Alfa Romeo’s wants to expand its customer base with its all-new Tonale SUV, beyond catering to existing customers looking to downsize.
“Tonale is positioned in the second highest-selling premium segment overall, behind the Stelvio [segment]. So, it’s really important for us to delve into new segments, and open our product offering to a new range of customers,” product manager for small and compact product lines at Stellantis Australia, Bridget Thomson, told CarExpert.
“But also we’re looking after the Alfisti who love the Giulia and Stelvio as well, but may want to downsize. So we’re not only opening ourselves up to a wider customer base and growing brand, but also looking after those existing customers.”
Ms Thomson said key aspects of the Tonale that have sparked pre-launch interest include the sub-$50,000 starting price – which is $25,000 more affordable than the cheapest Stelvio – though the bulk of early orders have been for fully-optioned Tonale Veloces, which work out to over $60,000 before on-roads.
Some 70 per cent of pre-orders have been for the Tonale Hybrid Veloce, with buyers showing a skew towards the Alfa Red and Montreal Green exterior colours – the latter a pricey $2500 option.
As of May 30, prior to the Tonale’s official sales launch in Australia, 50 units of Alfa Romeo’s smallest SUV have been registered – 19 of those were in May, which put it second behind the Stelvio (25 units).
The Italian marque has been in a quiet period in the lead-up to June, while waiting for the Tonale to arrive as well as facelifted versions of the Giulia and Stelvio which arrive this month.
Pricing for the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid kicks off at $49,900 for the entry-level Ti, and climbs to $56,400 before on-roads for the flagship Veloce.
All versions at launch are powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine augmented by a 48V hybrid system that, unlike most 48V mild-hybrids, is able to offer low-speed electric drive.
Outputs are rated at 118kW and 240Nm, channelled to the front wheels exclusively via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Alfa Romeo quotes thrifty combined fuel consumption of just 5.6L per 100km.
Later this year, Alfa Romeo Australia will add in the Tonale Plug-in Hybrid Q4 to the local range, pairing a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine hooked up to the front wheels only, and an electric motor powering the rear axle, with system power of 205kW and a claimed 0-100km/h time of 6.2 seconds.
The 15.5kWh on-board hybrid battery offers a claimed EV driving range of 60km on the combined cycle. A 7.4kW AC home wallbox will charge it up in about 2.5 hours.
Stay tuned to CarExpert for our launch review of the Tonale at 05:00 AEST, June 16!