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Long-term review

Alfa Romeo Tonale - long-term review

£48,495 / as tested £53,345 / PCM £534
Published: 08 Jan 2024


  • SPEC

    Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce 1.3 280 PHEV AT EAWD



  • BHP


  • 0-62


Life with an Alfa Romeo Tonale: do the modes actually change the car?

There are occasions when life takes over and you feel like you’re helterskelter running headlong into every moment of every day. And then, all of a sudden, you have the opportunity to breathe. Ahhhhhh. Maybe while you’re on a long roadtrip. On pleasantly winding roads.

This, it turns out, is also an excellent moment to begin playing with all the buttons in the car. Because frankly, until this moment, you’ve been too stupidly busy even to take in that buttons exist, let alone actually push them.

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This is the exact situation I found myself in recently. A glorious road, no phone signal and the opportunity to play with the Tonale’s settings. I started by turning the DNA wheel to D. It turns the car into a totally different machine. Everything firms up and feels sporty – genuinely, it is quite the transformation. Instead of feeling like a gently rolling SUV, the Alfa wizardry makes the Tonale feel like a slick saloon, taking corners like a pro and giving all the feedback on the road you could ever want. Quite the ‘driving god’ setting.

Then, to balance out the equation, I turned the DNA wheel to A. A for economy? Seems spelling isn’t a strong point for Alfa. Anyway, it improves the efficiency no end as it uses up your electric stash and as a result ups your mpg by a couple of notches. When there is no electricity left, A doesn’t function and the car reverts to N. Which seemed to me to be a cheeky invitation to flick the wheel back into D and enjoy a bit more of the drive.

Quick summing up: D massively increases your driving enjoyment, but it’s not really worth deploying all the time on the motorway, better to leave it to twisty roads and when you need sudden overtaking oomph. And A works well to improve economy, but only for as long a period as you have electric to feed it. TBH, on my commute, I stay in N most of the time... but it’s reassuring to know D is just a flick away when the mood takes you.

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