Alfa Romeo’s electrification has been a long time coming. But the Italian luxury carmaker’s upcoming plug-in hybrid SUV, the Tonale, aims to look toward forecasted auto trends. With a touted lower price and promising future, the Tonale is Alfa Romeo’s great hope to rival BMW crossovers such as the X5. Can the Tonale go the distance?
Based on early comparisons, Alfa Romeo will have to wait before making its ambitious PHEV fantasy into a prosperous reality.
The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale at a glance
At its core, the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale crossover SUV has plenty going for it. Parent company Stellantis says the PHEV will harness 256 hp and go from 0 to 60 mph in about six seconds. The engine stands toe-to-toe with the competition, and the SUV will boast a 30-mile electric-only range.
However, the Tonale’s specs aren’t finalized because the company hasn’t released exact numbers.
Furthermore, Alfa Romeo has yet to release pricing, though observers expect the 2023 Tonale MSRP to start at about $38,000 and top out around $50,000, undercutting the BMW X5 by more than $20,000.
As for the interior, the Tonale will offer support for Apple Airplay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and other popular tech systems. In addition, the infotainment system will be ready to upgrade as the tech and firmware improve, thanks to a Linux-powered computer.
But despite those positives, the expected price advantage might not be enough to give the Tonale the splashy introduction it deserves. After all, BMW is already the bigger brand, so any attempt to dethrone it could end poorly.
A look at the Alfa Romeo Tonale’s formidable rival, the BMW X5 xDrive45e
Starting at a staggering $63,700, the 2022 BMW X5 xDrive45e plug-in hybrid is superior to the Alfa Romeo Tonale despite the hefty price. According to Car and Driver, not only does the X5 have a leg up when it comes to the German automaker’s electric past, but it also blows the Tonale out of the water in terms of performance.
The X5 gets 46 MPGe on the battery and 28 mpg overall. And though the Tonale’s actual numbers remain to be seen, they appear far lower than what Stellantis has implied.
The X5’s 389 hp pushes the SUV from 0 to 60 in 4.7 seconds. That’s a significant improvement over the Tonale’s purported power. Inside the X5, the infotainment system includes two 12.3-inch screens and boasts gesture controls and a knob that lets the driver adjust to their preferences.
Though the Tonale’s price point could make it a cost-effective alternative to the X5 xDrive45e, it might take more to get potential buyers to choose Alfa Romeo over BMW. Furthermore, the gas-powered X5 models far outperform their specs. Thus, the road ahead might not be as smooth as Stellantis would like.
A long road ahead
The Alfa Romeo Tonale will be the brand’s first PHEV. However, the BMW X5 is already a favorite in the industry. However, it wouldn’t be fair to declare the Tonale dead on arrival preemptively. But if Alfa Romeo wants to compete with BMW, Ford, and other established giants, the company will have to close those gaps and ensure the Tonale’s presence is felt beyond potential.
Frugal consumers will like the Tonale if it offers value. However, if Alfa Romeo plans to move to a fully electric lineup by 2027, as it has stated, it cannot waste too many years on promises and forecasts.
As of now, the Tonale looks to be an adequate crossover with an unknown price. That price, however, could be the difference between whether it lives or dies. Otherwise, Alfa Romeo spent a lot of money on a product that’s already well behind the competition.