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Car Review

Alfa Romeo Tonale review

£38,320
710
Published: 25 Apr 2023
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Buying

What should I be paying?

Alfa Romeo’s designers didn’t want blue flourishes or chintzy badges to set the plug-in hybrid apart, so besides looking for two filler caps, your best way of spotting the Q4 is the ‘elettro biscione’.

Not a fancy biscuit to go with your morning cappuccino, rather the serpent of Alfa’s famous badge reimagined with an electric plug emerging from its mouth rather than a stricken human. You’ll find it subtly embossed in the rear quarter glass on one side of the car. Naturally where the EV socket is. A mix up would have been embarrassing…

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Expect it to be the big seller, too, its low CO2 dropping right into the world of low BIK rates in a way the rest of the Alfa Romeo range doesn’t. With the Giulia and Stelvio, Alfa blipped on the radar of around 15 per cent of British buyers. Launching a car in the smallish-but-quite-practical-crossover sector – as the Tonale slots right into – lifts that figure to 40 per cent. Want more ‘well that’s what they would say’ statements? It’s aimed at younger buyers than ever (aged 30 to 50), more female buyers than usual (40 per cent) and many of those will be completely new to the brand.

It's all of humongous benefit to Alfa itself, of course, but what about us? Well, this is designed to be a more profitable model than the company is used to, with the promise it can fund “the £150,000 supercars this brand is capable of selling”. The Tonale is going to bankroll the fun stuff, in other words. We’re due to see something special in time for the 100th anniversary of the Quadrifoglio badge later in 2023.

So what’s the pricing like?

The Tonale kicks off right in the thick of the posh end of smallish-but-quite-practical-crossovers, too, starting at £40,000 – or around £400 per month – for the base Tonale Ti. It comes with a heap of active safety systems that allow Level 2 autonomous driving as well as heated and ventilated seats, 18in phone-dial wheels and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon stereo.

Upgrade to the £42,500 (or £450 per month) Tonale Veloce, as two-thirds of buyers will, and you’ll get the fancier suspension, 19in wheels, steering wheel paddleshifters and some nicer trim inside, as well as that slightly more assertive black grille up front. If you’re swift, there’s a limited ‘Speciale’ launch edition that brings 20in alloys and some more distinctive trim to the base Ti while also cutting its price a little.

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The plug-in hybrid version represents a six grand premium over its mild hybrid base, starting at £46,000 and slinking past £50,000 if you want a Veloce with leather seats and one of the fancier paint jobs (you’ll want Montreal Green just for the name). But fleet users will likely identify it as the smarter choice.

Our PowerPoint onslaught also informed us that Alfa Romeo ownership satisfaction is on something of a high – perhaps to assuage some of the old reliability concerns that our old Giulia Quadrifoglio long-term test car couldn’t dodge – while the Tonale is an industry first; a car whose logbook and service history isn’t a bunch of papers to be handed messily around by a series of owners, rather it’s an entirely virtual NFT (non-fungible token). Perhaps they’re targeting younger owners by alienating the older ones…

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