Alfa’s baby crossover offers efficiency and dynamism in equal measure, with help from Continental’s versatile EcoContact 6.
Despite not having been in the SUV game for as long as many competitors, Alfa Romeo appears to have found its stride pretty quickly. Back in 2017 the Stelvio (the first SUV to come from Milan) shocked with its elegantly penned lines and athletic driving characteristics – proving that SUVs don’t have to be anodyne and generic. So can the Stelvio’s little brother, the Tonale, hit another home run?
Well, straight out the gates the Tonale appears to be a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, as it aims to combine style, efficiency, driver involvement, a lofty SUV driving position, and performance, into one small and perfectly formed package. However, we are happy to report that contrary to the old adage, the Alfa is a master in several of those areas.
Style is certainly covered, but the brand has never struggled on that front. Key Alfa Romeo design language gives this taut-looking crossover a strong brand identity. From the six distinct daytime running lights in the front and rear, to the Teledial wheels, the Tonale is unmistakably Alfa and looks all the better for it.
You’d also expect it to be a thrilling steer given the manufacturer’s illustrious sporting heritage. Again, the Tonale delivers the goods here. Taking the fight to the polished and engaging BMW X1, the Alfa’s quick steering response and agility in the bends is partly owed to the excellent wet and dry grip provided by Continental’s EcoContact 6 tyre.
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When it comes to efficiency, the Tonale makes another compelling case for itself. The fact that plug-in hybrid variants combine 280 hp and a 6.2 second 0-60 mph dash, with 50 miles of electric range and a claimed 235 mpg combined, is impressive whichever way you look at it. Furthermore, if our recent trip to Continental’s proving ground is anything to go by, the low rolling resistance offered by the EcoContact 6 should help drivers to get close to those official figures.
As always with Alfa though, the car’s biggest question mark hovers over the topic of reliability. Although even here, there’s some positive news to report. Despite historically being the punchline of countless build-quality themed jokes, it would appear the Italian brand has turned over a new leaf, with marked improvements in recent owner satisfaction surveys.
So, is the new Alfa Romeo Tonale on your SUV shortlist? If not, it probably should be.