Alfa Romeo Tonale (2022-): first drive evaluate

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Alfa Romeo’s Tonale is a strikingly styled newcomer within the small SUV market. Its principal attraction is sharp driving manners, that are each bit as spectacular as these discovered within the BMW X1. The Tonale, nonetheless, can be sensible sufficient for household duties, with a spacious cabin and beneficiant baggage capability. Nevertheless, primarily based on our preliminary impressions, it doesn’t really feel class-leading in different areas.

Word that this evaluate is predicated on our preliminary drive of the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Our full evaluate and verdict (full with the automotive’s general rating, plus scores for security, reliability and extra) will likely be out there to Which? members as soon as all our intensive lab and highway assessments are full.

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What’s the Alfa Romeo Tonale?

Alfa Romeo already has one SUV in its vary: the medium-size Stelvio. With the brand new Tonale, it’s heading into the very fashionable compact crossover area, dominated within the UK by the Ford Puma and Kia Niro. Alfa is positioning the Tonale as a premium product, so its closest rivals are the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.

The Tonale is sort of compact, measuring 4.53 metres lengthy and 1.84 metres extensive. Simply its most putting design contact is the headlamps: six LEDs that recall previous Alfas just like the SZ and Brera. The identical motif recurs on the rear, beneath a particular V-shaped rear display.

The Tonale platform is an evolution of the Fiat 500X/Jeep Renegade one, nevertheless it has a wider observe and bespoke suspension, steering and digital methods.

UK clients have just one engine possibility from launch in September 2022: a 160hp 1.5-litre delicate hybrid. That is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox that drives the entrance wheels solely.

A extra highly effective This autumn 285hp plug-in hybrid model is because of arrive in December 2022, that includes all-wheel drive, a 37-mile EV vary and official CO2 emissions of simply 35g/km.

Three trim ranges are supplied within the UK: Ti, Veloce and Speciale (the latter a launch-only particular version). Commonplace tools on the Ti contains 19-inch alloy wheels, automated headlights/wipers, sat nav, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, parking sensors, rear-view digicam and electrical tailgate. The Veloce provides Alcantara trim and aluminium gearshift paddles, whereas the top-spec Speciale has adaptive suspension damping and bigger 20-inch wheels.

Costs have but to be introduced, however are anticipated to start out at round £35,000.


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What’s the Alfa Romeo prefer to drive?

SUV drivers who admire sporty driving will love the Tonale, which handles extra sharply than most of its principal rivals. It’s definitely interesting in and out, with a cabin that appears and feels fashionable and upmarket.

Up to now we’ve pushed solely the 160hp delicate hybrid mannequin, which is fitted with a small 48-volt electrical motor. Whereas this model can journey in electric-only mode (uncommon for a mild-hybrid), it might achieve this solely at low speeds for very brief distances, resembling when parking or in stop-start site visitors jams. The true advantage of the electrical motor is the way it boosts energy and torque in on a regular basis driving, most notably when pulling away and at low revs.

The 160hp engine delivers peppy however hardly distinctive efficiency (0-62mph takes a claimed 8.8 seconds). One factor we didn’t like throughout our first drive was the accelerator pedal, which feels prefer it’s held again by a rubber band; we needed to hoof it actually laborious to get most acceleration.

Stepping inside, the Tonale’s cabin atmosphere definitely impresses. Its clear design is underscored by a palpable feeling of high quality and we just like the dashboard’s ambient lighting whose colors you possibly can change. The supplies are high-end, aside from the decrease entrance cabin and rear passenger space, that are trimmed in low cost, laborious plastics. One minor ergonomic fault is a slightly obtrusive centre entrance armrest.

Forward of the driving force is a classical twin-hooded instrument binnacle with a totally digital 12.3-inch show that means that you can select from three totally different kinds. Within the centre of the dashboard is a ten.25-inch touchscreen that may be simply configured to show all kinds of knowledge. The graphics are very sharp and the menu is logical, though there’s no rotary controller – it’s solely changeable by contact. Pleasingly, there are separate knobs for audio quantity and air-con.

