Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid review (2024): A stunning SUV!

The Tonale is Alfa Romeo’s first plug-in hybrid and the Italian automaker’s foray into the compact crossover SUV market. It also is the manufacturer’s latest model after almost a six-year hiatus.

Entering into new territory, Alfa Romeo is using the Tonale to not only appeal to a new audience but also test its customers’ appetite for an electrified vehicle. Indeed, the company’s roadmap involves more hybrids and of course, fully electric models.

If you’d prefer to watch a review of the Alfa Romeo Tonale, head on over to our YouTube channel.

Alfa Romeo Tonale price & competition

At the time of writing and in the UK, the Tonale hybrid is £5,975 dearer than the equivalent MHEV model and is equally available in three trims: Ti at £45,995, Veloce at £48,495 and the Speciale at £44,595. The latter is a special launch edition per se – you can find a detailed breakdown of the differences and the available options, below (click to expand):

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When it comes to its competitors, there are plenty of PHEVs to consider, here’s a small selection: the Nissan Juke Hybrid from £27,250; Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid from £36,170; Citroen C5 X Hybrid from £36,470; Peugeot 3008 Hybrid from £37,310; Mercedes GLA 250 e (£39,995); Audi Q3 TFSIe from £38,335; BMW X2 xDrive 25e from £39,390; DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 4×4 from £41,550; Range Rover Evoque P300e PHEV £43,850; BMW X3 xDrive30e from £50,600; and the Audi Q5 TFSIe from £51,015.

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There are also numerous fully electric models on the market. Here are a few somewhat comparable alternatives to consider: the Kia Niro EV from £36,795; Volkswagen ID.4 from £38,845; Skoda Enyaq iV from £38,970; Hyundai Ioniq 5 from £43,150; Tesla Model Y from £44,990; Kia EV6 from £45,245; Nissan Ariya from £46,145; Audi Q4 e-tron from £49,215; Volkswagen ID.5 from £50,710; Ford Mustang Mach-E from £50,830; Mercedes EQA 250 from £52,010; BMW iX3 from £64,165; and the Jaguar I-Pace from £69,995.

Read next: Skoda Enyaq iV review: The Volkswagen ID.4 alternative

Alfa Romeo Tonale exterior review

No matter the competition, the Tonale stands out with its gorgeous exterior design and is arguably the best-looking in its segment. It follows the automaker’s DNA with aggressive styling at the front and rear. From the side, there are unique five-hole alloy wheels: 18″ on the Ti, the pictured 19″ on the Veloce and 20″ on the Speciale. Of course, the larger 19″ and 20″ are available as an option for both the Ti and Veloce trims, respectively.

As for your colour options, the Tonale like almost every other Alfa Romeo, comes in Alfa Red as standard. For an additional £350 you can opt for a solid white or black finish instead. The metallic Misano Blue and Vesuvio Grey will set you back £700, while the sumptuous Montreal Green (pictured) a cool £1,500.

In terms of towing capacity, the Tonale plug-in hybrid has a 1,250kg braked and 700kg unbraked load rating, while the roof can take an additional 50kg.

Read next: Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid review: Better than BMW X2?

Alfa Romeo Tonale interior review

Given its stunning exterior design, it’s only fitting that the vehicle’s interior is equally represented. Indeed, the stitching work is exquisite and the choice of materials throughout the cabin, while not at the top echelons of quality, look the part.

It is, however, the cabin’s practical design that stands out over some of its modern rivals. There are physical buttons on the steering wheel, oversized and clicky paddle shifters behind it, easy-to-reach climate controls towards the centre of the dashboard and a premium-feeling gear selector and associated buttons by the centre console.

Alfa Romeo’s more ‘traditional’ approach with the Tonale isn’t to say it’s got outdated tech within the cabin. Far from it, as the 10.25″ touchscreen infotainment system is responsive, vivid, plus supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay over a wired and wireless connection. Better still, if you choose to connect your Android smartphone over Bluetooth, you’ll find the highest quality LDAC codec supported, which is extremely rare. To put it into perspective, we’ve reviewed over 70 vehicles and solely the Fiat 500 Electric supports LDAC; the Tonale now joins this very exclusive list.

