SUVs

Alfa Romeo Tonale concept previews an electrified compact SUV

It's Alfa's first plug-in hybrid.

Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the automaker's first SUV, but it didn't waste much time in preparing its second one.

Alfa Romeo on Tuesday unveiled the Tonale concept, a compact SUV that previews a production version planned for some point in the near future. The look is a slight departure from the wider-eyed Stelvio, adopting some razor-thin headlights on either side of a revised version of Alfa's triangular grille. The rear end's lights are equally thin, evoking shades of Jaguar and Alfa Romeo.

Inside, there's a heapin' helpin' of tech. The gauge cluster is actually a 12.3-inch screen, while a 10.25-inch screen exists for traditional infotainment duties. The system has two new features called Alfista and Paddock. Alfista is a lifestyle-oriented environment that lets people connect with Alfa Romeo clubs for gatherings or drives, and it also offers access to Alfa Romeo news. Paddock, on the other hand, lets people browse Alfa Romeo merchandise and apparel, in addition to performance upgrades, some of which you can buy directly through the in-car app.

Sharp. Shame there aren't any real details about the powertrain, though.

Alfa Romeo

The interior itself looks like a fancy evolution of what the automaker offers now. There's loads of space for leather and other plush materials on the dashboard, surrounding its two screens. The steering wheel appears thinner and angrier than before, while the center console is just full of red.

Being a concept, it's still light on details. Despite being Alfa Romeo's first plug-in hybrid, the automaker offered few specifics on what to expect -- engine displacement, motor arrangement, all that stuff is still apparently TBD. While it's not obscene to expect a transverse, front-drive-style layout for the powertrain, it's unlikely that Fiat Chrysler is just going to rip out the guts of the Pacifica Hybrid minivan and attempt to graft it onto a much smaller body. But since we don't know anything about it, guesses are all we have for now.

The interior is pretty wild, so expect some toning down to happen before launch.

Alfa Romeo

Mercifully, Alfa Romeo did talk about the vehicle's modes a bit. Because it will focus on driving dynamics, most of the modes mentioned err toward the sporty side. Dual Power mode tries to pull as much power out of both the gas engine and electric motors as possible, while Advance E mode focuses on all-electric performance. Natural mode is the default mode that tries to keep everything on as even a keel as possible.

So, when will it come out? That's a good question. Alfa didn't make any mention of a possible launch date in its release, but considering how nearly fully baked the exterior looks, it shouldn't be more than a couple years away.