Stellantis Malaysia Prepares To Launch Alfa Romeo Tonale

After Malaysia’s on-again off-again Alfa Romeo sales channels came to an abrupt end in 2013, recently established Stellantis Malaysia has picked up the ball and will soon be offering a range of models from its most reputable brands.

Fans of Alfa Romeo will be happy to learn that the first model to land here will be the Tonale SUV that was recently spied outside Stellantis Malaysia’s Gurun facility. Whether it will be manufactured (CKD) locally is still to be confirmed.

The Tonale is a five-seater small SUV that is comparable in size to rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1. Its measurements are 1,601 mm in height, 1,841 mm in width, and 4,528 mm in length with a wheelbase of 2636 mm.

The new Tonale is the base model in the current Alfa Romeo portfolio, behind the mid-sized Stelvio, which competes with the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, and the Giulia, a sedan that vies with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. 

Depending on the market, the Tonale is available with a range-topping plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version or an all-new mild-hybrid powertrain. The two mild-hybrid variants are powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol 4-cylinder engine which is teamed up to a built-in 48V ‘P2’ electric motor.

Alfa’s 48V mild-hybrid (MHEV) employs a belt-driven starter-generator (BSG), even though the brand calls it a hybrid. Full hybrids boast a drive motor which is directly connected to the wheels. However, the Alfa’s setup is a little different to other mild hybrids. Packing 20 ps and 55 Nm, the BSG is powerful with a hybrid-like 0.8 kWh battery capacity that allows it to achieve standing starts in electric power alone, just like a full-hybrid.

The hybrid powertrains come in 130 ps and 160 ps variants, with a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox powering the front wheels. A 1.3-liter turbocharged “MultiAir” 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic gearbox powers the front axle of the top-of-the-line Tonale Q4 PHEV. An electric motor with 122 ps and 250 Nm drives the rear wheels, producing a total power and torque of 280 ps and 520 Nm.

The Tonale preview given to stakeholders by Stellantis Malaysia is a significant indication, even though nothing has been confirmed as of yet. Fingers crossed, we might eventually witness the resurgence of the recognisable Alfa Romeo brand in Malaysia with the correct products and marketing approach, not to mention by the brand owners themselves.

CARLIST THOUGHTS

With Stellantis Malaysia hinting at the Tonale’s imminent launch in this market, fans of sporty, elegant-looking, hi-tech SUVs will find this Alfa hard to ignore. The compact Alfa SUV offers a well-built, practical, ergonomically laid out cockpit while retaining enough Alfa Romeo character in design and performance to satisfy any Alfa addict.

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