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Alfa Romeo Tonale concept brings sexy back to the small-SUV segment

Alfa Romeo is about to dive headfirst into the electrification space, unveiling its Tonale baby SUV concept at the Geneva Motor Show.

The Tonale (it's named, like the Stelvio SUV, for an Italian driving road, the Tonale Pass) would be the brand's first plug-in hybrid, as well as the company's first small SUV.

And it’s a concept in name only, with all the surrounding press material pointing to the Tonale making its production debut in the not-too-distant future. In fact, those on the ground in Geneva have heard Alfa Romeo is targeting a 2020 production date, though it will likely be toned down slightly by then.

The design is typically Italian; with a sleek profile that looks both sexy and fast. New-look “3 plus 3” headlights arrive in narrow slits, while at the rear, the strips of LED lighting are joined in the middle by an unbroken line of light.

Its 21-inch alloys look utterly massive, too, and are designed as an homage to the “phone-dial” wheel design of Alfa’s iconic 33 Stradale. Inside, a leather-wrapped and driver-focused cabin is headlined by its 12.3-inch digital binnacle and 10.25-inch central touchscreen, and the brand isn’t even pretending there’s room for five, instead promising comfort for four adults.

Interestingly, the multimedia screen is equipped with what Alfa is calling the “Paddock’; an online shop where customers can order branded merchandise and car upgrades from the driver’s seat.

Alfa is so far keeping tight-lipped on the powertrain specifics, but is promising the hybrid set-up will be more focused on performance than efficiency. With an electric motor at the rear wheels, Alfa says it will “open the way to new technological solutions that maximise the pleasure of sporty driving”.

That includes the “Dynamic” drive mode being renamed “Dual Power”, which will unlock the the maximum output from the both engines for spirited blasts.

Alfa Romeo in Australia has its hand high in the air for the Tonale, telling CarsGuide that, when a production car is made available, it will be pushing to have cars in Australia as soon as possible.

What do you think of the Tonale's looks? Tell us in the comments below.