Alfa Romeo unveils its beautiful baby SUV, and it's a hybrid
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
Alfa Romeo has unveiled a petrol-electric hybrid SUV at Geneva, giving fans the best indication yet of what the upcoming PHEV model – currently known as Tonale – will look like.
Named after the Tonale Pass, a mountainous route through the Italian Alps, the Tonale (pronounced Tone-ah-lay) concept car is a medium-sized plug-in hybrid concept that Alfa boss Timothy Kuniskis says “could” preview a future C-segment SUV from the brand.
Stylistically it resembles a mini Stelvio, with a slightly more aggressive nose silhouette but with a broadly similar profile.
From the front, the distinctive V-shaped ‘scudetto’ radiator grille is flanked by the ‘tre più tre’ headlights, which echo those of the ultra-rare SZ sports car and the more modern Type 939 models. It’s a striking and (dare I say) actually rather attractive SUV, which is depressingly unusual in an automotive world dominated by gratuitous German monoliths.
Underneath the bodywork it will share a lot of oily bits with the Jeep Renegade, one of the most popular models in the Fiat Chrysler family. It’s unlikely to be a serious off-roader, which is no surprise given the market, but we expect some 4x4 capability. Ultimately, the Tonale’s production version will probably come in two- and four-wheel drive versions, with two-wheel transmissions likely to outweigh the more expensive four-wheel.
The production model will sit below the Stelvio in Alfa’s model line-up, becoming the second SUV ever built by the Italian manufacturer. It will compete with cars such as the Range Rover Evoque, BMW X1, Audi Q3, as well as the top trim levels of non-premium SUVs from brands such as Hyundai, Kia and Skoda.
A price of $65,000 wouldn’t be unlikely.
Designer Klaus Busse spoke at the Geneva motor show, describing the Tonale’s “essential beauty” where “no detail is without purpose”. Gushing, yes, but if the production model looks anything like the show car then it will be easily the most attractive product in its segment. And we’re told that the concept is pretty true to life, with mostly practical changes awaiting it as it progresses towards the showroom.
The idea of Alfa Romeo producing an SUV was unthinkable until relatively recently, and any suggestion that the Italian brand would make a plug-in hybrid would have been similarly ridiculous. But in the next year or two we’ll be able to drive an Alfa Romeo PHEV, based on the chassis of a Jeep.
- Telegraph UK