Alfa Romeo Tonale review - Interior, design and technology
We love the slick infotainment system, however cabin quality can’t match the Tonale’s closest rivals from Germany and Sweden
It might be based on a platform that can trace its roots back nearly 20 years to an old Fiat hatchback, but you’d never know it just by looking at the Tonale. It’s a great-looking family car that adds some flair and style to a segment not exactly known for flamboyant design. There are even some references to iconic Alfas of yesteryear, from the SZ in the triple-element light clusters, the 8C with its window line, and (although this one is perhaps a bit of a stretch) the sixties GT’s silhouette.
The interior is fairly minimalist but not quite to the same extent as the latest Volvo cabins, nor does it rely quite so heavily on scratchy piano black plastics as German rivals. There are some new elements like the crisp digital driver’s display and central touchscreen, but the stylish space is enhanced with a few elements lifted directly from the larger Giulia and Stelvio. The most notable is the three-spoke steering wheel and – in the case of the range-topping Veloce model – large metal gear shift paddles mounted to the steering column.
The build quality is typically Alfa, by which we mean there’s a mix of the great and the disappointing. Fortunately, the aspects that fall into the former category tend to be the bits that you touch often, such as the steering wheel and the excellent aluminium shift paddles if you go for the top-spec model. At the same time, the centre console and door trims feel wobbly and are made from scratchy plastic.
Car group tests
Overall, the quality and premium feel of the cabin falls short of where it should be considering the price, or compared to the Tonale’s key rivals like the BMW X1 which excels in those departments.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The Alfa Romeo Tonale uses the same 10.25-inch central touchscreen as the Maserati MC20 supercar, plus the fully electric Fiat 500 and Jeep Avenger, so we know it’s a solid set-up. The Android-based operating system is easy to navigate, but a lot of the shortcut icons around the edges of the screen are pretty small and not the easiest to hit while on the move. The screen is responsive at least, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto feature as standard so you can bypass the built-in infotainment if you’re really not a fan.
The touchscreen isn’t buried in the dashboard like the display in Alfa’s Guilia saloon or Stelvio SUV, instead it sits proudly on top with a set of physical climate controls below – something we always like to see, as it means you don’t have to route around a touchscreen to change the cabin temperature.
Behind the steering wheel is a slick 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, configurable with three unique looks: a set of modern and sporty dials, a retro set-up designed to look like those in Alfas of old, and a pared-back option that’ll be easy on the eyes at night.
In this review
- 1Alfa Romeo Tonale reviewStunning looks, slick tech and decent practicality make the Alfa Romeo Tonale an appealing, if flawed, compact premium SUV
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Tonale PHEV is comfortable, composed and packs plenty of punch, and as a result it’s our pick of the range
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsCompany car drivers will flock to the plug-in hybrid Tonale thanks to 8 per cent BiK rate and impressive fuel economy
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingWe love the slick infotainment system, however cabin quality can’t match the Tonale’s closest rivals from Germany and Sweden
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceCabin space and luggage capacity is decent rather than generous in Alfa’s smallest SUV
- 6Reliability and safetyThe Tonale’s five-star Euro NCAP safety rating is no surprise with the level of driving assistance tech on-board