Alfa Romeo's new hope for sales success, the Tonale small SUV, has been spotted testing in its final, production-spec bodywork ahead of a launch in 2022.
As in a series of leaked images a few months ago, the latest shots show the Tonale bears a resemblance to the original Geneva motor show concept, but with a number of changes. At the front, the split between the bonnet and front bumper has grown, accomodating more conventional headlights.
The rear window has grown in size, too, while the tail-lights are thicker. The overall proportions remain the same, however.
The SUV, which will sit below the Stelvio in the Alfa Romeo range, and which takes its name from another famous Italian mountain pass (this one lower and in the Rhaetian Alps), will be the brand's first car to offer plug-in hybrid technology.
The Tonale concept was a surprise unveiling at the Geneva motor show in 2019 and underlines Alfa Romeo's determination to finally hit the 400,000 per annum sales target - up from around 150,000 in 2018 - that it has long coveted, according to European brand boss Roberta Zerbi. The car's launch is widely reported to have been pushed back by three months to early 2022, as Alfa CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato was not satisfied with the performance of the PHEV powertrain option, which is lifted from the Tonale's platform-sharing Jeep Renegade 4XE relation.
Speaking at the 2019 concept's unveiling, Alfa Romeo Europe boss Roberta Zerbi said: “We expect the Tonale to become our best-selling car. Combined with our other new products, we expect to have a car to suit the needs of around 80% of all European car buyers by 2024, and that puts Alfa in a much stronger position than today.”
Zerbi also claimed back then that the car would reach production with very few changes beyond details such as adding windscreen wipers and switching it from a four to five-seater. “This concept gives a good indication of the production model,” she said. “It is accurate in not just the proportions, but the details, including the telephone dial wheels, the triple headlamps and the dashboard lines.”