Alfa Romeo - Tonale Veloce

In driving Alfa Romeo’s new Tonale Veloce, our editor discovered a car that was personalised, polished and perfect for city pursuits

If you know me, you’ll know my propensity for impractical cars. What can I say? I love a set of 90s wheels. And while I have had some great times with my beloved vehicles (including sticking by them through all the mechanical and petrol bills that I justify as the price of owning a piece of history), after a week spent behind the wheel of Alfa Romeo’s newest model, I wondered whether it might be time to change my attitude.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce is a compact SUV that sets a bold new standard in software and technological innovation. It also offers driver-centric comfort and control that makes you feel like you’re at-one with the car from the first acceleration. I immediately connected with the smooth curvature of the vehicle’s exterior and the practical but polished vibe I felt surrounded by just sitting in the driver’s seat. From the dark palette to the sleek, backlit dash to the perforated Alcantara and leatherette seats, Alfa Romeo’s typically elegant design elements have been reinterpreted through a more modern, functional lens. And while the Tonale still proudly boasts the distinctive Alfa Romeo front grill, there is so much more going on under the surface that demonstrates how this respected marque is entering an exciting new era. 

Technology also plays a huge role in the more traditionally practical features like the Tonale’s 360-degree cameras with parking assist and dynamic lines. Honestly, this took all the pressure of parallel parking on Ponsonby Road. (I didn’t even break a sweat.) There is also lane control and speed control systems, autonomous emergency braking, driver attention assist and Level 2 autonomous driving — which works to maintain the correct position of the car on the road with minimal driver intervention. Here, there is a level of personalisation that goes beyond the norm. Everything about the Tonale feels easily customisable, with information about the car or
the traffic conditions accessible in real time, and all of the internal systems working together to optimise every journey (no matter how far you might be travelling).

The drive is customisable too (to a degree, of course). To get technical for a second, the Alfa Romeo Tonale debuts in a front-wheel drive, 160-horsepower Hybrid version with it’s intelligent suspension system — the ‘Dual Stage Valve Suspension’ — allowing me to adapt to various road conditions in seconds with comfort and sport modes available at the turn of a dial. Whatever version you go for, all of the Tonale iterations offer best-in-class steering that reimagines the way an SUV can be navigated on the road (something I particularly noticed while driving it around the city). It was a thrill to watch my Tonale transform from everyday runabout to sporty beast with barely a pause, and made longer drives on Auckland’s motorways far more interesting and dynamic. Here, I realised, part of the appeal is the way in which the Tonale combines the practicality of a compact SUV with the sexiness of an Italian sports car, a unique combination that the clever minds at Alfa Romeo managed to
get exactly right. 

In the short time I had with this car, I found a previously untapped appreciation for the convenience of modern technology and was shocked by how quickly I became dependent on it. Not only is this car small enough to manoeuvre around a busy city like Auckland with a toddler in tow, but it felt like a true extension of me, its innovative systems geared towards improving my driving experience and making my life as effortless as possible. And in this modern age, when everything else can feel overly complicated and unsure, a car that makes things easy is just what I need.

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