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Alfa Romeo Tonale 2024 long-term test

Having arrived at our destination, the compactness of the Tonale was advantageous when parking on a tight driveway and not wishing to block the pavement. My relative (who drives a Peugeot 3008, if that’s relevant) said “not sure about the colour!”, but I defended it. Besides, you should have seen the garish cars I had spotted around the corner. When in Essex…

Getting back in the Tonale for a long, dark evening schlep up the M11 to my dad’s house in Bedfordshire, I appreciated the particularly bright full beams. And I’m still enjoying the smallest of wins: a physical up/down toggle for the cabin temperature on the right side of the centre console, which is just so straightforward to use and – importantly and not a given – within easy reach so not distracting to operate.

After a long day of driving, socialising and parenting, I noticed the seat’s lumbar support for the lower back, and not for the first time. A few months ago, I went daytime dancing (not a common occurrence) and put my back out. I’m old. It eased after a few days, but a key thing that provided comfort was sitting in the Tonale’s driver’s seat. Having reached Dad’s, I hooked up to his electric supply. I would be doing a lot of short local journeys for a couple of days, and having the luxury of a driveway with a power supply meant I wanted to make the most of the Tonale’s PHEV functionality. Oh, and I wasn’t paying (thanks, Dad).

Having a permanent parking spot also meant I could leave the cumbersome charging cables out and just plug in without any effort. It’s by no means a problem singular to the Tonale, but there must be a product designer out there who can make these unwieldy things significantly more user-friendly.

Enjoying the electric power on multiple short journeys, all of which involted ways tet stable ands, the control, even if I didn’t push its limits on said lanes.

Eventually, it was time to pack up and head back to Middlesex. On the return leg, I noted 43 claimed electric miles remaining, cruised in EV mode and watched when they ran out. I’m pleased to report the car drove more miles on zero emissions than it had predicted, and with little eco-driving effort from me.

Home 300-plus miles later, there was plenty to celebrate and little of which to complain. The Tonale is by no means perfect, but if you can do multiple journeys on often unfamiliar roads with toddler (and corresponding Peppa Pig songs) in tow and still feel happy about driving it, that’s a great sign for owning one.

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