2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale Review: First Drive

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee


Engine: 1.3L Turbo I4 + Plug-in Hybrid
Output: 285 hp, 347 lb-ft
Transmission: 6AT, AWD
Fuel Economy (MPG): TBA (city/hwy)
Fuel Economy (L/100 km): TBA (city/hwy)
Starting Price PHEV (USD): $44,590 (inc. dest.)
As Tested Price PHEV (USD): $49,590 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price 2.0L (CAD): $47,090 (inc. dest.)
As Tested Price PHEV (CAD): $59,790 (inc. dest.)

Alfa Romeo wants a piece of the booming premium SUV market that sits between subcompact and compact in size.

This is the segment that’s home to vehicles like the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Audi Q3, and Volvo XC40. It’s an entry point for many manufacturers, allowing aspiring customers easier and more affordable access to the brand. Alfa Romeo’s latest vehicle, the Tonale, looks to do the same.

SEE ALSO: 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale is a Pretty, Petite Plug-In Hybrid SUV

Pronounced tow-nah-lee, the newest small SUV from the Italian brand has high aspirations. Alfa Romeo want to increase sales volume, and this model could double Alfa’s sales in North America. To see how feasible these ambitions are, we headed to Michigan to conduct a thorough 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale review.

Undeniably Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo really wants the Tonale to stand out from its competitors in the looks department. The brand claims it has styling cues from past Alfa models like the 8C, Giulia, 164, and more. I personally see a bit of SZ in the front end.

Regardless of inspiration, the Tonale is instantly recognizable as an Alfa. There are nice design touches, like the daytime running lights which are a triple headlight outline on either side and turn amber when a turn signal is engaged. Of course, Alfa Romeo still has one of the coolest logos in the automotive world, which helps give the SUV a bit more visual flair.

The brand has also done a good job of making the Tonale stylish and swoopy, yet still functional inside. Sightlines are great all around. The rear side windows may be narrow, but they are long, providing good rear three-quarter views. The rear window is also narrow, yet wide, providing a decent look at the road behind

The Tonale has no real off-road aspirations, as it’s intended as a performance SUV. This is evident in the vehicle’s low 5.6 in. (141 mm) ground clearance as well as the cladding style around the wheel arches and lower body. Unlike most SUVS, it is not unfinished plastic. Instead, they’re painted and clear coated.

Different Countries, Different Options

Depending on where you live, different versions of the 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale will be available in North America. For those living in Canada, there are just two trims available, the entry-level Sprint and the sportier Veloce. In American, there is a third trim available, called the Ti, that resides between the Sprint and Veloce.

The bigger difference has to with what’s under the hood. For American consumers, only the plug-in hybrid drivetrain is available on the new Tonale. More on that in a bit.

In Canada, there’s a more affordable option, in the form of a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 268 hp, and 295 lb-ft. of torque. Paired to a nine-speed automatic and standard al-wheel drive, Alfa Romeo claims this Tonale will scoot from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6.5 seconds.

PHEV Power

The car we drove, and the one that will account for the majority of units arriving in North America, houses the plug-in hybrid drivetrain. It’s a unique position Alfa Romeo is going after with the Tonale, as it’s the only model sold in its segment to include PHEV power.

It consists of a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine producing 177 hp, a 44 hp front motor, and a secondary 121 hp rear motor. In total, the system produces 285 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque. With all the instant torque produced by the electric motors, Alfa Romeo chose a simpler six-speed automatic transmission for this set up. The brand claims the Tonale PHEV will run from 0 to 60 mph in six seconds or quicker.

When driving at a more sedate pace, the 15.5 kWh battery has enough capacity to propel the vehicle 30+ miles on all electric power. We find in EV mode there’s more than enough thrust to propel the vehicle during any daily driving activity. Unless absolute full acceleration is needed, there’s nothing the Tonale can’t do when solely powered by electricity. Like the Jeep 4xe, drivers can use the e-save function to keep battery charge for later. They can also have the engine recharge the battery while driving but expect fuel economy to take a hit while doing this. While on the topic of fuel economy, no official figures have been released at the time of this publishing.

SEE ALSO: The PHEV-Only 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale Starts At $44,590; Qualifies For Tax Credit With Lease

Driving Through the Modes

As the 2024 Tonale is an Alfa Romeo, the SUV includes the usual DNA drive mode selector, which in this case stands for Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency. Dynamic mode gives max power to the vehicle from the engine and electric motors. Even if the battery is depleted, the gas engine will generate enough power to send electric juice to these motors to keep them engaged and running. Normal mode combines a mix of power and hybrid efficiency, while Advanced Efficiency focuses primarily on fuel and/or energy saving.

In Normal mode, the vehicle’s hybrid system provides low- to mid-range torque for days. There’s instant and effortless acceleration. It’s only during full throttle acceleration at freeway speeds that things aren’t as swift. There’s a bit of a delay at these speeds, as the transmission kicks down a few gears. Once in the proper gear, acceleration is brisk, but not nearly as potent as the drivetrain produces at lower speeds.

In the Advanced Efficiency mode, full acceleration requests will default the vehicle back into Normal mode to allow proper amounts of power to be utilized. The change is seamless, with a message displayed on the gauge cluster to inform the driver.

