Alfa Romeo Tonale: Italian Passion in a Compact Package

If there’s one thing the automotive world could use more of, it’s Italian flair. It appears Alfa Romeo has taken that maxim to heart with their latest offering, the Alfa Romeo Tonale. In a market where compact SUVs are about as common as traffic jams on a Tuesday morning (thanks, WFH), the Tonale arrives with the promise of adding a dash of passion and style to the daily grind. Does it succeed in marrying the Italian spirit with practicality? Let’s dive into the details.

The Tonale doesn’t just enter a room; it announces its arrival with a flamboyant design, managing to be simultaneously sleek, aggressive, and elegant. The front grille, adorned with the iconic Alfa Romeo badge, is flanked by sharp LED headlights that give the Tonale a sense of purpose. There’s a pronounced arc to the bodylines and a jaunty stance on a variety of 5-hole wheels (a classic Alfa theme). 

Alfa Romeo Tonale in blue from the front

Sized like a BMW X1 or Audi Q3, it’s compact enough to nimbly navigate city streets, yet it doesn’t compromise on practicality. Most importantly, it’s an SUV that won’t get lost in a sea of generic crossovers — especially in Alfa Rosso or Verde Fangio!

Slip inside the Alfa Romeo Tonale, and you’re greeted by an interior that seamlessly combines modern luxury with charming, old-world craftsmanship. Materials like leather and brushed aluminum are crafted into classic shapes from Alfa’s past. Paired with adjustable lighting, they immediate elevate the ambiance. The seats are both comfortable and very supportive — the top leather trim ones have faintest reference to Ferraris’ famed “Daytona” seats (which is good).

The standard heated seats and steering wheel are a welcome touch for Canadian winters and recent summers. Dual-zone, automatic climate control ensures that passengers enjoy a comfortable cabin temperature — no matter the weather outside. It’s clear that Alfa Romeo considered the climate when speccing the Tonale for the Canadian market.

The digital gauge cluster has several available design themes, from classical gauges to a more minimalist aesthetic. The infotainment system in the Tonale is a highlight, featuring a responsive, high-resolution touchscreen that provides access to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Alexa. Ordering pizza or toilet paper on the drive home has never been easier! (Or even possible, for that matter.) 

Alfa Romeo Tonale dashboard with city view

Safety is top-notch, with features like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist coming standard in most trim levels. There’s also auto-braking, driver-attention monitoring, and 360-degree cameras to round out the high-tech safety gear. 

The Alfa Romeo Tonale’s performance carries the DNA of a brand known for crafting cars that beg to be driven. The base engine is a gutsy 256-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, offering ample power for both everyday commuting and spirited acceleration. All Canadian market Tonale’s feature all-wheel drive.

Just in case you hate stopping during the Toronto-to-Montreal slog, extra power (272-hp) and range (up to 555km) can be had in the PHEV (plug-in hybrid). The PHEV has the added benefit of 50km of electric-only range: you can set the car to either be EV only, conserve the battery, or a hybrid-drive setup that maximizes the use of the EV and gas drivetrains. 

But it’s not just about the numbers: the Tonale is a driver’s car in an SUV’s body. The precise steering and well-tuned suspension deliver a sporty experience that’s often lacking in this segment. Whether you’re taking on winding country roads or navigating busy city streets, the Tonale puts a smile on your face while providing a confidently composed and comfortable ride.

green Alfa Romeo Tonale drives on a road at sunset with mountains and trees in the background

The Tonale is a breath of fresh air in the crowded compact SUV segment. It’s not just another run-of-the-mill crossover; it’s a passionate Italian love letter to the world of practicality. While its price point may lean toward the premium side, the Tonale offers something truly unique – a harmonious blend of Italian elegance, modern tech, and satisfying performance.

If you’re seeking a vehicle that can handle both the everyday commute and the scenic weekend escape — while being nice to look at and fun to drive — the Tonale should be on your radar. It’s a stylish and spirited choice that reminds us why we fell in love with Italian cars in the first place.


Alfa Romeo