Just days before its official reveal on February 8, Alfa Romeo has been spied testing two Tonale SUV prototypes in the snow.

    Still wearing a considerable amount of camouflage, the Tonale is Alfa Romeo’s second SUV and its first electrified model.

    Thus far, Alfa Romeo has only revealed a single teaser image of the Tonale as part of its reveal invitation.

    There have been no earth-shattering changes between the production model and either the original concept or the vehicle leaked later in 2019.

    One of the spied Tonale prototypes has silver alloy wheels with prototype tail lights, whereas the other has black alloy wheels, production tail lights and a blocked-off grille.

    From the front, there’s a triangular grille with a large lower air intake underneath. There are also LED headlights with three distinct sections and integrated indicators.

    Around the side, the spied Tonale prototypes have a typical small crossover SUV silhouette.

    The 2019 Tonale concept appeared to have rear door handles that were mounted high near the C-pillar. Think of the Toyota C-HR, or the old Alfa Romeo 156 to get an idea. These look to have been replaced with more conventional units.

    At the back, the Tonale prototype with the black wheels has production tail lights that are heavily covered in black camouflage.

    Although they’re covered, we can see the tail lights also have the same three distinct sections like the headlights.

    Our spy photographers were also able to capture a brief look at the interior of one of the Tonale prototypes.

    The Tonale prototype appears to have both a physical dial and digital speedometer read-outs, as well as an iPad-like touchscreen infotainment system.

    Mr Imparato has previously indicated that Alfa Romeo won’t be following the trend of screen-dependent interiors.

    The Alfa Romeo Tonale is expected to share its mechanicals with the Jeep Compass 4xe, which uses a 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated with an electric motor for the rear axle.

    There’s a 11.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack, good for 48km of pure electric driving according to the WLTP test standard.

    Total system output is up to 177kW of power.

    Polish site Spidersweb reports the Tonale will measure 4528mm long and 1835mm wide on a 2636mm wheelbase, the latter idential to that of the Compass.

    While the Stelvio competes with the likes of the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, the Tonale is expected to be Alfa’s rival to the Audi Q3.

    Alfa Romeo has committed to the Australian market and the Tonale looks set to join the Giulia sedan and Stelvio.

    “It is on the roadmap for us,” said Alfa Romeo Australia’s head of product and marketing Andre Scott in 2021.

    “It’s clearly the beginning of our electric future. That is the line in the sand from a product development perspective that says once Tonale hits, Alfa Romeo is electric.”

    The Tonale was first previewed by a concept at the 2019 Geneva motor show, before photos of a seemingly production-ready model were leaked later that year.

    In early 2021, the Tonale’s launch was delayed, reportedly due to Alfa Romeo boss Jean-Philippe Imparato wanting to get better performance from the crossover’s plug-in hybrid powertrain.

    The Tonale isn’t expected to remain as Alfa Romeo’s entry-level SUV for long.

    A smaller SUV, possibly called the Brennero, will reportedly enter production in 2023 alongside new SUVs for Fiat and Jeep.

    It’s expected to use Stellantis’ CMP platform, shared with other small crossovers like the Peugeot 2008 and DS3 Crossback.

    Like those models, it’ll reportedly offer an electric option, making it Alfa Romeo’s first electric vehicle (EV).

    MORE: Alfa Romeo Tonale reveal set for February 8

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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