Alfa Romeo has begun taking pre-orders for its Tonale SUV in the U.S. where prices start at $44,995. That money buys a basic Ti-spec car, but buyers have the option of upgrading to the the plusher Veloce version for an additional $2,500.
That means the cheapest Tonale costs a massive $14,405 more than the entry-level version of its Dodge Hornet twin. But while both the $30,590 Hornet GT and $35,490 GT Plus are powered by a conventional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that sends 265 hp (268 PS) to all four wheels, all North American Tonales get an entirely different plug-in hybrid drivetrain not offered on the Dodge.
The PHEV Tonale’s front wheels are driven by a 1.3-liter gasoline engine and the rears by an electric motor, with the two power sources delivering a combined 285 hp (289 PS) and 350 lb-ft (475 Nm) of torque. That’s enough for a 6-second zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) time and an estimated 30 miles (50 km) of electric-only driving.
Both versions of the Tonale are well equipped and offer a hands-free tailgate, adaptive LED Tribolo headlamps, a 12.3-in digital gauge cluster, 18-inch wheels, heated seats and wheel, wireless phone charger, adaptive cruise control, and a 10.25-in touchscreen featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Options on the base Ti include 19- and 20-inch wheels ($1,500 and $2,000), a $1,500 High-Performance Driving Package that includes paddle shifters, aluminum pedals, and red Brembo brake calipers, and a $2,500 Premium Interior and Sound Package that brings ventilated leather seats and a 12-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system.
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Stump up the additional $2,500 for the Veloce and the standard kit list grows to include 19-inch wheels, Alcantara upholstery, aluminum shift paddles, adaptive dampers, a dark grille treatment, and chrome exhaust tips. Once customers have placed their order on the reservations page a dealer will contact them to finalize the build details. Alfa says U.S. cars will begin production in March 2023 with the first deliveries happening in May.
So how does the Ti stack up against its premium rivals from BMW and Audi? The bad news for Alfa is that both the new BMW X1 and Audi Q3 start at less than $40,000, but neither yet offers a hybrid powertrain option in the U.S. The sole engine option in the Audi is a 2.0-liter turbo four developing 228 hp (231 PS), while BMW’s X1 is currently only available in xDrive28i form, which also means a 2.0-liter turbo motor, this one developing 241 hp (244 PS).
Is the Tonale too expensive, or does the hybrid powertrain and extra horsepower help it justify the extra cost over its premium rivals (and its Dodge Hornet brother)? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.