Cape Town – The new Alfa Romeo Tonale is being launched in South Africa this week and it promises to be something of a turning point for the Italian brand, with its hi-tech connectivity and hybrid technology.
Although a plug-in hybrid version is available abroad, for now South Africa will only be getting the turbocharged mild hybrid drivetrain, which offers 118kW and 240Nm. Three spec grades are on offer, with the Ti retailing at R739 900, the Speciale at R799 900 and the Veloce setting you back R819 900.
The 48-volt mild hybrid system consists of a 1.5-litre Miller Cycle turbopetrol engine, which pairs with a small 15kW, 55Nm electric motor that can power the wheels independently of the engine in limited low-speed situations. Power goes to the front wheels only through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale has an overall length of 4.53 metres, making it similar in size to the Mazda CX-5, and allowing it to slot neatly beneath the Stelvio. Rumour has it that Alfa is also working on a smaller B-segment SUV called the Brennero.
The cabin is very much in tune with today’s digital times, featuring a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.25-inch central infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The vehicle is also capable of Level 2 semi-autonomous driving through its entourage of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
Now for a walk through the range.
Technically the Ti is the base model, but there’s nothing entry level about its spec sheet. In addition to the aforementioned infotainment system and digital instrument cluster, standard features include dual-zone climate control, wireless charging pad, powered tailgate, multi-function steering wheel with start button and a slew of driver assist features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Drowsy Driver Detection.
Exterior features include 18-inch Diamond Cut alloy wheels as well as adaptive Matrix LED headlights and black mirror caps.
You get all of this in the Speciale, in addition to 20-inch Diamond Cut alloys, a Dark Miron painted body kit, red brake callipers, Speciale badging with dark finish, aluminium door sills and metallic pedals.
The Veloce flagship has a similar exterior package to the Speciale, but the Diamond Cut wheels are downsized to 19-inches. The flagship, however, does gain “DualStage Valve” adaptive suspension, which offers Comfort and Sport modes.
Stay tuned to IOL Motoring next week for our driving impressions from the launch.