The all-new 2021 Alfa Romeo Tonale looks to inject some Italian into the fray of subcompact luxury crossovers. With curvy bodywork that’s accentuated by Alfa’s sharp-nosed face, the Tonale is as handsome as they come. In addition, it should offer a plug-in-hybrid powertrain with a short electric-driving range. Although that and many other facets about the small SUV are still unknown, the company has promised that it will continue Alfa’s tradition of driving enjoyment. Throw in a high seating height and an all-wheel-drive option that consumers crave—as well as the potential for a high-powered Quadrifoglio model—and the 2021 Tonale is set to be a compelling new entry.
What’s New for 2021?
The all-new Tonale debuted in concept form at the Geneva auto show, and more recently we’ve seen leaked images of it in production form. While we await official details on the version that will hit U.S. showrooms, we know that it will slot underneath the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV and compete with subcompact alternatives such as the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Although full details are still pending, we expect the eventual production version will be based on a front-wheel-drive platform that deviates from the company’s current rear-drive architecture. Of course, an all-wheel-drive system undoubtedly will be available to satisfy consumer demands. The plug-in hybrid model will have a rear-mounted electric motor to assist an internal combustion engine up front—most likely a turbocharged four-cylinder. Despite the mechanical departures showcased on the Tonale, Alfa promises it will preserve the driver engagement and performance attributes that are the brand’s legendary hallmarks.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Until we know more about what is under the Tonale’s hood, we can’t review the crossover’s EPA-rated fuel economy. If the rumors about the plug-in-hybrid version being associated with the Jeep Compass and Renegade PHEVs are true, it could have an electric-only range of about 31 miles.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Looking past some of the concept’s whimsical interior pieces such as the translucent backlit panels, we expect many design elements and technology features to make their way into the production model. The circular air vents and the driver-centric dashboard are obviously evolved from current Alfa models. The concept’s dash also featured a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and its three-spoke steering wheel put a modern spin on a classic design. The adoption of front-wheel drive could help with interior packaging compared with rear-drive Alfas. However, that space could be compromised by the battery pack and electric motor that define plug-in hybrids.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Tonale concept boasted a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with unique content called “Alfista” and “Paddock” that should excite Alfa Romeo fanatics. The former allows people to connect with Alfa clubs and community events, and the latter offers a virtual marketplace to buy performance parts and Alfa-branded merchandise. We anticipate other traditional content such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an optional premium audio system.