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The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale is the Italian brand’s latest SUV that will hit U.S. dealer showrooms at the end of the month. What’s so special about the Tonale? It’s a compact SUV that happens to be the first vehicle Alfa Romeo has produced in the last five years. It’s also the automaker’s first plug-in hybrid. I recently went to Italy to drive the Tonale and found that it’s as smooth as Italian silk.

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale front corner view
2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale has plenty of power and will save you some money

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale turbocharged engine
2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale will be exclusively offered as a plug-in hybrid in the U.S. market. Other markets will receive a gas-powered version for the base models, but we’re special. I say that because the Tonale will qualify for the current $7,500 federal tax credit whether it’s financed or leased.

That tax credit could put a dent in the car’s $45,000 starting price and possibly lure prospective buyers away from rivals like the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Lexus NX. Regardless, the vehicle’s competitive price is only the icing on the cake compared to what powers it.

The Tonale’s plug-in hybrid powertrain consists of a turbocharged 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission up front and a 121-hp electric motor connected to the rear axle. Together, the combination puts out 285 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque.

The interesting part is that there is no physical connection between the gas engine and the electric motor. That means that the gas engine can’t power the rear wheels, so when the car is in electric-only mode, it’s rear-wheel drive for up to 30 miles, provided its 15.5-kWh battery is fully charged. However, if you put the pedal to the floor, the gas engine will engage for some power assistance and all-wheel drive action.

How long does it take to charge the Alfa Romeo Tonale?

Speaking of charging, Alfa Romeo says that it can take up to 2.5 hours to fully charge the car’s hybrid battery on a level 2 charger. If you use the provided 120-volt home charger, it can take 8 hours. But if you’re looking to fast charge with a public level 3 charge, you’re out of luck. The Tonale doesn’t support that. Fortunately, you can just put gas in the car, but note that fuel economy estimates have not been published as of this writing.

How does the Alfa Romeo Tonale drive?

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale front view next to a building
2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Considering I’m a performance enthusiast, you might think that I only paid attention to the Alfa Romeo Tonale’s visceral power and electrified torque, but you would be wrong. After all, Larry Dominque, Alfa Romeo’s North America’s senior vice president, made it clear in his presentation that the Italian brand is focusing the Tonale sales on young women that care about style and individuality.

But the car itself also serves up a dose of driving excitement for heavy-footed journalists like myself. Upon setting out to the countryside around the Balocco Proving Ground, an hour away from Milan, I noticed that the Tonale was smooth in its low-speed electric operation. I wouldn’t have expected any less.

However, when pushing the accelerator harder, I could hear the gas engine kick on to provide more thrust on the two-lane narrow straightaways I drove on. The transition between the gas engine and electric motor was smooth, and the Italian hillside passed by in a hurry as I explored the car’s powerband. The Tonale provides plenty of passing power, which will work well on large U.S. highways but won’t push you back in your seat.

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale rear view
2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

That’s fine, though. The name of this SUV’s game is refinement, and when driven at normal speeds, the Tonale provides a quiet and predictable experience suitable for those who don’t care for performance. However, for those that do, dialing up the excitement on a back road is as easy as pitching the car into a tight corner and taking advantage of its adaptive suspension.

I drove the top-tier Tonale Veloce, which comes equipped with Alfa’s “DNA” drive mode selection system. Instead of “sport, normal, and eco” like in other cars, Alfa Romeo calls the drive modes “Dynamic,” Natural, and “Advanced Efficiency.” Catchy, right?

Honestly, I couldn’t feel a huge difference between the advanced efficiency and natural modes, but switching to dynamic mode kicked things up a notch. The car sounded a little louder, the steering felt more responsive, and the ride firmed up a little, which made the car feel sportier in every turn I threw it in.

That said, the Tonale doesn’t have a Quadrifoglio trim level, so don’t expect any high-performance versions any time soon. If the clover is what you seek, check out the Stelvio instead.

The Tonale’s interior is refined and comfortable

Performance aside, a big part of the 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale’s driving experience is its interior. The leather and Alcantara-suede front buckets are supportive and provide power adjustability. There’s even plenty of leg and headroom in the backseat. Additionally, all of the controls are within easy reach, and the 10.25-inch Uconnect 5 infotainment system is easy to operate. There is a little bit of a learning curve when getting through the menus, though.

Ultimately, although the Alfa Romeo Tonale isn’t breaking new ground in the compact SUV space, it does provide buyers with a unique alternative. If anything, they’re sure to like how smooth the car is, both in its operation and execution.


2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale Initial Impressions: A Plug-in Hybrid SUV That’s Very Italian