If we were to talk generally about Alfa Romeo Tonale and generally about Opel Grandland, we would say that we are dealing with two models that come to claim a piece of an extremely dynamic market category – that of C-SUVs, in which the competition is extremely strong and crowded , with models such as Citroen C5 Aircross, Ford Kuga, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Peugeot 3008, Volkswagen Tiguan, etc. Cars that are also available in plug-in hybrid versions, like our test cars. Except that both the Tonale Q4 and the Grandland GSe come to offer something more in terms of performance and dynamic features.
Thus, the head-to-head comparison we attempt in our benchmark test is of particular interest, as is the fact that they allow the consistent battery-charging owner to minimize visits to gas station, acting as electric motors for daily commutes. The interest of the two SUVs in our test becomes even greater if we take into account the zero or significant reduction of corporate user tax for low-emissions, up to 50 g/km CO2cars (depending on whether the retail price before taxes (RRP) of the car exceeds €40,000).
There is no doubt that both the Tonale and our test Grandland more than live up to the letter “S” of their SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) designation: they are undoubtedly both sports, and that’s not just about only with the amount of horses they hide divided between the front and rear axles. And we don’t say under the front hood, because in both cases the four-wheel drive is implemented with the help of an electric motor that drives the rear wheels and comes to assist the mounted front gasoline engine, simultaneously giving both cars the ability to drive without pollution for several tens of kilometers.
At this point we have the first difference in terms of the drive system. You see, in the case of the Alfa Romeo the smaller displacement petrol engine is mounted up front by itself, while in the case of the Opel it is boosted by a second electric motor, which is also up front. You can see the final result in the table of technical characteristics: 280 PS for the Tonale, 300 PS for the Grandland, automatic gearboxes with the possibility of manual changes in both cases (8 gears in the case of the Opel, 6 in the case of the Alfa) and, of course, we already have the conditions for something better in terms of performance and… driver satisfaction – with 0-100 km/h taking place in almost 6 sec.
On the go
And since the driver needs more than just quick acceleration to be satisfied, it doesn’t stop there. Both the Italian and German cars do not rest on any suspension, nor do they stop with any brakes. In the case of Alfa Romeo, we have FSD (Frequency-Selective-Damping) technology shock absorbers, electronically controlled suspension (in the Veloce version of our test) and tireless brake-by-wire brakes, while the Germans juxtapose a corresponding shock absorber philosophy with KONI technology FSD (Frequency Selective Damping) and also powerful brakes – we’re talking front and rear disc brakes in both cases.
EVALUATION (OUT OF 10)
ALFA ROMEO Tonale 1.3Τ 280PS PHEV Q4 Veloce
ROAD BEHAVIOR 9
DRIVER SATISFACTION 9
VALUE FOR MONEY 8
EVALUATION (OUT OF 10)
OPEL GRANDLAND GSe PHEV AWD 300PS
ROAD BEHAVIOR 8
DRIVER SATISFACTION 8
VALUE FOR MONEY 7
The interesting thing – in both cars – is that the suspension, intended to offer something more in the field of holding, manages not only to not bother the occupants during daily commutes, but also to offer quite good comfort. And if we wanted to make a distinction in this area, we would say that we give the lead to Alfa Romeo, which offers greater grip, with at least equivalent comfort and slightly better sound insulation.
The gas, of course, is not missing, neither the 300 PS of the Opel nor the 280 of the Alfa Romeo are few, but the truth is that they make their appearance in a somewhat different way, with the Tonale Q4 managing to be more progressive in accelerations on the move, while in the Grandland GSe there is an annoying sometimes lag in response to the throttle (mainly at low revs and speeds), which initially leaves you almost on… empty and then just launches you! However, between the two, the truth is that we prefer the way the Alfa Romeo unfolds its power, rather than any supremacy in absolute numbers of the Opel.
Speaking, of course, of performance, we must not fail to refer to the possibilities of movement exclusively with the electric motor(s) of the two models of our test. You see, these zero-emission power units may contribute to the impressive 0-100 km/h performance, but one of their main missions – the one that places them in the category of “green” cars – is precisely the ability to move without to burn gasoline. Here the Tonale has a clear advantage, which is illustrated at the level of technical characteristics and confirmed in practice: having a larger battery capacity, it finally manages to move on its battery power for more than 55 km, while the Opel will hardly exceed in practice 45 (remember that the official figures refer to 80 and 59 km, respectively).
Speaking of sports
It is true that the Italian car also wins in another area: that of the overall sporty feel, if we are allowed to use such a term. It is true that at Opel they did an honorable job in the field of design, applying the company’s new design concept to a pre-existing model that, after all, is not at all, but not at all bad in its current form. However, the Alfa design works on a whole other level, inside-out. You can hardly say that you feel more beautiful in the Opel, especially if you are a fan of sporty driving – and despite the special tone set by the German car’s AGR-certified very good seats.
