The day before the Chicago Auto Show’s media days begin, they hold a “concept & technology garage.” It’s an opportunity for greedy, greasy-fingered journos like me to drive things like a 707 hp Dodge Challenger inside McCormick Place. Or launch the new Mustang Mach-E from a standstill to 60mph inside McCormick Place. This year there wasn’t much to drive, but Alfa Romeo brought a production Euro-spec Tonale Veloce that I could leave my fingerprints all over.

I’ve got a soft spot for Alfa Romeo’s (like you care, right?) so I was delighted to be able to climb all over it and inside it. It’s small. Smaller than the Stelvio, though not by much. It feels smaller inside too. Cozier? Sure, let’s say that.

First the outside. All the right cues are there – the trilobial grill, the penta-circular wheels, some dead-sexy body sculpting, and some fantastic lights, both front and back. I fell in love with it immediately. It looks smaller and more agile than the Stelvio. And the green paint was just gorgeous.

Inside, we find a simple and straightforward layout, with some nice cues. The seats are well-bolstered and comfortable. The controls are standard. We were happy to see the aluminum shift paddles behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel. The rear seats were a bit tight. With the front seats adjusted for my 6’ frame, there wasn’t much legroom in the back for adults and even kids might be offended by how little room there is. Out back, there’s plenty of room for groceries or corgies to curl up in.

Under the hood lies a 1.1L direct-injected and turbocharged four-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels. There’s also a battery pack that powers the electric motors that run the back wheels. In this hybrid arrangement, the electric motors drive the rear wheels for power launches and getting the car up to speeds where the IC motor takes over and runs more efficiently, though the electric rear end can join in when required for performance assistance. It can also provide roughly 30 miles of pure EV driving if you prefer. It sounds like a smart approach to hybridized driving. The Tonale Veloce makes 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and should provide 6-second 0-60 runs.

Pricing should start around $43k for the base and $47K for the Veloce. All US-spec Tonale’s will come with AWD and heated seats standard.

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