Gallery: 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale
272-horsepower plug-in hybrid AWD powertrain
Yes, there’s an all-electric mode because the Tonale is the first Alfa Romeo to get a plug-in hybrid powertrain with standard Q4 AWD. It combines a 1.3-liter MultiAir turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine with a high-voltage Belt Starter Generator (BSG), six-speed automatic transmission, a 90 kW (121 hp) electric motor on the rear axle, and 15.5 kWh lithium-ion battery (exclusive to Alfa Romeo).
The total system power is 272 horsepower but more importantly, the all-electric range is estimated at 30 miles (48 km).
The battery pack is mounted low, along in the center of the vehicle, helping the Tonale PHEV achieve 52/48 weight distribution and "unparalleled level of traction and driving pleasure." A full battery charge takes about 2.5 hours when using a Level 2 240-volt charger.
The good news is the US market will get the Tonale plug-in hybrid, with an ICE variant also to be offered in North America—a 256-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four hooked to a 9-speed auto and standard mechanical Q4 AWD system.
Europe will also get two hybrid variants combining a 1.5-liter gasoline engine (with either 128 hp or 158 hp) with a 48-volt electric motor rated at 15 kW (20 hp) and 55 Nm (40 lb-ft) of electric torque.
Each Tonale will have its own NFT digital certificate
In another first for Alfa Romeo (and the industry), the Tonale debuts non-fungible token (NFT) technology, with each vehicle produced to be linked to an NFT digital certificate. The NFT will record vehicle data, generating a certificate that can be used to prove the car's mileage and maintenance history.
The Tonale also packs the latest iteration of the Uconnect 5 in-car tech offering wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, over-the-air capabilities with Alfa Connect, built-in Amazon Alexa, and more.
When it comes to Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale offers available level 2 semi-autonomous driving with Traffic Jam Assist, which works with systems such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Assist, and more.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale will be built at Stellantis's Pomigliano d’Arco plant in Italy on a revamped production line. US customers will be able to place orders in the fourth quarter of 2022, with deliveries to start in the first quarter of 2023.