Why I’m So Excited to Drive the Alfa Romeo Tonale Plug-in Hybrid Electric SUV

Elegant design and a fast electric drive experience? Sign me up. We got a peek at the Alfa Romeo Tonale and it's advanced design, tech and electric power.

Alfa Romeo Tonale Featured Image

Ciao, bella. 

“Gucci is like a cake. You’ll have a taste, and you want more. Then you’ll want the whole thing for yourself.”

That quote from the movie House of Gucci might describe Alfa Romeo, too — though, owning one of the classic Italian brand’s models, rather than sitting atop the House of Gucci (which we all know, turned out badly for Patrizia and Maurizio).

The brand pairs classic Milanese style and elegance with performance to create some of the most pleasing cars on the road. They’re popular in stylish places like New York, Los Angeles and Miami, and with younger luxury car buyers who love the pairing of a style-focused car with a spirited drive experience. 

And with the introduction of the Tonale, expected to hit US dealers in early 2023, the company intends to further share the elegance of Alfa Romeo driving and design, as and create demand for sporty, electric driving. 

Related: Vintage Heritage Meets Modern Technology: Alfa Romeo’s Newest Model Will Also Lead the Brand into the Electric Car Future

The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale

The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale

Elegance — in Driving and Aesthetics 

When I think of Alfa Romeo SUVs— the Stelivio, and now, the Tonale— I think of Lady Gaga sashaying elegantly across a muddy construction site in heels, a sweater draped over her shoulders in the opening scenes of House of Gucci. She was unfazed by the rough, muddy setting, easily crossing the parking lot and climbing the steps to the construction trailer without letting it ruin her style. It’s what we love about the Stelvio and what we look forward to in the slightly smaller, but equally as elegant Tonale: Mud, ruts and snow can’t force us to compromise style and grace.

Related: Looking for a Wild Ride? Netflix’s 6 Underground Has It, and the Alfa Romeos Will Take Your Breath Away

The Front Cabin Of The Alfa Romeo Tonale

The front cabinThe front cabin of the Alfa Romeo Tonale

Why Tonale?   

I recently got the chance to see the Alfa Romeo Tonale up close with the company’s president Larry Dominique. He gave us an idea of what to expect when this car comes to the US market and he talked about the customer this car is designed for. 

  • First, it’s for those who love an elegant drive experience as much as an elegant design. The elegant drive comes from several things: Tonale, like Stelvio, has a balanced 50/50 weight distribution. This means that steering, braking and acceleration will seem effortless because everything is in perfect balance. You can essentially steer this car with your fingertips, which is the experience I had when driving the Stelvio.
  • Then, it’s perfect for those who want take the plunge into electric driving. With about 35 miles of all electric driving, drivers can plug it in daily and drive in “A” mode for Advanced Efficiency, or all electric driving. Then, the gas-powered engine will take over when the battery charge has run out
  • Taking that elegance of driving a bit further, drivers can put it in “D” mode, or dynamic. This shifts all of the power the electric motor can generate to the rear wheels, generating a stunning 1844 pound feet of torque when the accelerator is pushed. It promises to be quite fast. 
  • With a dual motor/engine system — an engine under the hood and a motor on the rear axle— the Tonale has standard all wheel drive; each wheel will have all the power it needs, whether its for cutting a tight corner on a curvy road or climbing over a snow mound at the end of your driveway

Related: 9 Reasons You Should Consider the Alfa Romeo Stelvio for Your Next SUV

The Rear End Of The Alfa Romeo Tonale

The rear end of the Alfa Romeo Tonale

An Elegant Design That Keeps You Looking. And Looking

The model we toured was a stunning jewel-toned green, a perfect color match for the Alfa Romeo logo and a complement to the Italian flag, though with a deeply reflective nature that seemed to glow like an emerald. The Tonale has slim but distinct lines that span its sides from front to rear, which are accented by new tri-scroll lights that frame the headlights and a tri-scroll design on the rear tail lights. Both front and rear lights are part of the turn signal system and will light in sequence 1-2-3 from the center, something seen on Mustang and Audi models— turn signals that flash in sequence. I love this so much.

Inside the Tonale, the interior design is intended to lend the elegance of both aesthetics and drive experience. So you’ll sink into lovely seats and find every command at your fingertips, from the distinct stop/start button on the steering wheel, the Ferrari-engineered paddle shifters mounted on the steering column and the DNA drive mode selector just above the gear selector. 

Tonale has a large driver information screen, and in a first for Alfa Romeo, a large 12” multimedia screen on the dashboard. In addition to the new screen, buyers will find the new updated UConnect 5 System “Alfa-tized” to give it a custom feel to the Tonale. 

The Gear Selector Has A Classic, Elegant Look To It

The gear selector has a classic, elegant look to it

Elegant, Modern Technology

One of those custom features? Just say “Hey Alfa” and the system’s voice-activated assistant is there to help you: Change the radio station, set the cabin temperature, find your navigation destination. Add that technology to wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a full suite of driver assist and safety systems, all standard. Just another elegant reason we can’t wait to drive this plug-in electric hybrid SUV.

Though, we’ll have to wait a few more months. The Tonale, which is named for a mountain pass in the Alps that sits at a slightly lower elevation that the Stelvio Pass, hasn’t been priced yet and it won’t make its way to the US until early 2023. But a thing of beauty and elegance demands patience, so we’re willing to wait. 

A Girls Guide To Cars | Why I’m So Excited To Drive The Alfa Romeo Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Electric Suv - My Partner In Crime At The Tonale Tent At F1 In Austin Kristin Shaw

My partner in crime at the Tonale tent at F1 in Austin, Kristin Shaw

Disclosure: I was Alfa Romeo’s guest for the F1 Grand Prix in Austin, TX; all opinions are my own. 

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss