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Alfa Romeo Tonale preview

What's this?
It’s the next piece in Alfa Romeo’s jigsaw, a small crossover to sit beneath the Stelvio in the revived Italian manufacturer’s portfolio. It’s called the Alfa Romeo Tonale and it was shown in concept form at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

What will its rivals be?
Alfa will leverage its Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) connections and employ existing chassis technology and engines for the Tonale, with the Italian crossover sitting on the same platform as the Jeep Renegade and Compass models. Alfa will pitch the Tonale as an upmarket crossover to take on the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Lexus UX, Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40, although it could also conceivably be considered an alternative to the likes of the Ford Kuga, Opel Grandland X, Peugeot 3008 and SEAT Ateca class of vehicles.

Any tech info?
As already stated, the chassis is the same as the Compass and Renegade models, so it’s likely some of those engines will be carried over. The only confirmed unit so far is a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid, likely to be the drivetrain used in the Jeeps, which is a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine plus electric ancillaries, delivering 240hp. It’s likely that the same 1.3-litre unit will also be used elsewhere in the range as a pure petrol option, while turbodiesel engines could also be on the cards. As yet, there is no confirmation of whether a performance Quadrifoglio version will be forthcoming.

What will the range be like?
Again, not a lot of detail on the Tonale at this stage, but it could follow the Stelvio pattern of Super, Speciale and Veloce, with a Milano Edition also a possibility. Most Tonales will likely be front-wheel drive, although the Jeeps on the same platform are available with four-wheel drive and their plug-in hybrid derivatives are also AWD, so the Alfa version could have all-corners traction, at least as an option with some engines. What we do know is that, between the concept appearing at Geneva 2019 and leaked images in October of the same year, the appearance of the Tonale was toned-down somewhat, with more conventional head- and taillights for the near-production crossover replacing the triple-lensed units of the concept car. However, its hidden rear door handles (to make the Tonale look coupe-like in profile) appear to have survived.

Expectations?
High, because the two recent Alfa Romeos – the Giulia and the Stelvio – have been excellent. However, Alfa needs the Tonale to be even more of a critical (and, crucially, a commercial) success than either of its two immediate predecessors, because the compact crossover segment is a highly lucrative one. Alfa needs to make the car accessible to everyday users, while at the same time preserving the marque’s traditional sporting DNA. That’s a tricky balancing act to have to pull off.

Author: Carzone

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