The highly-anticipated Alfa Romeo Tonale premium compact SUV has to be the most important launch for the Italian marque in over a decade. Even despite the ongoing semiconductor shortage which pushed the product unveiling of the Tonale back several months, Stellantis engineers are continuing the fine-tune the new Alfa Romeo out on the public roads of Italy.
This time, we are getting our best look yet at a near-production-ready version of the Tonale. Our friends at GabetzSPYUnit, managed to get a series of very detailed photos of the new Tonale in action. The production-ready Tonale looks like a more refined version of the leaked Tonale design clinic study we saw back in October 2019.
The Tonale clinic study showed us a much more elegant and sleek-looking version of the Tonale Concept that was shown at the Geneva International Motor Show in 2019. The Compass-sized SUV still featured much of the concept’s cues, like the muscular side flares, tri-taillight design connected by the Alfa Romeo logo in the center of the hatch, and thrust forward front fascia design. The clinic design also featured hidden exterior rear door handles like the concept and lower rear fascia exhaust outlets.
Looking at these latest photos, we can see a lot of the Tonale clinic study design has carried over to the production model. The headlamp design with the switchback daytime running lights (DRLs) / turn signals mirror the clinic study. The grille mesh between the headlamp and the traditional Alfa Romeo grille has changed from a smaller mesh to a slatted design, as we can see it peeking out from the driver’s side of the vehicle. We see that the Alfa Romeo tri-grille design still has the same grille pattern as the clinic study, and the lower opening in the front fascia will carry that mesh as well.
From the side profile of the vehicle, we can see most of the clinic study vehicle’s design has been carried over. The muscular side sills are prominently there. But there is one massive noticeable change to the production unit – exterior rear door handles. It seems that the Alfa Romeo design team has made the decision to bring exposed door handles to the marketplace.
Since we have already seen the entry-level Tonale Sprint model in recent spy photos, we believe that this tester is the upper-level Veloce model. The wheel design is very similar to that of the Stelvio Veloce trim for 2022.
When looking at the back of this latest tester, it looks virtually identical to the clinical study. The tri-taillight design matches the clinic study, even with the camouflage and black tape across the top of the taillight lenses. It appears that the tester continues the LED strip towards the middle of the vehicle. Looking at the rear window glass, the rear window wiper and rear window surround are a complete match.
The only thing we are having a hard time seeing is the presence of exhaust openings in the rear fascia. Even the rear backup camera is located in the same location as the clinic study, only confirming the vehicle’s exterior design.
Those clinic study photos that were leaked, also gave us a sneak peek of what the Tonale’s interior might look like (which you can see above). GabetzSPYUnit was able to get a quick shot of the instrument panel which was camouflaged in this tester. The tester appears to follow the design of the clinic study design. There is a narrow touchscreen display, however, it looks bigger than the one seen on the clinic study model. It continues to be a tablet unit (similar to the unit in the new electrified 500e).
We can also see a partially exposed rounded vent on the passenger side of the dash and the wide to narrowing mid-bolster that was also on the clinic study design. It leads us to think that the production model will be very similar to the images leaked. The leaked photos showed the iconic start-up button on the left side of the steering wheel, a wireless phone charger located in the center console, and an all-digital gauge cluster (something we have seen in a lot of Stellantis products recently).
The all-new Tonale will be produced at the Stellantis Pomigliano d’Arco in Italy. The compact SUV will be built alongside a new Dodge variant called the Hornet, which will be imported to the North American market next year.
Under the hood of the Tonale, our sources have indicated that certain models of the Tonale will feature a new turbocharged 1.5-liter “FireFly” inline-four-cylinder engine from the Stellantis Global Small Engine (GSE) family. That engine should feature mild-hybrid (mHEV) technology and will be available in certain models of the lineup. We have also seen proof that the turbocharged 1.3-liter “FireFly” inline-four-cylinder from the GSE lineup, will also be used. That engine is used in vehicles like the Jeep® Renegade, Jeep Compass, Fiat 500X, and Fiat Toro. In Europe, the 1.3-liter is best known for being a key part of the Renegade and Compass 4xe plug-in electric (PHEV) powertrain.
The Tonale is expected to push the Italian marque on the global stage by offering a vehicle in one of the most competitive segments in the auto industry. We believe that the Tonale will be unveiled before the end of Q1 2022.
2022 Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce Prototype Image Gallery: