New baby Alfa Romeo SUV to target Nissan Juke and Audi Q2
Alfa Romeo’s third SUV will be available with petrol and all-electric powertrains, and our exclusive images preview how it could look
Alfa Romeo has refocused its future product plan and will launch a new baby crossover designed to rival the Nissan Juke in the next two years. The crossover will also be the Italian company’s first model to be offered with the option of fully electric power, official documents have revealed.
The firm was relatively late bringing its first SUV, the Stelvio, to market in 2017 and since then Alfa has yet to broaden its SUV offering. Aware that it is losing out on valuable market share and profits, Alfa is refocusing its SUV plans and will bring two smaller models to market in the next 24 months. The first will be a version of the Tonale concept, first seen at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, but a smaller electric crossover will follow.
The recent merger between Alfa’s owner, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), and Groupe PSA, which owns Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall, gives Alfa Romeo access to all of the necessary mechanical running gear to get a compact, fully electric crossover to market quickly. PSA’s strength in developing electric vehicles was one of the key benefits FCA identified in striking a deal.
While unconfirmed, it’s almost certain that the future crossover will be based upon the Compact Modular Platform (CMP) that is used as a basis for the Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e. Currently the architecture can accommodate a 50kWh lithium-ion battery pack and one electric motor that drives the front axle for a maximum range of around 200 miles. For a compact B-segment crossover it’s unlikely Alfa will change the set-up of the architecture to accommodate four-wheel drive, given the car’s expected use as urban transport. This will also help keep the cost of the vehicle down.
As well as a fully electric option, Alfa will offer conventional petrol engines for those not ready to make the jump to a full EV. The platform is originally PSA-engineered, so it’s likely that the 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine from the current Corsa and 208 line-ups will find its way into Alfa crossover. This will allow Alfa to further reduce costs and bring the vehicle to market more quickly.
While Alfa will have little input into the running gear, the design will be unique, as our exclusive images preview. Slender LED headlamps and Alfa’s trademark trapezoidal grille will be its standout features, while its expected length of around 4.1 metres will make it a match for models such as the Audi Q2 and Nissan Juke.
The as-yet-unnamed crossover will go a considerable way to helping boost Alfa’s sales figures, which didn’t take off in the way the company expected with the Stelvio. Nissan regularly shifts around 60,000 Jukes each year in Europe – almost two thirds of Alfa’s entire annual sales on the continent.
A model that will beat the electric crossover into showrooms is the all-new Tonale SUV (above). It will sit in the segment above, rivalling models such as the Audi Q3 and BMW X2. It will be around 4.25 metres long, and is due to go on sale at the end of this year. It won’t be offered as a fully electric model, but it will be available as a plug-in hybrid, using the platform and running gear that currently underpin the Jeep Renegade.
This model will be Alfa’s first electrified vehicle, expected to pair a 1.3-litre engine with a small electric motor on the rear axle. This will enable the firm to develop four-wheel drive, with the electric motor powering the rear wheels and the engine driving the front axle. It should allow owners to travel up to 31 miles on pure-electric power.
Rounding off the confirmed models due by 2022 will be facelifted versions of the Giulia saloon and Stelvio SUV, both expected in around 12 months.
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