It’s difficult to overstate how important the new 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale is to the Italian brand. Stellantis’s answer to BMW has failed to set the sales charts alight in recent years despite having some decent cars in the shape of the four-door Giulia and Stelvio SUV so there’s a lot of pressure on the Tonale’s shoulders.
Part of the problem is that the Giulia and Stelvio were the only family cars Alfa offered. It had no compact SUV despite the market for those vehicles booming, and it’s also been conspicuously quiet on the electrification front. The Tonale ticks both of those boxes at once. We’ve already had a good poke around a static Tonale, but soon we’ll be grabbing the keys for ourself to find out what it’s like on the road.
Different markets around the world get, or will get, different powertrain options for their Tonales. Some European markets are offered a 128 hp (130 PS) diesel option and low power 1.5-liter mild-hybrid that sends 128 hp (130 PS) to the front wheels, having first added a 20 hp (20 PS) electric boost, while America will welcome a 2.0-liter turbo four good for 256 hp (259 PS) and equipped with all-wheel drive.
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We’re driving a UK Tonale, which means a 158 hp (160 PS) version of the mild-hybrid 1.5 (again with a 20 hp / 20 PS shot of volts on top), driving the front wheels only. Brits and other European markets will also get another Tonale variant, an all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid that mates a 1.3-liter combustion motor with a rear-mounted electric motor and makes a combined 272 hp (275 PS). But that comes later.
So what do you want to know about the mild-hybrid car? If you’re in the UK or Europe you might be wondering if Alfa’s first ever electrified car was worth the wait, and if you’re reading this from the U.S. you might want to know if you should be hassling your Alfa dealer to bring one in. Or failing that, your Dodge dealer, because there’s no reason why Dodge couldn’t introduce this engine in an entry-level Hornet.
Photos Thanos Pappas / Carscoops