Alfa Romeo Tonale review

Category: Family SUV

Section: Performance & drive

Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 rear cornering
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 front cornering
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 rear cornering
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 interior dashboard
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 interior rear seats
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 interior infotainment
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 front tracking
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 rear left tracking
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 front left tracking
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 front right static
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 rear right static
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 front badge detail
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 rear badge detail
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 wing mirror detail
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 interior driver display
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 boot open
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 front cornering
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 rear cornering
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 interior dashboard
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 interior rear seats
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 interior infotainment
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 front tracking
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 rear left tracking
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 front left tracking
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 front right static
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 rear right static
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 front badge detail
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 rear badge detail
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 wing mirror detail
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 interior driver display
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 boot open

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The Alfa Romeo Tonale's hybrid option is called the Hybrid 160 and combines a 158bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine with a small electric motor to chivvy it along at low speeds. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) delivers a more potent 273bhp by teaming up a 1.3-litre petrol engine that powers the front wheels with a beefier electric motor for the back ones. In other words, you get four-wheel drive as well as a much longer electric-only range.

The Hybrid 160 suffers in direct comparison with mild-hybrid versions of the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage because they have a lot more power and bigger batteries. The Tonale can't go as far on electric power alone so it's much more reliant on its petrol engine, and you have to be delicate with the accelerator to avoid waking it. 

Body lean is well controlled, and there’s little of the floaty feeling that big SUVs can be plagued by. Overall, the Tonale feels like a tall family hatchback and tackles corners just as well as the BMW X1 but with quicker, more responsive steering that requires less input. A bit more steering weight would make for a more engaging experience, but the accuracy of the steering inspires plenty of confidence.

What’s more, despite its sporty billing and those big wheels, the Tonale’s ride on its standard suspension is impressive, and low-speed shocks from potholes are absorbed well. We’d recommend sticking with the standard 18in wheels to maximise comfort, because bigger ones can affect ride comfort. The top Veloce trim adds adaptive suspension, but given how good the ride is without it, we don’t think it's worth the extra expense. 

When it comes to refinement, wind and road noise are well contained, but the engine in the hybrid is buzzy when it fires up and is rather vocal as the car accelerates up to motorway speeds. At a cruise the seven-speed automatic gearbox does a good job of keeping the revs low and the engine hushed.

The brakes are good too, with a firm and progressive feel in the Tonale’s Normal and Advanced efficiency driving modes (Alfa Romeo calls it DNA). Dynamic mode sharpens up the brake pedal, which can give it a slightly trigger-happy feel, and make slowing down smoothly more difficult.

We haven't driven the PHEV version of the Tonale yet, but we'll update this review when we have.

Alfa Romeo Tonale 2022 rear cornering