Speaking of audio playback, the Tonale has six speakers (four at the front, two at the rear) across all trim levels. Should you want to upgrade to a nine-speaker configuration that includes a subwoofer, you’ll have to splash out on the Leather and Harman Kardon pack, which will cost you an additional £2,150. It’s a shame that for the audiophiles, the automaker hasn’t chosen to include the HK system separately at a cheaper price. Nonetheless, the punchy stock system should suffice for most consumers.

Moving to the instrument cluster, you’ll find a fully digitalized 12.3″ display. It’s pretty customisable and provides the driver with plenty of useful information; we’re particularly fond of the charge/power screen, which indicates how much is being generated or drawn by the petrol engine, the electric motor and the 15.5 kWh battery pack.

The only downside is that there’s no Head-Up Display (HUD), be it fitted as standard in the top-spec Veloce trim or even available as an option to consumers who’d appreciate its inclusion.

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Alfa Romeo Tonale storage review

On the other hand, there is a wireless smartphone charging pad included as standard across the entire range. It resides next to a USB Type-A and Type-C port, and the 12V socket. Further down, you’ll find two cupholders and a sizeable storage compartment within the centre armrest. The glove box and the front door bins are also very accommodating.

At the rear, there are two cupholders comprised within the pull-down armrest, and small areas within the rear portion of the front seats and the door bins. It is a shame that none of the door bins are lined with any fabric, which means loose change or keys will be heard rattling around.

Should you want to transport larger goods, you’ll want to utilise the boot. There’s 385 litres with the seats in place and 1,430 litres with them folded down. Here’s how the Tonale stacks up to a selection of electrified SUVs: Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e (1,179/1,794 litres); Tesla Model Y (854/2,100 litres); Skoda Enyaq iV (585/1,710 litres); Jaguar I-Pace (656/1,453 litres); VW ID.5 (549/1,561 litres); VW ID.4 (543/1,575 litres); Hyundai Ioniq 5 (520/1,587 litres); Skoda Octavia iV Estate (490/1,555 litres); Citroen C5 X Hybrid (485/1,580 litres); Kia EV6 (490/1,300 litres); Range Rover Evoque P300e (591/1,383 litres); Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid (345/1,475 litres); BMW X2 xDrive 25e (410/1,290 litres); Nissan Juke Hybrid (354/1,237 litres); Honda HR-V (320/1,290 litres).

In terms of practicality, the Tonale plug-in hybrid has an electric tailgate with a hatchback design, 60:40 rear-split folding seats with an integrated ski latch and a large underfloor compartment for your charging cables and accessories. The only downside is that the loading bay isn’t quite flat and that the boot load cover can’t be concealed within the underfloor compartment.

Read next: Honda HR-V review: Best hybrid SUV?

Alfa Romeo Tonale comfort review

Apart from transporting luggage, the Tonale is pretty well-versed in providing its occupants with a comfortable experience. All seats are accommodating and soft, with the front two having 6-way manual controls with the driver’s seat also featuring 4-way electric lumbar support. Should you want 8-way electric controls and ventilated seats for both the driver and passenger, you’ll have to splash out £2,150 on the Leather and Harman Kardon Pack. The £450 Winter Pack adds a heated steering wheel, front seats and a washer nozzle; rather disappointing that these do not come fitted as standard. It’s no surprise, however, that a panoramic sunroof will cost you an additional £1,250.

No matter what you pick, headroom and legroom at the front of the cabin are a non-issue. As for the rear, it’s a bit more limited in both areas, especially if the individuals sitting here are 6-foot 2-inches (188cm) tall. Granted, the Tonale won’t compete with larger-sized SUVs, but in the C-segment market, it’s not too shabby. Furthermore, it’s fantastic to see that the automaker has optimised the transmission tunnel, keeping it down to a minimum; this allows for the rear middle occupant to comfortably place their feet down.

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Moving onto cabin noise, the 1.3-litre engine can be heard chugging away at the front of the cabin. However, when in EV mode the vehicle is quieter. Still, there is road noise that creeps in through the tyres and wind can be heard whistling away from the side mirrors. The Tonale doesn’t provide the most serene driving experience but one shouldn’t expect a sportier SUV to be deadly quiet.

Read next: Citroen C5 X review: Hybrid perfection?

