Can the Hybrid Tonale SUV Turn Alfa Romeo Around?

Despite its long history and heritage, Alfa Romeo is still struggling in the US. This, in light of the merger of FCA and PSA to form Stellantis, makes Alfa’s future somewhat uncertain. But as the Italian brand’s range shrinks, there’s a model on the horizon that could make the difference. It’s an Alfa Romeo Tonale hybrid SUV. But will it be enough to save the brand?

The Tonale SUV will reportedly be Alfa Romeo’s first hybrid.

2019 Alfa Romeo Tonale Concept For 3/4 | Alfa Romeo

The Alfa Romeo Tonale initially debuted as a concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. At the time, it was intended to come under the Stelvio, which at the time of writing is Alfa Romeo’s only SUV (well, crossover). But while the Tonale is not the brand’s first SUV, it is Alfa’s first hybrid, reports Car and Driver.

Alfa Romeo expects a starting price of around $35,000 for the Tonale, reports Car and Driver. And the Alfa Romeo Truneo slips below the Stelvio not only in price, but also in size. It’s based on the same platform as the Jeep Renegade, making it a subcompact crossover/SUV, according to MotorTrend and Autoweek. Think Audi Q3, BMW X2 and Mazda CX-30, according to Autoblog.

2019 Alfa Romeo Tonale Concept interior | Alfa Romeo.

However, the interior of the Alfa Romeo Tonale study will be toned down for production – as is often the case, Automobile reports. But in terms of design elements, the hybrid SUV has a lot in common with modern, classic Alfa Romeo models, both inside and out. This also applies to the DNA disc selector. Although not yet confirmed for the production model, the concept features a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and a 10.25-inch touchscreen in the middle, reports Autoweek.

What we don’t know yet.

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In October 2019, images of a supposed production model leaked on an Italian car forum – reports Alfa Romeo Tonale, Car and Driver. Alfa Romeo has neither confirmed nor denied the rumors.

However, according to Motor1, this is likely to be a half-finished version of the production model for internal comparison with competitors. However, no part of the interior can be seen on the photos.

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The big question, however, is which hybrid powertrain the Alfa Romeo Tonale will use. Car and Driver Music reports that the base model will be front-wheel drive, although all-wheel drive (AWD) is available. MT reports that the Tonale will likely be a plug-in hybrid and could take the powertrain from the Jeep Renegade 4xe. An adaptation that gives a platform to the two common platforms. However, if Alfa Romeo plans to sell a hybrid SUV in the US, it could also use the Wrangler 4xe powertrain.

Will the Alfa Romeo Tonal succeed?

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Despite the Stelvio’s mediocre sales figures, Alfa Romeo seems to be making progress with the Tonale. In 2019, Drive reported that the Italian brand had even cancelled some of its planned high-performance models to develop a hybrid crossover. And Motor1 reports that the Tonale could be released in November 2021 as a 2022 model. According to Car and Driver, the SUV/crossover is expected to debut later this year.

The big question is: Will the sound be enough to turn the tide on Alfa Romeo in the US? Call us optimistic, but it’s not inconceivable. SUVs and crossovers in general are wildly popular these days, whether they’re hybrids or not. In fact, Toyota’s best-selling hybrid in 2019 was not the Prius, but the RAV4, reports GreenCarReports.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2021 | Alfa Romeo

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But for the Tonale and Alfa Romeo to succeed as a whole, the brand needs to address all reliability concerns. Using an existing powertrain should help. It’s also worth noting that apart from the powerful Quadrifoglio version, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a pretty reliable SUV.

So we wait and see.

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