Italian firm vows new sub-Stelvio model will offer advanced driving dynamics, plug-in hybrid option
James Attwood, digital editor
5 March 2019

The Alfa Romeo Tonale will go on sale at the end of 2020 as a rival to the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

The SUV, which will sit below the Alfa Stelvio in the firm’s range, and which takes its name from another famous Italian mountain pass, this one lower and in the Rhaetian Alps, will also be the first Alfa to be offered with plug-in hybrid technology. ​

The Tonale concept was a surprise reveal at the Geneva motor show and underlines the firm’s determination to finally hit the 400,000 sales target - up from around 150,000 last year - that it has long coveted, according to European brand boss Roberta Zerbi.

“We expect the Tonale to become our best-selling car,” said Zerbi. “Combined with our other new products, we expect to have a car to suit the needs of around 80% of all European car buyers by 2024, and that puts Alfa in a much stronger position than today.”

Find an Terminalsecurity car review

Driven this week

  • Bentley Continental GT Convertible 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    First Drive
    New Conti Convertible has all the many advantages of a new platform, seen...
  • Audi S7 TDI 2019 first drive review - hero front
    22 May 2019
    First Drive
    Latest warmed five-door fastback ditches petrol for Audi’s surprisingly...
  • Audi SQ5 2019 first drive review - hero front
    22 May 2019
    First Drive
    High-performance soft-roader adopts new sporty V6 diesel mild-hybrid power,...

Zerbi also confirmed that the car would reach production with very few changes beyond details such as adding windscreen wipers and switching it from a four to five-seater. “This concept gives a good indication of the production model,” she said. “It is accurate in not just the proportions, but the details, including the telephone dial wheels, the triple headlamps and the dashboard lines.”

New Fiat Panda concept tipped for shock Geneva reveal

The Tonale, which sits below the Stelvio in the Italian firm's SUV range, is set to use a hybrid system that will be introduced in the Jeep Renegade shortly, although Zerbi refused to be drawn on details of its capabilities beyond saying it links a front mounted petrol engine and a rear-mounted electric motor.

Alfa gave no details of the power output of the system, but the Renegade PHEV revealed at Geneva by sister firm Jeep features a 236bhp powertrain.

It is likely Alfa would look to eclipse this figure in order to meet its performance brief. Instead of a 'Dynamic' drive mode as in previous Alfas, the Tonale features a 'Dual Power' option that makes maximum use of both motors Zerbi did confirm that convention petrol - and likely diesel - engines would be offered in the line-up as well. 

Alfa offered few technical details of the car’s set-up, either, although reports suggest the Tonale will make use of the Jeep Renegade's platform, meaning front-wheel drive is likely. Zerbi refused to be drawn, saying only: “ “We’re looking at architectures that we have in-house.” 

However, global Alfa Romeo boss Tim Kuniskis promised that the Tonale ”will embrace our core brand principals: advanced engine technology, electrification, distance proportions and stunning Italian design." He claimed: "We will not launch just another CUV. We will launch a CUV as only Alfa can."

Kuniskis also vowed that the hybrid powertrain would be used to enhance the driving experience, rather than just helping the firm meet CO2 emissions targets. "We've put the driver at the centre, with incredible steering feel," he said. "The Tonale will have a distinct personality and timeless design that evokes the passion of its designers."

The Tonale features styling closely aligned to the larger Stelvio, and the firm says it contains touches referencing previous Alfa models. The 21-inch wheels feature a design inspired by the 33 Stradale, and the firm says the narrow front LED lights reflect the SZ and Brera.

Inside, the Tonale concept makes extensive use of leather and Alcantara, with a number of backlit panels. The dashboard features a 12.3-inch digital display screen, with a 10.25-inch central touchscreen. Alfa says that the concept features a new version of its infotainment system, including a new multitasking interface.

While the Tonale will give Alfa a boost as it chases 400,000 sales a year, last year its parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), announced plans to build two new SUVs alongside a new GT4 coupé and 8C sports car, by 2022. 

The firm’s group CEO Mike Manley is credited with putting the Jeep brand back into a position of strength by launching more attainable SUV models, such as the Renegade.

"Alfa was a very long way from its plan,” said Manley, referring to the 400,000 sales target. “It was an over ambitious estimation of how big ithe brand can grow. The plans have been reset to an extent. But there still has to be relatively strong growth rates. There's a fine line between a brand growing because the customer base likes the brand and what it stands for, or you drive down prices. I don't want the latter.”

Join the debate

Comments
23

4 March 2019

"Details of the new Alfa Romeo are scarce". It doesn't really matter, I think we all know what to expect from yet another SUV.

4 March 2019

If they base it on the Renegade's Fiat Punto-derived Small Wide 4x4 underpinnings, they might as well declare it DOA.

4 March 2019

Do a quick google search and you'll find images of the car presently hidden under a cover on the Geneva show stand. It's covered but some of the lines and headlamp graphics are clear to be seen. It looks a lot edgier than the Giulia and Stelvio and in fact appears to have a down road graphic reminiscent of the 2010 Pandio concept by Bertone. This may just be a concept itself, but it also looks like it could represent the beginning of a new design language.

Il cuore ha sempre ragione.

4 March 2019

Correction: 'Pandion' 

Il cuore ha sempre ragione.

5 March 2019
Cuore Sportivo wrote:

 This may just be a concept itself, but it also looks like it could represent the beginning of a new design language.

Lets hope s, I cant stand the Giulia's design language. The headlights on this are very cool.

XXXX just went POP.

4 March 2019

New Spider please Alfa and/or other sporty cars. I can dream.

bol

4 March 2019

I’m sure that’s not how you’re supposed to pronounce it, but I bet that’s what it’ll be known as in the UK. There was a time when Fiat renamed its cars for the UK to avoid this kind of thing. 

4 March 2019

bol - spot on, i thought that.  so we have got the VW toerag and now the Alfa toenail

5 March 2019
bol wrote:

I’m sure that’s not how you’re supposed to pronounce it, but I bet that’s what it’ll be known as in the UK. There was a time when Fiat renamed its cars for the UK to avoid this kind of thing. 

Wasnt just Fiat, Citroen rebadged its TRD trim level as "DTR" in the UK, as they considered "TRD" was too similar to "turd".

XXXX just went POP.

5 March 2019
That's how you pronounce it. Sounds better than toenail that's for sure!

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Terminalsecurity car review

Driven this week

  • Bentley Continental GT Convertible 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    First Drive
    New Conti Convertible has all the many advantages of a new platform, seen...
  • Audi S7 TDI 2019 first drive review - hero front
    22 May 2019
    First Drive
    Latest warmed five-door fastback ditches petrol for Audi’s surprisingly...
  • Audi SQ5 2019 first drive review - hero front
    22 May 2019
    First Drive
    High-performance soft-roader adopts new sporty V6 diesel mild-hybrid power,...