Alfa Romeo’s signature ‘DNA’ controller is a nice-feeling rotary dial with three driving modes: Dynamic, Regular and Superior-efficiency. These alter the settings for the engine, steering, stability management and chassis electronics.

Does the Tonale stay as much as its ‘sporty, dynamic’ dealing with billing? Sure, it does – a minimum of throughout our restricted time with the automotive (we’ll reserve our last judgement till it’s been by means of our full lab and highway assessments).

The steering may be very fast-acting, if a little bit on the sunshine aspect, whereas the 50/50 entrance/rear weight distribution offers the automotive a balanced really feel. It turns into corners properly and whereas there’s some physique roll, it’s not extreme. Journey too quick by means of corners and in the end there’s protected understeer (entrance finish pushing extensive).

The automated gearbox is OK, however we discovered it typically will get flustered discovering the correct ratio. Altering gears manually utilizing the steering wheel paddles isn’t beneficial because the shifts don’t really feel very sharp.

The trip high quality isn’t dangerous general, nevertheless it’s notably firmer in Dynamic mode, when it feels uncomfortable on poor roads. Prime-spec fashions characteristic a button that softens the damping, addressing this subject to a sure diploma.

The Brembo brakes, managed by a brake-by-wire system, are very sharp and assured.

Visibility is about common by class requirements. The lofty trip top offers a superb view of site visitors however thick aspect and rear roof pillars, in addition to chunky rear headrests, actually obscure your rear view. Fortunately parking sensors and a rear-view digicam are commonplace.

How dependable is the Alfa Romeo Tonale?

Because the Tonale hasn’t reached showrooms but, we will’t assess its reliability as a brand new automotive.

Nevertheless, we did hear from sufficient Alfa Romeo homeowners in our newest automotive survey to evaluate the reliability of the model as an entire.

Which? members can learn extra about Alfa Romeo’s reliability utilizing the device in our information to the most dependable automotive manufacturers.

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How snug and spacious is the Alfa Romeo Tonale?

We’ll present correct figures for driver and passenger top limits as soon as the Tonale has been by means of our labs, however on first impressions there’s no lack of legroom and headroom up entrance. With the entrance seats set for six-footers (folks 1.6m tall), the rear seats have sufficient legroom for passengers of the same top.

Cutouts within the roof enhance headroom within the rear, too, whereas giant door apertures ease getting out and in, so general the Tonale is nice for household use. The one draw back is a barely slim cabin.

The boot is huge by class requirements at a claimed 500 litres and has a usefully sq. form. It additionally advantages from a split-level flooring, providing you with the choice of protecting it degree with the load lip and offering hidden underfloor storage.

It’s a pity that the rear seats break up in a easy 60/40 format, slightly than the extra helpful 40/20/40 break up supplied by some rivals.

How economical is the Alfa Romeo Tonale to run?

The official gas consumption figures for the 160hp hybrid are between 44.8 and 49.6mpg, whereas CO2 emissions are between 130 and 144g/km. These are about common for the compact SUV class.

Whether or not it might get wherever near this in our impartial lab assessments stays to be seen.

How protected is the Alfa Romeo Tonale?

Euro NCAP has not but examined the Tonale.

Commonplace security tools contains lane-keep help, autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian/bicycle owner recognition. Blind spot monitoring can be out there.

Is there something I ought to know?

Straight-line efficiency isn’t fairly as much as the extent we count on of a sporty model like Alfa Romeo. In the event you get pleasure from excessive efficiency, chances are you’ll need to look ahead to the extra highly effective This autumn plug-in hybrid model.

Alfa Romeo Tonale: Which? first drive verdict

Worth: TBC (anticipated to be round £35,000)

Execs:

  • Sporty dealing with
  • Beneficiant tools
  • Nice and spacious cabin

Cons:

  • Barely disappointing efficiency
  • Unsettled trip on some surfaces

In the event you like your SUVs to really feel sporty, the Tonale is definitely up there with the category leaders when it comes to driving dynamics. It additionally appears good, feels good inside, has sufficient house for all of the household, and comes with loads of fashionable media expertise. It does most issues competently, if not exceptionally.

Do not forget, that is simply our first impression of the automotive.

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