The focus of this particular review is the Veloce part of the words Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce. We have already drive the Tonale Plug-In Hybrid in the UK (here), but that was purely in the car’s “Speciale” base trim. Veloce doesn’t gain anything in powertrain terms – this is still a four-cylinder 1.3-litre petrol connected to a plug-in hybrid system. It still produces 280PS (206kW) max and 270Nm (199lb ft) combined. The electric motor is on the rear axle and provides 250Nm (184lb ft) and when it’s asked for everything the Tonale Veloce will hit 62mph in 6.2 seconds. That’s all exactly the same as the Speciale.
What the Veloce has that its sibling does not, is an adjustable damping system. If you haven’t read the Speciale review, go do it now, but in short adjustable damping would seem on the face of it to help solve some of the basic Tonale’s issues. I won’t keep you in suspense, but that’s exactly what they do. The steering is still lacklustre, but the damping in its firmer setting helps to communicate more of what the chassis is doing to you. We’ve always said, since we first drove the mild-hybrid Tonale in 2022, that this car has an excellent chassis, held back by everything between it and you. So to have a more sensible damping setting does make a big difference.
Rather than learning to expect what the Tonale will do and trying to pre-empt it, you can more often react to the car’s movements. The car feels more comfortable in the corners, especially tighter ones, when it has its dampers turned to the max than the Speciale ever did.
It’s not all perfect. The steering is roughly the same, obviously made better by simply being attached to a better car, but still giving little in the way of information. And the powertrain is sluggish to work out what to do. There’s power and torque there, but the brain between electric motor and engine feels a little bit under-developed. It’s better than the frankly shocking system we found on the mild-hybrid, but still can leave you wondering where all the power has gone.