Dynamic mode of course is our favorite mode. It has the transmission hold gears longer and shift quicker. For even greater control, the paddle shifters provide quick upshifts and decent downshifts for a regular automatic. The engine produces quite the burble at idle. It’s not subtle and more audible outside the vehicle. Under hard acceleration the engine never gets obtrusive, but the sound isn’t overly appealing. It’s about what should be expected from a small four-cylinder.

Creating a Dynamic Architecture

The Sprint and Ti trims come standard with 18-inch wheels, while our Veloce test vehicle has 19-inch wheels with 235/45R19 tires. Both the Ti and Veloce can be had with 20-inch wheels and performance all-season tires as well. Regardless of wheel size, they all continue what Alfa calls the telephone dial design style the brand has used for over 60 years.

The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV as no driveshaft to rear wheels, as they’re independently powered by the torquey electric motor. The rear wheels are always powered, regardless of how much battery storage is left, and provide torque vectoring.

For even greater handling prowess, the Tonale Veloce also features Brembo brakes at all four corners as well as an adaptive dual-stage valve suspension system. To prove the SUV’s sporty intentions, all Tonales can fully disable traction and stability control functions.

Can a PHEV SUV be Fun?

Alfa Romeo claims that the Tonale PHEV has a near 50/50 front to rear weight distribution. This is a rarity for a vehicle with a front-wheel-drive bias transverse engine layout. The placement of the large rear electric motor and battery contribute to this, as well as the vehicle’s 4,133 lbs. (1,875 kg) curb weight.

At moderate to fast speeds, the Tonale Veloce does an excellent job controlling its weight and limits body roll with the adaptive suspension. Turn in is precise for a 4,000 lbs+ vehicle, and the torque vectoring allows for minor bouts of on throttle rotation through the corner. That stated, don’t expect this to be as balanced and responsive as a Giulia Quadrifolgio. It’s still a front-wheel drive bias crossover. At lower speeds, the tires provide plenty of grip, but on-throttle acceleration through a corner will prompt the vehicle to washout, as most of the power is being sent through the front wheels.

Surprisingly Supple

Perhaps our biggest surprise during our drive is how exceedingly liveable the suspension is in Normal mode. Large expansion gaps on the freeway that should launch a performance vehicle like this into orbit where a non-issue. The suspension dampens the impact and softly settles the Tonale back down. For something as handling orientated as the Tonale is, it was a pleasant bonus. Even in Dynamic mode, ride quality doesn’t get overly firm.

SEE ALSO: 2023 Dodge Hornet Review: First Drive

All three vehicle settings have the appropriate amount of steering effort. In all modes, the steering is firm and provides decent feedback. It’s never too heavy or requires too much effort. In Dynamic mode is provides the most feedback to drivers but is still more performance SUV in feel than uncompromising sports car.

Rewarding Interior

The interior of the Tonale has a driver focus, with a coherent design and premium look. Various materials and finishes are used throughout the interior, like aluminum accents and the Alcantara on the front seats of our test vehicle. For those that prefer leather seats, they are part of optional packages and include ventilation.

Alfa Romeo claims four 6’2” tall people can fit in the car. After a bit of testing, we fully believe it. Officially, headroom is listed at 38.8-inches (986 mm) front and 38.2-inches (970 mm) rear. Legroom pegs in at 41.7-inches (1,058 mm) up front and 38.0-inches (965 mm) in the rear. Despite all the space for passengers, there’s still decent cargo capacity for a vehicle the Tonale’s size. Behind the rear seats, 22.9 cu ft (648 L) of gear can be stored, which expands to 50.5 cu ft (1,430 L) with the seats folded.

We are big fans of the steering column mounted metal paddle shifters that give off rally-car vibes. These shifters are standard on the Veloce and part of an optional package on the Ti. While on the topic of the steering wheel, it’s unlike a lot of Stellantis wheels, featuring all the buttons and controls on the front of the wheel. There’s also the little Alfa Romeo quirk of having the start/stop button on the wheel.

Other technology highlights include a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, a digital gauge cluster, Uconnect5 that now includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless phone charging. On a safety front, all the usual safety systems come standard on the Tonale like all adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blindspot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking, and more.

2024 Alfa Romeo Review: The Verdict

The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale is one of the more engaging vehicles to drive in the segment. The brand did a great job making the vehicle engaging, a bit of fun, yet still completely livable. Some manufacturers sacrifice to much in the name of performance, others not enough.

The only vehicle we can think that rivals its combination of luxury, comfort, and fun is the BMW X1. Naturally, a comparison of the two needs to be planned in the future.

The Tonale should start arriving at dealers in early to mid-June. Pricing for the Sprint PHEV starts at $44,590 (all prices include destination charges). As tested, our Veloce PHEV comes in at $49,590. In Canada, the entry level Sprint with the 2.0-liter turbo engine starts at $47,090, while a Veloce PHEV like we tested here runs $59,790.


How much is the Alfa Tonale expected to cost?

Pricing starts at $44,590 (inc dest) in the United States and $47,090 (inc dest.) in Canada. 

Is Tonale bigger than Stelvio?

No, the Stelvio is a larger vehicle than the Tonale. 

What competes with Alfa Romeo Tonale?

The Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and Volvo XC40 are all key competitors to the Tonale. 

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  • Ride Comfort
  • Styling
  • Low End Power
  • High Speed Handling


  • Engine Note
  • No 2.0L Turbo in USA
  • Freeway Acceleration
Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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