Alfa Romeo Tonale: There was more emotion
Tonale is a beautiful and well made SUV. But is Alfa really good? We are not sure about that and so we investigated the question.
“I had a good feeling from the feeling” – this saying is attributed to the former soccer star Andy Möller. Good for us, we’d say. Because we felt the same way when we got the new Tonale from Alfa in front of the door. Italian, more than 4.50 meters long, looks good, as usual for Alfa models.
A raised waistline, a continuous strip of lights at the back, narrow LED lights, “dial” rims and of course a classic “small label” like a radiator grille, whose original Italian name is “Scudetto”, give the car. modern clothing.
As much success as Alfas have had so far, the latest in the interior was often the end of love. Hard plastics that were not properly processed and instruments that were difficult to read were found here.
Connection systems were often a generation or two behind the state of the art – yes, you had to love the brand back then to be able to forgive a few mistakes. Whereas real Alfisti probably respected their car precisely because of its limitations.
To make a long story short: none of this applies to the new Tonale. Nothing to complain about when it comes to processing. Connectivity is smooth and fast and sophisticated thanks to Amazon’s Alexa and navigation data from TomTom. Overall feeling of quality: value. Alfa now confidently offers a full five-year warranty for the first time. Perhaps to reassure the non-Alfists among the Alfa fans.
Elements of Stellantis
Unfortunately, five doors also provide enough space, as in almost every modern car, theoretically for five, in fact for four adults. In addition, there is a sufficiently large trunk with a volume of 500 liters, which increases to 1,550 liters after folding the asymmetrically divided rear seats. The Italians even thought of a hatch for tall objects.
Of course, one has to admit that the Tonale – like its older brother, the Stelvio, is also named after the Alpine pass – does not necessarily have much “Italian” on board. Because almost everything comes, as is common today, from a large construction set, in this case from one of the Stellantis Group. Which unfortunately becomes a problem.
Disappointing driving experience
Because driving an Alfa is always a pleasure to drive. And this is where despair begins. Everything still sounds good on paper. The 1.5 liter turbo petrol engine has an output of 118 kW / 160 hp and is also supported by a small electric motor with 15 kW / 20 hp and the resulting torque of 240 Newton meters should be enough. Unfortunately it doesn’t.
Perhaps this is due to the old technology, which is basically based on the Jeep Compass or Renegade, which has been on the market for more than 15 years. If the chassis modification is correct, the loose two-wheel transmission already seems outdated.
In addition, there is indirect steering, which ends the fun of driving on country roads soon. Messing with what is already a known DNA regulator doesn’t help either. Because already for D (Dynamic) the tonal opens all its laziness, so you don’t even want to try N (Normal) and especially A (High Efficiency).
E version with poor performance
Electrical support is also not visible. After all, a small battery with a capacity of about 0.8 kWh is enough for very short electric driving, for example during parking in the city, since the gasoline engine can be completely reduced. Overall, the Alfa looks soulless, almost detached from its driver.
Under these conditions, the weak variant with 130 hp cannot be recommended. If you want the Tonale, you might want to try the diesel (130 hp). A plug-in hybrid with a system output of 275 hp and an electric range of 64 km planned for the autumn season can put an end to inefficiency.
Very old technology
However, the following applies to our visually successful Tonale, which costs at least 42,500 euros: Emotional brands have a particularly difficult time when the group’s modular systems dictate uniform systems from the chassis to the engine and transmission. Some companies do better, others less well.
The expensive foxes from Stellantis multiplied for Tonale and kept the technology very old for the Italians. So Alpha has unexpected strengths, but also great weaknesses. Unfortunately, especially where you don’t expect it from this brand.