Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV Review

The Alfa Romeo Tonale plug-in hybrid offers up to 40 miles of electric range, all-wheel drive, a practical SUV body style and characterful styling.

  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
  • Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV
Green Car Guide Rating: 8/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:  Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce 1.3 280 PHEV Q4 EAWD
  • Fuel:  Petrol-electric plug-in hybrid
  • Fuel economy combined (WLTP):  217.3 mpg
  • Electric range (WLTP):  40 miles

Summary

  • Up to 40 miles of electric range
  • All-wheel drive
  • Practical body style
  • Visual character

Background

Alfa Romeo is seen as a sporty Italian brand, and one which hasn’t had any electric models on offer so far. However, at last, it has a plug-in hybrid on sale, the Tonale. So does the Tonale manage to successfully combine Alfa’s sporty brand values with zero emission motoring?

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEVAlfa Romeo Tonale PHEV

Design & Engineering

Alfa Romeo Tonale Plug-in Hybrid has a 180PS 4-cylinder, 1,332cc turbo petrol engine which drives the front wheels. There’s also an electric motor, powered by a 15.5 kWh lithium-ion, nickel-manganese-cobalt battery, which produces 122PS (90kW) and 250Nm of torque, which drives the rear wheels. Combining the two power sources delivers all-wheel drive (‘Q4’). The Tonale has a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

From the outside this SUV is clearly an Alfa, and design details are carried over to the cabin. The Tonale is also a practical size, with a 385-litre boot, or 1,430 litres with the rear seats folded, and space under the boot floor for charging cables.

Our test car was in Montreal Green, which gained a lot of attention, with 19-inch alloy wheels.

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEVAlfa Romeo Tonale PHEV

Alfa Romeo Tonale Plug-in Hybrid Driving Experience

The driving experience begins with a press of the start/stop button on the steering wheel. Unlike some previous Alfas, there shouldn’t be an instant raucous exhaust note, because the car should start on electric power, in ‘Advanced Efficiency’, one of the three ‘DNA’ modes. The other two drive modes – accessible via a dial near the driver’s left knee – are ‘Dynamic’ and ‘Natural’; the Tonale doesn’t stay on electric power in these modes.

As with virtually all plug-in hybrids, if you’re driving locally or around town, electric power is the best option, because you get instant responses (no turbo lag), as well as a quiet and refined driving experience.

For longer distances you’ll probably want to select the ‘E-Save’ button under the gear selector; this keeps the car on its petrol engine, so saving the battery charge for later. If you’re driving on a motorway, you’ll be aware of some road noise on certain surfaces.

For A and B-roads, select ‘Dynamic’ mode, and the SUV is enjoyable to pilot through sweeping curves. However the Tonale, which is based on a Jeep Compass platform, majors on comfortable ride quality (unless on poor quality road surfaces) rather than precise handling and sharp steering.

The petrol engine driving the front wheels combined with the electric motor powering the rear axle means that the Tonale has all-wheel drive capability, but it feels very neutral to drive on the road. Don’t expect the off-road ability of a Jeep Wrangler; an attempt to park on a grassy hill in electric mode resulted in the car coming to a complete halt and refusing to make any forward progress; Dynamic mode had to be selected to get the car moving.

In addition to the gear selector, there are (large) steering wheel-mounted paddles which can be used to change gear; these don’t change the level of brake regeneration in electric mode – in fact there’s no way to do this.

The driver’s instrument display shows the EV range at the bottom right (in a digital ‘old fashioned’ style), but if you change drive modes to Dynamic then this read-out disappears and it’s replaced by an oil temperature gauge (which isn’t as useful).

There’s a central touchscreen with all the normal features you’d expect such as satnav, and under the screen are separate heating and ventilation controls.

The driving experience has traditionally been central to Alfa Romeos, with steering being a key element of this experience, yet the Tonale’s steering is wrenched out of your hands by the lane departure warning system, and there appears to be no way to completely eliminate this intervention.

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEVAlfa Romeo Tonale PHEV

Alfa Romeo Tonale Plug-in Hybrid Economy and Emissions

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Plug-in Hybrid has an official WLTP electric range of 40 miles (or up to 48 miles in the urban cycle), which results in official combined fuel economy of 217.3 mpg and 29 g/km CO2 emissions. In the real-world the Tonale was delivering a range of 37 miles, and over a week on test with mixed driving it averaged 58.5mpg. A total driving range of 372 miles should be possible. The battery can be fully charged in 2.5 hours if using a 7.4 kW charger.

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEVAlfa Romeo Tonale PHEV

Price and Model Range

Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce 1.3 280 PHEV Q4 EAWD is priced from £48,495. With £3,100 of options, the total price of our test car was £51,595.

The Tonale comes in three trim levels: TI, Veloce and Edizione Speciale, and with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. A mild hybrid version is also available.

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEVAlfa Romeo Tonale PHEV

Conclusion

We’ve previously reviewed the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV, which was excellent to drive, but in petrol form, not very green. The Alfa Romeo Tonale, with its electric range of up to 40 miles, offers much greater efficiency, but the driving experience majors more on comfort than sharpness. It also offers all-wheel drive, and a practical body style, but perhaps the main selling point for many people will be the Alfa Romeo badge, which to date hasn’t been seen on a family-friendly SUV with zero emission capability. The Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce 1.3 280 PHEV Q4 EAWD gains a Green Car Guide rating of 8/10.

Car facts and figures Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV Review

  • Test economy: 58.5 mpg
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 29 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):  £0 year 1, £510 year 2 onwards
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2022/23): TBC %
  • Price:  £48,495
  • Insurance group:  TBC
  • Power:  280 hp (Engine)
  • Torque:  270 Nm (Engine)
  • Max speed:  128 mph
  • 0-62 mph:  6.2 seconds
  • Weight:  1,910 kg
  • Towing capacity: 1,250 kg
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor