2022 Alfa Romeo Tonale debuts – BMW X1 rival with 1.3L PHEV, 275 PS, 80 km e-range, Level 2 automation!

At long last, Alfa Romeo has finally taken the veils off its baby SUV, the Tonale. It’s the automaker’s first all-new model since 2016, and with a footprint of 4.53 metres long, 1.84 metres wide and 1.6 metres tall, the Tonale rivals cars such as the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3.

A range of electrified engines are available for the SUV, starting with the all-new 1.5 litre four-cylinder hybrid petrol engine (Miller cycle, 12.5:1 compression ratio) with variable-geometry turbo. It’s available in 130 PS and 160 PS tunes (torque is 240 Nm for both applications), with drive sent to the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The engine is augmented with a 48-volt electric motor (15 kW, or 20 PS and 55 Nm) that also acts as a starter, and can provide pure electric driving at low speeds. Alfa Romeo says this hybrid option offers comparable mileage to a diesel engine, but with the added benefits of “extremely linear power delivery and consistent acceleration.”

2022 Alfa Romeo Tonale debuts – BMW X1 rival with 1.3L PHEV, 275 PS, 80 km e-range, Level 2 automation!

The current range-topper is the plug-in hybrid Q4 variant, which uses a 1.3 litre MultiAir turbo petrol engine (from Stellantis’ Global Small Engine family) and a more powerful electric motor. The engine sends drive to the front wheels, while the e-motor powers the rear axle.

With a total system output of 275 PS, the Tonale PHEV will do the 0-100 km/h sprint in 6.2 seconds, while the 15.5 kWh battery is capable of providing up to 80 km of pure electric range. A full charge via a 7.4 kW AC charger (the maximum it can take) requires just 2.5 hours.

Alfa Romeo claims that the Tonale is the most efficient car in its class, but what is an Alfa if it isn’t fun to drive? Well, it supposedly has the most direct steering in the segment and a “perfect” weight distribution.

Adaptive suspension (developed in conjunction with Marelli) is available, while an electronic self-locking differential is standard across the board. The Tonale uses an independent MacPherson setup up front, and is geometrically optimised for rapid and precise directional changes. This reduces steering distortion. At the back is a three-arm linkage.

For the exterior, the SUV features the new floating ‘Scudetto’ shield (no longer part of the bumper), a ‘3+3’ full LED headlights with wavy DRLs and matrix technology, continuous LED strip at the back with sine curve motif, and a range of wheel sizes from 17 to 20 inches. The one pictured here features the iconic teledial design, which fans can’t seem to get enough of.

The cabin design is said to be inspired by the automaker’s racing heritage, and thus remains driver-centric. Key controls are all within reach of the driver’s fingertips, and a chunky pair of aluminium paddle shifters complement the sleek three-spoke steering wheel.

2022 Alfa Romeo Tonale debuts – BMW X1 rival with 1.3L PHEV, 275 PS, 80 km e-range, Level 2 automation!

Instrumentation is fully digital (12.3-inch display), and resting on the centre dash is a 4G-enabled 10.25-inch touchscreen panel with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. A pair of turbine-shaped air vents grace the edges of the dashboard, while the central tunnel and grab handles are embellished with diamond-textured trimmings.

Seat upholstery range anywhere from neoprene fabric to vegan leather, while other niceties include dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, ambient lighting system, 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, powered tailgate, and a wireless smartphone charging tray.

For driving aids, the Tonale is capable of Level 2 automation, so it comes with adaptive cruise control with lane centring, traffic sign recognition, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive driving beam, and driver fatigue detection. Optionally available are blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and a 360-degree surround view camera system. So, what do you think of it?

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