Alfa Romeo Tonale performance review

However, you would think the Tonale should handle itself well around windy country roads, and indeed it does. There’s a real sense of fun driving it around windy country roads, with the vehicle’s 53% front and 47% rear weight distribution, and 1,910kg kerb weight providing bettered handling dynamics over some of its competitors.

However, it is somewhat let down by its disjointed steering input. In some ways, it’s similar to the Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid; both are better poised than the likes of the Citroen C5 X Hybrid, the Honda HR-V or similar, but don’t quite match the driver’s feel of the BMW X2 xDrive 25e.

Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid engine

Compared to the BMW and Cupra, however, the Tonale’s suspension system is much kinder to your lower back. Especially in the Veloce trim (or for an additional £800 in the Speciale), with the Dual Stage Valve (DSV) suspension providing an adaptive setup that attempts to soak up anomalies and potholes. Yet again, it won’t dethrone some of its competitors, such as the Citroen C5 X Hybrid in providing a cushiony soft feel, but the DSV system is still better than traditional coil setups.

On that note, the suspension system can be altered on the fly via the drive mode selector. The Dynamic (D) preset stiffens up the suspension and the steering wheel, and reduces brake travel by roughly 15%. In said mode, the 1.3-litre four-cylinder front-mounted petrol engine will also be prioritised.

However, to attain its peak power output of 206 kW (280 hp) and 270 Nm of torque, the Tonale hybrid requires the rear-mounted 90 kW electric motor and the 15.5 kWh battery to be in operation. When you initiate a kick-down or simply want more power, the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) cleverly determines where to draw its power from and by doing so, both power modes will seamlessly operate in tandem.

Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid wheels

Using Racelogic’s Performance Box Touch, we had it tested from 0-20mph in 2.08s, 0-30mph in 2.95s, 0-60mph in 6.38s and from 50-70mph in just 2.91s. Max speed is rated at 128mph in hybrid mode and 84mph in pure EV mode. These clocked times aren’t too bad given what its competitors offer, however, for an Alfa Romeo it does lack a bit of punch. One might have expected the automaker to come out all guns blazing given its pedigree in motorsport and the perception of its vehicles offering unrivalled performance for the price. The Tonale hasn’t quite hit the mark in this instance but will suffice for new customers coming to the brand, or simply those who don’t prioritise straight-line speed in an SUV.

Ironically, the Tonale has oversized flappy paddles to allow you to shift through the vehicle’s six-speed automatic transmission. The clicky feel combined with the buttery smooth gears, provide for a responsive and excellent feel in manual mode, which is initiated by shifting the gear selector to the left.

This brings us to the drivetrain, as in manual mode Advanced Efficiency (A) is disabled. This is because said mode prioritises the rear-mounted electric motor, effectively allowing you to drive without emitting any tailpipe emissions. This, in turn, also locks the Tonale into a rear-wheel drive (RWD) configuration. Should you pop it into Natural (N) mode, it will engage the front-mounted engine and operate in an electronically-controlled all-wheel drive configuration (eAWD). Indeed, the engine is not mechanically connected to the rear axle or the electric motor, so the communication between both is done electronically via the ECU.

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To confuse matters even further, when the Dynamic preset is chosen, the Tonale prioritises the engine, effectively turning it into a front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicle instead. When the full whack of power is required, the ECU kicks the electric motor into life and it then switches to an eAWD setup. Baffling, to say the least, but it does its job extraordinarily well with no notable lag between the two modes of power; effectively, it provides you with more confidence on the road as opposed to its rivals that predominantly opt for either an FWD or RWD setup.

Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid selector

It is also worth highlighting that when the 15.5 kWh battery is depleted and there’s no electric range remaining, the vehicle will still operate as an eAWD if and when required – indeed, the engine powers the 90 kW electric motor to make this a reality.

Getting every ounce of power is important but so is maximising fuel efficiency. Arguably, it’s the PHEV’s key selling point over its MHEV sibling. From its 42.5-litre fuel tank and 15.5 kWh battery, we netted around 48 MPG in our quite spirited driving tests, which is a very respectable figure for a sporty SUV.

