Giulia and Stelvio never lived up to the expectations of the defunct Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, but Alfa Romeo’s new parent, Stellantis, still believed in the famous Italian brand. After discontinuing the 4C sports car and the Giulietta compact hatch, the portfolio received some new metal with the launch of the compact crossover. Despite the fact that it uses the Jeep Compass platform, the Tonale is touted as a luxury model.
This is a promise made by Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato during a recent interview near Lake Como in Italy where a test drive event was organized for the Tonale. European Automotive News quoting a dignitary who said “my quality benchmark is Lexus” going forward. He went on to mention “I wanted to make sure that the quality of the Tonale was flawless from Day 1, but also that we offered state-of-the-art connectivity and user interface.”
Alfa Romeo hasn’t really fared as well in quality tests as we usually find near the bottom of the rating. In the 2021 JD Power US Preliminary Quality Study, Giulia and Stelvio had 204 issues per 100 vehicles, which put the company at 28th place out of a total of 32. Toyota’s premium division is third with 144 issues per 100 cars.
Some will recall that Jean-Philippe Imparato decided to delay the launch of the Tonale for a few months to ensure it would be ready for prime time. Alfa Romeo’s first plug-in hybrid model will spawn the Dodge Hornet equivalent to launch before the end of the year. Meanwhile, a decision regarding the Tonale Quadrifoliate will be made in the coming months.
On paper, Alfa has a bright future ahead by announcing plans to expand its lineup to include an upcoming subcompact crossover in 2024 with ICE and EV powertrains. The Giulia will live to see the second generation, but only as an EV of a different form, while bigger models to counter the BMW X5/X6 and 7 Series are also on the agenda. In addition, the first EV-only model is planned to arrive in 2025.
Meanwhile, deliveries of Tonale customers will begin in Italy next month.