Here’s where we want to see an improvement over the mild-hybrid. This is supposed to be the “sportiest” model in the Tonale range, so if we are to buy into Alfa Romeo’s commitment to “efficient sportiness” and maintaining that performance philosophy, then the Tonale PHEV has to entertain.
We tested the car both on the road and, rather surprisingly, on the Balocco test track, so our impressions are something of a split decision.
Firstly, on the road, it feels accomplished and comfortable when cruising, just as you’d expect from any SUV in the market. The roads in the area aren’t quite as bad for potholes as many UK roads, but generally the Tonale manages well. Begin to push a little bit and engage both the petrol and electric powertrains and the view gets a little muddy. It accelerates pretty satisfyingly and holds the road well, however it does tend to cling onto gears when you lift off. It can also feel pretty twitchy when you start to push harder through the corners, especially over uneven surfaces. Overall the road performance of the Tonale PHEV is a huge improvement over the mild-hybrid, even though we struggle to accept that this will ever feel like a ‘sporty’ car.
That said, the opportunity to take this car out on the track did at least induce a smile. We are some way off the kind of thrills you can get from a Giulia or even Stelvio Quadrifoglio, but the Tonale in this more powerful plug-in hybrid form is more than enough to satisfy.
In terms of electric range and fuel economy, the Tonale PHEV promises quite strong figures, but a real-world test may reduce these slightly. The all-electric motor is good for 80km and the total non-urban range with the engine is over 600km.