Comparing it to other hybrids, the Tonale PHEV sits somewhat in the middle: the Citroen C5 X Hybrid managed an impressive 74.2 MPG, the Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid 64 MPG, the VW Passat Estate GTE 60-65 MPG, the Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid 58 MPG, the Skoda Octavia iV Estate and Honda HR-V 55 MPG, the Honda Jazz 51 MPG, the Range Rover Evoque P300e 40 MPG, the BMW X2 xDrive 25e 39 MPG, the Nissan Juke Hybrid 35-40 MPG, the Jeep Renegade 4xe attained 36 MPG and the Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e a measly 35 MPG.

It is worth pointing out that very much like the other hybrids we have tested, we depleted the Tonale’s electric range and drove on for quite a while on an empty battery. Indeed, this is due to a relatively small 15.5 kWh battery pack, which nets around 35 miles of pure electric range. Should you drive shorter distances and plug-in to charge, you’ll hit closer to the manufacturer’s wild claim of 188.3-217.3 MPG on the WLTP combined test cycle.

As for the vehicle’s total driving range, you should be able to drive between 300-350 miles without having to stop, of course depending on how and where you drive.

Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid charger

Nonetheless, to be as efficient as possible and to help maximise the Tonale’s electric range, Alfa Romeo has integrated a brake-by-wire system for regenerative braking. When the brake pedal is depressed it’ll feed some kinetic energy back into the 15.5 kWh battery pack. While useful, it’s a shame that one cannot adjust the aggressiveness; there aren’t any flappy paddles nor a means of enabling or disabling regenerative braking.

To top up the vehicle’s battery at a much more rapid rate, you’ll find a Type 2 port. The onboard charger is rated at 7.4 kW, which allows a full charge from empty in just two hours and 30 minutes using an appropriate wallbox. Connected to a 3-pin socket it’ll take five hours and 30 minutes, instead.

Read next: BMW X2 xDrive25e review: A sporty hybrid crossover

Alfa Romeo Tonale safety review

When it comes to safety, the Tonale achieved 5/5 stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. It scored 83% in Adult Occupancy, 85% in Child Occupancy, and an impressive 85% in Safety Assist.

Indeed, the latter score is rather high as there are a plethora of driver assistance systems built-in as standard: Drowsy Driver Detection, Emergency braking, pedestrian and vulnerable road users, Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA), Lane Support System, Traffic Sign Recognition and Intelligent adaptive cruise control, which does a stellar job of regulating the Tonale’s distance to the leading vehicle and helps alleviate stress on the motorway.

Should you want to up the ante, the autonomous driving pack adds blind spot detection with rear cross path, and Autonomous Driving L2, which adds steering support. The £1,250 pack also adds 360-degree cameras, and front, rear and side sensors. The slightly more expensive £1,500 autonomous pack adds parallel & perpendicular park assist with exit assist.

Speaking of which, the Tonale is easy to manoeuvre thanks to its 11.54m turning circle. It also has front and rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera fitted as standard. Front, side and rear visibility are all excellent too.

Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid review

Read next: Volkswagen ID.5 review: Germany’s best electric SUV?

TotallyEV’s verdict on the Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid

Alfa Romeo’s first plug-in hybrid, the Tonale, is an excellent choice for those who want a relatively efficient, fun-to-drive, feature-packed, compact and supremely stylish SUV. It is, however, not quite perfect. It’s not as fuel efficient as the Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid, it’s not as dynamic or as punchy as the BMW X2 xDrive 25e, not as practical as the Honda HR-V nor as comfortable as the Citroen C5 X Hybrid.

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Nonetheless, the Tonale hybrid is still worth considering over some of its rivals as it might appeal to those who want to get behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo. What do you make of the Tonale? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Christopher Minasians
Christopher is an avid car enthusiast and techie. In his spare time, he reviews the latest consumer electronic products on his YouTube channel, TotallydubbedHD. Elsewhere, he practices Taekwondo, in which he has held a black belt for several years and coaches at a national level. He also speaks fluent English, French, Armenian, and loves to practice freestyle street dance.
alfa-romeo-tonale-hybrid-review-a-stunning-suvThe Alfa Romeo Tonale plug-in hybrid is a supremely stylish and feature-packed compact SUV. It offers good fuel efficiency for a vehicle of its class, is practical and fun to drive. However, it lacks some punch because it houses a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Still, it's well worth considering the Tonale over rival alternatives because it's competitively priced.


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