It's hard to believe, but the Alfa Romeo Tonale debuted over a year ago. Perhaps it's not so hard to believe for our friends in Europe, where Tonales are already road-tripping across the old continent. Meanwhile in the US, we're still waiting to sample this sharp compact crossover. Now that production is beginning for North America, that wait will soon be over.

Built at the Alfa Romeo plant in Naples, Italy, the Tonale is the automaker's first plug-in hybrid. It's also available in pure combustion format with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, but North America will only see the PHEV version. To refresh your memory, the powertrain pairs a turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine with a single electric motor, producing a snappy 285 combined horsepower. All four wheels get power; the electric handles the rear while the engine manages the front. A six-speed automatic transmission changes gears, and for zero-emission operation, a 15.5-kWh battery offers a range of over 30 miles.

Gallery: 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale (US Spec)

Shoppers in the States who don't want a hybrid aren't completely out of luck, but they will have to forgo the Alfa Romeo badge for pure combustion. The Dodge Hornet is a lightly restyled Tonale that does come with the 2.0-liter turbo. It lays down a bit less power, 265 hp to be exact, but it still snaps to 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds with help from a nine-speed automatic transmission. Dodge hasn't been shy about promoting this version of the Hornet as an inexpensive pocket-rocket, with a starting price under $30,000.

That's reportedly made Alfa Romeo executives a tad unhappy, as the least-expensive Tonale in Sprint trim starts at $44,950 (destination fee included). Of course, that price includes the hybrid powertrain with more grunt and all-wheel drive, and Alfa bills the Tonale as a premium compact crossover.

"The Alfa Romeo Tonale offers more than 30 miles of electric range, best-in-class 285 horsepower, and a list of technology features," said Larry Dominique, senior VP and head of Alfa Romeo in North America. "Entering the competitive premium compact sport-utility segment with such a compelling product and our brand’s first electrified offering shows a clear direction for Alfa Romeo’s future." 

Expect the Tonale to reach dealerships in the second quarter of 2023.

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