The 2022 Alfa Romeo Tonale, the Italian brand's long-awaited competitor to the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, looks set to (at last) make its public debut and launch in Europe in the final months of the year.
According to a report from Spanish publication Motor.es, the Tonale will be officially unveiled in September 2021 – two and a half years after it was shown in concept form at the 2019 Geneva motor show, and around a year after it was first expected to break cover, prior to the start of the pandemic.
Following its unveiling, the first cars will reach European showrooms in November, available initially as a limited-run Launch Edition model. Standard series-production variants will reportedly hit dealers in February 2022.
Given European versus Australian launch timing for past Alfa Romeo models, it's unlikely the Tonale will land on local shores before the end of 2022, with an arrival Down Under in the first half of 2023 looking more probable.
Reports claim the showroom-specification Tonale is around 90 per cent faithful to the concept which previewed it, with the changes for the production car concentrated around road-legal side mirrors and headlights, the latter swapping the concept's three-piece, SZ Zagato-inspired arrangement for a more conventional single-piece light.
Fewer changes are expected inside, with the publication claiming the small SUV will "retain practically all the design of the dashboard" fitted to the concept.
Sources suggest the design will echo (or, more likely, are based on) exterior and interior images of the production Tonale leaked in October 2019, which depicted an attractive compact crossover with concept-inspired styling and a high-tech, dual-screen dashboard layout.
It's widely understood the 2022 Tonale will share its transverse-engined, front- and all-wheel-drive architecture with the now-seven-year-old Jeep Renegade.
As a result, the Alfa will carry over its American sibling's powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid system combining a 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with an electric motor for a total of 184kW, according to Motor.es – 7kW more than the top-spec, plug-in Renegade with the same driveline.
While not detailed in the Spanish report, performance fans keen for more punch can take solace in an April 2020 report from Italy's Autoblog, which claimed the Tonale's engine range will be led by a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder paired to a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to produce 243kW.
That figure would put the flagship Tonale on par with the BMW X2 M35i, Audi SQ2, Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 and other mid-tier small performance SUVs though, according to Autoblog, it lacks the outright go to justify Alfa Romeo's full-fat Quadrifoglio badge, with the Veloce moniker currently applied to 206kW versions of the Giulia and Stelvio a more likely candidate.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for more details of the 2022 Alfa Romeo Tonale as its September 2021 debut nears.