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Plug-In Hybrid Performance: The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Is Here

The launch of the 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale is big news for a relatively small brand. Currently, Alfa Romeo only offers two models to American drivers: the Giulia sports sedan and the Stelvio compact SUV. The new Tonale marks the brand’s entry into the growing subcompact SUV segment, as well as the brand’s first step towards electrification. This makes it an important model for the Italian brand, as well as an intriguing option for any buyer tired of the German dominance in the segment.

While the 2023 Tonale might be a brand-new model with a revolutionary powertrain, it is unmistakably an Alfa Romeo. While other manufacturers are going for an image change with their electrified vehicles, Alfa Romeo is sticking to its timeless trefoil grille. Although subcompact SUVs aren’t known to be particularly stylish, this one will certainly draw more attention than a BMW X1 or a Mercedes GLA. The only real stylistic departure from the existing Alfa Romeo line is the new “3+3” headlights, which look similar to the BMW half-halos, just with three rings instead of two.

A blue 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale is shown from the side parked on a street.

Electrifying Powertrain Options

While the Tonale is certainly stylish, what else do you expect from an Italian car brand? The real story here is the plug-in hybrid powertrain, a first for Alfa Romeo. The new powertrain combines a small turbocharged 1.3L engine with a rather large 15.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 90 kW electric motor on the rear axle. The result is the most efficient vehicle in its class, with an all-electric range of over 30 miles. And with 272 horsepower, it is also one of the more powerful subcompact SUVs on the market. Not bad for the brand’s very first electrified vehicle.

However, if a plug-in hybrid is not for you, you can also equip the 2023 Tonale with a traditional 2.0L turbocharged engine. Paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and producing 256 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, this engine allows Alfa Romeo’s newest creation to substantially overpower its German rivals. While it isn’t quite a true performance model like the BMW X1 M or Mercedes-AMG GLA, we can hope to see an even more capable Tonale Quadrifoglio in the near future.

Automotive NFTs

It seems like every car these days has features like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto–but how many cars come with a unique non-fungible token (NFT)? Alfa Romeo has capitalized on this new technology to solve real automotive problems. For those who are unfamiliar with what an NFT is, it is a unique digital item protected by blockchain technology–the same technology that underpins cryptocurrency. Most of the NFTs sold so far are artwork and similar items, but Alfa Romeo has used the technology to protect the value of your Tonale.

When you buy a 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale, you can choose to set up a unique NFT for the vehicle. This NFT records vehicle data and maintenance records for your Tonale, creating a secure and unalterable vehicle history report that you can show potential buyers when it comes time to upgrade to a new car. This is a rather innovative use of popular new technology, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see other auto manufacturers copy the idea in the future.

A blue 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale is shown from a front angle parked on a street.

A Bright New Future for Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo is a small brand even by luxury brand standards, but it has a long history and builds some spectacularly unique vehicles. The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale might not be a traditional offering from the brand, but that may not be a bad thing. Like it or not, small SUVs are supplanting sports sedans as the luxury vehicle of choice, and electrified powertrains offer several advantages over traditional gasoline engines. With the Tonale, Alfa Romeo is taking its first step towards a more modern electrified lineup, and it may just help more drivers experience everything that this century-old Italian brand has to offer.