2019 Alfa Romeo Tonale concept

Alfa Romeo Tonale plug-in hybrid delayed because it’s not sporty enough

The Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV haven’t quite lived up to the expectations of Alfa Romeo in terms of sales, following an investment of roughly one billion dollars in the Giorgio platform. For this reason, there’s a lot riding on the new Tonale compact crossover as it has to succeed and convince execs from the fourth-largest car company in the world the fabled Italian brand has every reason to continue in the Stellantis era.

Previewed by a namesake concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, the sub-Stelvio model is already facing problems even before reaching the market. According to a new report from Automotive News Europe, Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato is not satisfied with the performance delivered by the crossover’s plug-in hybrid system. As a consequence, the Tonale’s launch has been pushed back by approximately three months.

The extra time is needed to make tweaks to the PHEV setup and improve performance to make the compact crossover live up to the Alfa Romeo badge. It will ride on the same platform used by the Jeep Compass, but the issue stems from the fact the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 already offers a generous 300 horsepower, all-wheel drive, and up to 59 kilometers (37 miles) of electric range in the WLTP cycle.

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The aforementioned Jeep Compass in the plug-in hybrid configuration can’t match those numbers due to its weaker gasoline engine and a smaller battery pack. It tops out at only 240 horsepower and has a pure electric range of only 49 km (30 miles). With Jeep seen as the off-road brand while Alfa Romeo is the sporty one, it would be rather confusing for the Compass 4xe to be faster and more powerful than the Tonale.

The original plan was to put the Alfa Romeo Tonale in production from October at Stellantis’ Pomigliano factory near Naples in Italy. However, ANE cites a supplier saying the crossover’s launch has been delayed until the beginning of 2022. An even smaller crossover will be added to the lineup in 2023 and is going to be sold as an EV as well.

Source: Automotive News Europe