The compact performance SUV must be a winner, or else.
It's been almost two years since the Alfa Romeo Tonale debuted in concept form at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. We were told then it was strictly a concept vehicle, but the reality is the struggling Italian brand desperately needs a production version. Sales of the Stelvio SUV and Giulia sedan haven't been stellar and we'll soon be bidding farewell to the 4C Spider. Alfa Romeo needs some fresh blood.
Fortunately, a new report from Spanish language Motor.es indicates the production-spec Tonale will debut next summer as a 2022 model and will go on sale in parts of Europe in November. A Launch Edition is also planned. Sales will begin en masse in February 2022. US market sales should also get underway at around that time.
Presently, Alfa Romeo is completing the finishing touches to the assembly line in Pomigliano d'Arco, Italy where the Tonale will be produced.
The general exterior styling will very closely resemble the concept. Supposedly, only about 10 percent of the styling was changed, such as larger side mirrors and tweaked headlights and taillights. No significant changes will be made to the interior layout with the concept's overall dashboard design. Expect the use of high-quality materials throughout and the latest driver-assist and connectivity technologies.
Under the hood, a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine is expected, connected to a 48-volt mild-hybrid electrical system rated at around 330 horsepower. Alas, a full-blown hot Quadrifoglio version is not in the cards.
The Tonale is not the only new crossover Alfa Romeo intends to launch; a subcompact model, potentially called Brennero, could also debut sometime in 2022. It will serve as a more luxurious alternative to the next generation Fiat 500X and its twin, the Jeep Renegade. Unlike the Tonale, the Brennero won't be built in Italy but rather in Poland.
The Tonale's 2022 debut should not be affected by the just-announced completion of the FCA-PSA merger. If anything, the vehicle could help decide Alfa Romeo's future. The new CEO of the combined automaker, Carlos Tavares, has a reputation for killing slow-selling vehicles and, perhaps, underperforming brands.