The Alfa Romeo Tonale concept was a surprise debut at the 2019 Geneva auto show. Generally well-received by those I spoke to, the car is a C-SUV with a lot of historical Alfa Romeo design cues, yet it’s progressive enough to be a credible contender for a future model from the Italian marque. I had a short interview with Alfa Romeo’s Head of Design, Scott Krugger, which you can watch above.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale (Italian for Tonal, meaning relating to the tone of music, color, or writing) is an indicative name. As a precursor for a C-SUV from Alfa Romeo, the car’s design language and detailing could be used across the brand’s future generation of products. The concept was conceived to gauge public opinion.
The car references past Alfa Romeos, such as SZ and the more recent designs by Giorgetto Giugiaro (Brera, 159), with a triple light treatment flanking the quintessential ‘Scudetto’ grille at the front. The historical DNA is also apparent in the profile – in the so-called GT line – the updated, technical teledial wheels, and the surfacing, which is simple and pure. The rear end also references the 8C 2900B and the Duetto, in the horizontal taillamp design, which also happens to be very on-trend.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is an evolution of the company’s current themes, and therefore readily recognizable. It’s not too far out there. What it is, however, is sensuous, elegant and, for a compact SUV, sporting. These are all characteristic Alfa Romeo traits that had to be retained.
Inside, the new plug-in hybrid has been given an emotional slant, accentuated by the pulsing red light glowing from within the center stack, tunnel and door panels. It’s at once vibrant and quite impressive. The colorways, leather, and simple yet communicative UI interface lend a dynamic romanticism to the overall ambience, which conveys emotion as an Italian car should.
The C-segment SUV – a typology that’s seen a significant rise in popularity – is an important one. While it would’ve been easy just to create a cookie cutter version of the Stelvio, that wouldn’t have turned as many heads. The fact that the design team has gone back and looked into what makes an Alfa Romeo so desirable, and embedded those traits into a vehicle that could be a very popular seller in the very near future, is a very positive feeling indeed.
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