At Tonale you live in the… constellation of circles, in all those circular details, such as air ducts and controls, which refer to the roots of a brand, with a particular tradition in the field of sports cars and motor sports. However, the driver – in both cases – is faced, as we said, with an automatic transmission that offers the possibility of manual changes, more direct, it is true, in the case of Alfa Romeo, which has two admittedly huge controls/”butterflies” (puddles) on the steering wheel for the driver to change gears.
These puddles, however, do not rotate with the steering wheel, but remain fixed – and as impressive as they are, surely the smaller Opel butterflies are ultimately easier to use, and in addition they do not bother you, do not find your hands on them, when you want to use the flash, as sometimes happens in Alfa Romeo. While the main gearbox selector on the center console is smaller and more modern (like a joystick) in the Grandland GSe, the Tonale Q4’s more classic in appearance and operation philosophy inspires more confidence and the driver is more sure of what he has selected each time, while it also has the ability to change gear ratios with its help.
Rich and spacious
With a length of around 4.5m, the two SUVs in our test should offer plenty of room for passengers and luggage – and the truth is that in this area the German car has the lead, which also offers more air for the knees and for the heads of the rear passengers, while it also has a slightly larger trunk. While an important detail is that the Opel trunk has a noticeably lower threshold than the Alfa Romeo trunk, which makes loading easier. However, we must note that the trunks of both cars are smaller than those of the conventional versions, as they lose some of their capacity due to the existence of the electric drive system and the battery. On the other hand, we especially liked that both had an electric door.
In the field of usability and ergonomics, now, the battle is ambiguous, as the Italian car has a much more convenient center console, easier to use air vents and a better multimedia screen with a richer menu, but on the other hand, its own instrument panel “loses” in readability.
Both cars are understood to come with a large package of advanced driver assistance systems, but at the time of writing, while we know all about Alfa Romeo, the Opel’s official price list hasn’t been announced – nor, of course, has the equipment of. We only know that the Grandland GSe will cost around €56,000. On the other hand, the Tonale Q4, which we drove in the more luxurious Veloce version, costs €58,100. However, the Italian car is offered in two further versions, with the ‘base’ Sprint costing €51,635 and having an MST of under €40,000 – meaning it doesn’t hit the owner with corporate user tax at all.
With such data, the selection of a winner in a comparative test is done, as you understand, with every reservation. So, we end up awarding the title to the Tonale, which convinced us more about its sporty character, without this meaning that the Grandland GSe is a wrong – and no value for money – choice. On the contrary, the Opel is ultimately a more utilitarian choice, which in no way leaves the performance lover unsatisfied.
MODEL ALFA ROMEO Tonale 1.3Τ 280PS PHEV Q4 Veloce 2023 TIMH €51.635 FEES €0
MOTOR 1.332, Turbo, Hybrid System, 4 Cylinder, Inline FUEL OIL Hybrid
POWER kW(PS)/rpm 206(280) TORQUE Nm/rpm 270/1.850
TRANSMISSION Automatic, 6-speed, automatic four-wheel drive
PERFORMANCES 0-100 in 6.2 sec, final 206 km/h
CONSUMPTION/CO2 1,1 L/100km, 26 g/km
ALFA ROMEO Tonale 1.3Τ 280PS PHEV Q4 Veloce 2023
FOR DESIGN WITH A SPORTY CHARACTER, ROAD HANDLING, PERFORMANCE, INTERESTING ELECTRICAL RANGE, PRICE, EQUIPMENT, SPACES.
AGAINST “EXCESSIVE” GEAR SHIFT CONTROLS, INCREASED CONSUMPTION WITH EMPTY BATTERY, “LOADED” WITH SMALL INSTRUMENT PANEL INDICATIONS.
MODEL OPEL GRANDLAND GSe PHEV AWD 300PS 2023 TIMH €56.000 FEES €0
MOTOR 1,598, Turbo, Hybrid System, 4 Cylinder, Inline FUEL OIL Hybrid
POWER kW(PS)/rpm 221(300) TORQUE Nm/rpm 300
TRANSMISSION Automatic, 8-speed, automatic four-wheel drive
PERFORMANCES 0-100 in 6.1 sec, final 235 km/h
CONSUMPTION/CO2 1,3 L/100km, 29 g/km
OPEL GRANDLAND GSe PHEV AWD 300PS 2023
FOR DESIGN, PERFORMANCE, HANDLING, SUSPENSION COMFORT, EQUIPMENT, CLEAR INSTRUMENT PANEL, LARGE PASSENGER SPACES.
AGAINST LAGGED RESPONSE AT FULL THROTTLE AT LOW SPEEDS, INCREASED CONSUMPTION WITH EMPTY BATTERY, RELATIVELY SMALL MULTIMEDIA SCREEN, INCOMFORTABLE CENTER CONSOLE AND DOOR POCKETS.
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