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Spicy Italian set to shake up the premium SUV market

The Tonale is one of the most striking premium SUVs, while also being one of the most affordable.

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The Tonale is one of the most striking premium SUVs, while also being one of the most affordable.

The competitive plush premium crossover segment is set to gain a new entrant in 2023 in the form of Alfa Romeo’s all-new Tonale Hybrid.

The electrified Tonale is the Italian marque’s second SUV, following in the footsteps of its larger Stelvio sibling. It is also the first electrified nameplate to join the Alfa Romeo line-up. The first models are set to land in local showrooms next month.

The striking-looking Tonale is set to be offered in two trim levels initially; the $59,990 Ti and the $66,990 Veloce. Both come equipped with the same 118kW/240Nm 1.5-liter four-cylinder petrol engine paired to a 48V battery and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Alfa Romeo will have a plug-in hybrid on offer for the first time ever in the Tonale SUV.

Alfa Romeo is particularly proud of its Variable Geometry Turbocharger, which it says allows the Tonale to achieve a “diesel-like” fuel economy of 5.6L/100km.

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Later in the year, the brand will launch a plug-in hybrid variant. This pairs a 132kW 1.3-liter petrol four-cylinder engine with a 90kW electric motor and a 15.5kWh battery capable of up to 80km of range (note, all quoted figures come from overseas markets).

Standard kit includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital cluster.

Supplied

Standard kit includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital cluster.

All models are set to qualify for the Clean Car Discount. The initial launch mild-hybrid variants earn a $2,129 rebate, while the PHEV is set to qualify for the $5,750 rebate for petrol-assisted plug-ins.

The Tonale’s pricing sees it undercut the likes of the Audi Q3BMW X1 and X2, Volvo XC40, and Mercedes-Benz GLA – positioning it as a potential European alternative for those looking at a high-spec Kia Sportage or Mazda CX-5.

Standard kit across all Tonale models includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen with satnav, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 12.3-inch digital cluster, wireless device charging, USB ports in the front row and second row, dual-zone climate, and power front seats.

The Tonale could be a good alternative for those wanting a badge with rich European heritage.

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The Tonale could be a good alternative for those wanting a badge with rich European heritage.

The Veloce, meanwhile, adds black Alcantara and faux-leather upholstery with red contrast stitching, aluminum door sills and shift paddles, a 360-degree camera, and trim-specific options like 20-inch wheels and Alfa Romeo’s superb Montreal Green tri-coat paint.

“This is a very exciting time for the Alfa Romeo brand as we look ahead to a new era of electrification and connectivity,” said Alfa Romeo New Zealand marketing communications manager Sarah Williams.

“The Tonale Hybrid features unmistakable Italian design mixed with modern style and ingenuity that make this driver-centric vehicle a one-of-a-kind and the start of an exciting new future for the Alfa Romeo brand.”

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