Base Camp: 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale

Alfa’s fun to drive compact crossover is here; the question is Sprint or Veloce?

By Matthew Guy Wheels.ca

May 29, 2023 3 min. read

Article was updated 4 months ago

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Alfa remains a bit player in the Canadian car market, having sold just 167 units through the first quarter of this year. That’s approximately 56 fewer than the number of Ram pickup trucks sold every day, on average, during the same timeframe. In other words, Alfa Romeo is a solid choice if you’re looking for reasonably affordable exclusivity.

Fresh out of the gate is their new Tonale, an Italian-built compact (some would argue subcompact) crossover packing all-wheel drive as standard equipment. An iZEV-eligible plug-in hybrid powertrain will be available as an option in Canada later this year but, for now, the Tonale moves itself with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine making a reasonable 256 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic handles shifting duties.

Up front we find a trademark Alfa Romeo grille, stretching from the hood’s leading edge and dramatically diving towards the pavement. At each corner are so-called ‘phone dial’ wheels which are perfectly suited to duty on an Alfa; LED lamps are standard all around and there are washers for the front peepers. The sole no-charge paint selection is Alfa White but tasty Alfa Rosso is only a $200 proposition. Meanwhile, metallic options like Misano Blue are $900 extra.

Alfa romeo tonale sprint

The brand chooses to include several handy interior features on the $47,190 Sprint trim, such as a wireless charging pad for yer devices and enough charging ports to keep everyone happy (and quiet). Air conditioning with dual-zone climate control is present, along with a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel. Infotainment is handled by a 10.25-inch touchscreen packing navigation and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto plus satellite radio. Another 12.3-inch display sits ahead of the driver to pull duty as a colourful instrument cluster. The power 8-way front seats are heated and there’s a universal garage door opener for those of you with covered parking.

What We'd Choose

The leap to a Veloce trim is only $1,500 and brings functional items like an adaptive dual-stage valve suspension system for entertaining handling plus zooty red Brembo-branded brakes and 19-inch wheels. A power liftgate is also nifty, as are ventilated front seats and interior ambient lighting. These five items are more than enough to warrant the extra cash – particularly the suspension and liftgate.

By now, know-it-all eggheads are surely bleating that the Dodge Hornet, a close cousin to the Alfa Romeo Tonale with the same structure and powertrain options, starts at $40,190 – making the Dodge a significant $7,000 walk from the zesty Italian. However, while the bones are similar, the content level is not. Hornet GT customers do without wireless charging, power/heated seats, 18-inch wheels, remote start – and the list continues. Jumping to the GT Plus brings those features but jacks the sticker to $46,190, at which point one is back into Alfa territory. The GT Plus also includes a sunroof as standard, ruining headroom; that feature is optional on both the Sprint and Veloce trims of the Tonale.

Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one - or the required options - which earns a passing grade.





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