In introducing the 2024 Tonale, Alfa Romeo repeated a typical chorus: The Italian model has too lengthy catered to an older male viewers; now, it’s time to broaden the demographic targets to embody the ever-elusive girl. The Tonale can be the corporate’s first effort in creating a subcompact SUV with this subset of consumers in thoughts — however once I completed my week-long take a look at drive, I couldn’t assist however discover myself a bit disillusioned. I’d heard a lot about Alfa’s demographic analysis, its efforts to really attraction to ladies — and this is what they thought we’d like?
Full disclosure: Alfa Romeo invited me to 2 Formula 1-based Tonale displays in 2022 and later hooked me up with a weeklong take a look at of the PHEV when the 2024 mannequin hit the press fleets.
What Is The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale?
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is the much-hyped plug-in hybrid subcompact SUV from the Italian model, which relies on Stellantis’ Small Wide 4×4 LWB platform and shares a fairly vital quantity of bodywork with the Dodge Hornet. The mannequin I drove has a 1.3-liter I4 turbo engine that makes 285 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque mixed, and since it’s a PHEV, you will get round 30 miles of all-electric vary earlier than the gas-powered engine kicks in.
The mannequin I drove was the 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce eAWD that included some additional choices: a good-looking grey paint colour ($660); the client most well-liked bundle which provides a Harmon-Kardon sound system, ventilated entrance seats, and a driver seat reminiscence perform ($2,500), the energetic help superior bundle that provides a surround-view digital camera, park help options, and energetic driving help techniques ($2,000), an influence moonroof ($1,200), and 20-inch five-hole wheels ($2,000). The base mannequin I drove prices $47,495, however with the options on my mannequin and a $1,595 vacation spot charge, the Tonale I take a look at drove got here in round $57,450.
What’s The Competition For The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale?
In my eyes, the Tonale has two tiers of competitors: as a result of it’s primarily based on the identical platform because the Jeep Compass and the Dodge Hornet, it may be in comparison with these vehicles. As a part of the luxurious subcompact SUV sector, although, the Tonale faces off with the likes of the Volvo XC40, the BMW X1 and X2, the Mercedes-Benz GLB class, and extra.
Since Alfa Romeo stated it designed the Tonale for girls, I attempted to check the automotive in a wide range of completely different “woman-type” conditions. During the week, it was my errand runner; I picked up prescriptions, stocked up on groceries, and cruised across the streets and backroads of my small Texas city in what I hoped would simulate the day of The Standard Woman (an idea I more and more discovered myself questioning about throughout my take a look at drive). Over the weekend, I additionally took it for a 500-mile spherical journey journey to Fort Worth to take a look at a NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. That meant I received loads of time driving on the freeway and Texas’ 85-mph toll roads, in addition to navigating tight post-race visitors.
It was a desperately sizzling weekend; temperatures blazed over 100 levels, with the real-feel flirting with 110. I’m mentioning this now as a result of it did change into a reasonably large issue throughout my highway journey.
What’s Good About The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale
One of the very first stuff you’ll discover is that it simply seems to be nice — and whereas I’m conscious that appears solely rely for a lot, it’s good to see an SUV and really feel one thing aside from common malaise. The distinctive rotary-phone rims and the toothy grille are distinct reminders that you simply’re driving one thing a bit classier than the opposite people on the highway round you.
Further, there have been some nice issues concerning the powertrain. The electrical motor was built-in in such a means that swaps between EV and hybrid mode by no means felt jarring or uncomfortable. The 30 miles of electrical vary was greater than sufficient to get me by way of per week of working errands round city, and activating the e-save mode meant that I used to be in a position to regenerate battery energy whereas on the freeway — about 10 miles on the drive from Waco to San Antonio. I additionally appreciated the power to schedule my battery charging; there have been choices that allowed me to select the times and instances the battery would replenish itself whereas plugged in, in addition to choices to pick the extent to which I stuffed the battery.
And, all issues thought-about, it was a fairly rattling comfy automotive to drive — for me, at the very least. I’m a shorter gal, and it felt like (most of) the cockpit was designed for a smaller body. I’m used to feeling swamped in a crossover, however the Tonale received its proportions proper. I may settle into a snug seating place, attain the pedals, see nicely over the nostril of the automotive, and likewise attain the controls — which generally is a little little bit of a battle for me in bigger machines. I don’t know if a taller individual can be as comfy as I used to be, however I used to be in a position to make the drive from south San Antonio to north of Fort Worth with out crawling out of the entrance seat afterward, nursing cramped legs and an aching again.
What Needs Work On The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale
One of the very first issues I observed within the Tonale was a scarcity of total consolation — and never simply within the bodily sense. As quickly as I hit the freeway, I used to be overwhelmed with tire, highway, and wind noise, and it solely received worse as I elevated velocity. Road journey conversations with my husband had been punctuated by “huh?” and “what?” and “sorry, I didn’t hear that.” The automotive turned one thing of an echo chamber for all of the sorts of sounds you don’t need to hear; the rumble of an exhaust or the rev of an engine had been nowhere to be discovered — or in the event that they had been, I couldn’t hear them over all the pieces else.
The journey was extra than simply audibly tough. It felt tough, too. I reside in a barely rural space, and our roads aren’t notably nicely maintained; as quickly as I pulled out of my driveway, I used to be being jolted round by each little bump, crack, and ungraded restore. My each day driver is a fairly primary 2013 Mazda2, and I discovered myself craving for the consolation of that cockpit; certain, the Mazda is loud, and it’s not all that comfy, however you’re additionally not anticipating a lot from it. I’ve considerably completely different expectations for an Alfa Romeo.
And there have been different little consolation issues that had been irritating, too. The paddle shifters had been shockingly far-off from the steering wheel, and utilizing them required me to virtually totally lengthen my hand so as to attain them. The steering wheel stalks had been so far-off that I needed to take my arms off the wheel to make use of them. The steering wheel controls trip shortly, and the infotainment display included small icons that had been troublesome to make use of whereas driving.
Further, the visibility left quite a bit to be desired. The A-pillars are so thick that it made me really feel like I used to be driving a a lot bigger automotive, and the rear was virtually fully obstructed. I used to be glad I did my driving with a passenger, as a result of I wanted the additional set of eyes to double-check my large blind spots — however even my husband struggled with visibility, and he had the luxurious of totally turning within the passenger seat and craning his neck.
And then there was the entire “driving experience” factor. Within the primary 30-odd minutes of my drive, I turned painfully conscious that the Tonale was working sizzling — to the purpose the place I used to be getting fearful about my capacity to maintain it on the highway. While I used to be fantastic, it did get a bit regarding that I even needed to fear about it in a luxurious automotive once I’m in a position to function a few of my older vehicles in Texas’ excessive temperatures with out a lot concern.
Plus, the six-speed computerized transmission by no means actually felt like sufficient. I discovered myself manually shifting up or down as a result of the automotive didn’t actually appear able to doing so itself. The entire “shift levers are real far away” factor turned particularly annoying once I needed to make corrections to maintain the automotive functioning easily.
The Verdict: 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale
The 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale looks like a kind of vehicles that would have been good, besides it hit the market after the market had already moved on. If this automotive had come out a couple of years in the past, I feel it may have been a stunner. As it stands now, this much-hyped subcompact SUV doesn’t actually hit the mark.
I feel probably the most perplexing factor concerning the Tonale is the emphasis Alfa positioned on it being a automotive for girls, with out it truly that includes a few of the stuff you’d count on a “woman’s car” to have. I’m anticipating a quieter cabin to allow dialog, ample (and artistic) cupboard space, and bodily consolation. Maybe that claims one thing about my expectations of girls, too, however I additionally don’t actually know what sort of girl Alfa had in thoughts after they launched this automotive. One that desires the tough journey of a sportier sedan, besides in a subcompact SUV bundle? One that desires a “family friendlier” automobile, besides with out the cargo area that usually entails? One that has bodily proportions that far exceed expectations?
Right now, it’s a bit little bit of an enigma. I’m not fairly certain who the Alfa Romeo Tonale is for, and it looks like Alfa can be struggling to outline a cohesive goal market. The automotive has the potential to be a winner — it simply wanted extra time on the drafting board to work out the kinks that also stay within the automobile.