Alfa Romeo first plug-in hybrid crossover – Quick preview
Can the compact Tonale help reverse the brand’s sales decline?
Alfa Romeo revealed its next model, called the Tonale. This attractive new crossover will come to the US in a couple of different powertrain options. One of them being the brand’s first-ever plug-in hybrid. But most of the news you’ll read about the Tonale will probably focus on the vehicle’s included non-fungible token. It will apparently use the blockchain to keep track of servicing records and accident history.
The Tonale is a smaller car than the Stelvio SUV, but it’s clearly part of the same family, thanks to the characteristic Alfa “trefoil” grille. Alfa namechecks the diminutive Giulia GT Junior as an inspiration for the line that runs down the side of the car. Although I’m not sure I see it. I do get the reference to the SZ, a composite-bodied sports car that Alfa Romeo built from 1989 to 1991, in the triple headlights.
The plug-in hybrid Tonale combines a gasoline engine that drives the front wheels (via a six-speed automatic transmission) with an electric motor that drives the rear wheels. The engine is a 1.3 L turbocharged MultiAir four-cylinder that generates 180 hp (134 kW). The electric motor contributing another 120 hp (90 kW) to la festa. Total power output is 272 hp (203 kW). The 15.5 kWh lithium-ion traction battery has an electric-only range of 30 miles (48 km), Alfa says.
Alternatively, another powertrain option gives you a 2.0 L turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This variant drives all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission and packs 256 hp (191 kW).
It’s hard to make out too many styling details in the company-provided interior photos. We can see that Alfa is sticking with its excellent steering wheel design for at least a while longer. The infotainment screen stands proud on the dashboard and runs the Android-based Uconnect 5, with support for wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus Alexa integration.
The most controversial feature of the Tonale will probably be its NFT. Alfa says the NFT will be “a confidential and non-modifiable record of the main stages in the life of an individual vehicle”. And that “with the customer’s consent, the NFT will record vehicle data, generating a certificate that can be used to assure the car has been properly maintained.” The Italian automaker is not saying which blockchain it’s using to mint these NFTs.
The Tonale will be available in three different trims—Sprint, Ti, and Veloce. Alfa isn’t ready to tell us how much the Tonale will cost. Cars will arrive in North American dealerships in the first quarter of 2023.