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In-depth reviews

Alfa Romeo Junior review – a great first EV for the Italian brand

“The Alfa Romeo Junior is great to drive and exudes an air of quality making it a brilliant first EV for the brand”

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Engaging to drive
  • High-quality interior
  • Unique design

Cons

  • Short range
  • Expensive
  • Mediocre charge times

Verdict – is the Alfa Romeo Junior a good car?

The Alfa Romeo Junior represents a huge step for the Italian brand as its first electric model and in Veloce guise at least, it’s managed to inject a healthy dose of individuality into the model that helps it stand out from many of the small SUVs with which it shares a platform. It offers a more engaging drive, unique looks and a plusher interior, but the downside is that it’s quite expensive for what it is.

Alfa Romeo Junior models, specs and alternatives

The launch of the Alfa Romeo Junior got off to a shaky start – the brand’s small SUV was originally set to be called the Alfa Romeo Milano, before having to change its name a few days later following complaints from the Italian government about using one of its city’s names for the model when it’s actually built in Poland. It was then hastily dubbed the Junior in reference to its position as the smallest model in Alfa Romeo’s lineup, while also harking back to one of its iconic classic models.

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The Alfa Romeo Junior is based on many of the same basic underpinnings of cars like the Peugeot E-2008, Jeep Avenger, Citroen e-C4 and Vauxhall Mokka, but Alfa Romeo has tweaked more of the gubbins underneath in comparison, so it feels like a bigger departure away from those cars.

For starters, the Junior gets an arguably more striking design that stands out with Alfa’s ‘Scudetto’ grille up front with the logo reimagined to cover the entirety of it. There are also sleek thin headlights and at the rear the tail-lights span the entire width of the car in a handle-bar-like shape.

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The Junior comes with either electric or mild-hybrid power, though it's yet to be confirmed whether the latter will make it to the UK. The sole electric version from launch – dubbed Junior Elettrica Veloce – has a single 277bhp motor driving the front wheels, which is much more than the motors offered in the Jeep Avenger or Peugeot E-2008. The result is a brisk 0-62mph time of just 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 124mph. 

For now, the Elettrica Veloce gets a modest 54kWh battery, which means it’s capable of up to 208 miles of range – that’s not particularly far, but a second electric model, known simply as Junior Elettrica, will later be introduced with a longer range that will come at the expense of some of the Junior’s power, as well as a mid-range Elettrica Speciale model.

Trim levels

Power options

  • Technology
  • Premium
  • Sport
  • Elettrica single motor front-wheel drive (155bhp)
  • Elettrica Speciale single motor front-wheel drive (237bhp)
  • Elettrica Veloce single motor front-wheel drive (277bhp)
  • Ibrida 1.2-litre mild-hybrid petrol (134bhp) (TBC)

MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions

“The Alfa Romeo Junior can’t go far on a charge, though a longer range version is arriving later”

The Alfa Romeo Junior is the first fully electric car released by the Italian manufacturer, but if the mild-hybrid version makes it to the UK, it will likely to be a more affordable way into ownership in terms of list price, although full details are yet to be available.

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From launch, the sole electric model, called the Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica Veloce gets a 54kWh battery with a fairly modest range. Still, the range of just over 200 miles should be enough for most drivers that do shorter trips around down, and if you do need to top up, a charge from 10-80% will take around 27 minutes at the maximum 100kW charge speed, which is on par with most rivals.

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The cheaper Junior Elettrica model arriving later is touted to be capable of up to 255 miles to a charge, or 371 miles if you stick to the city, which will make it the best option for those after distance rather than speed.

A mid-range model will also arrive with a balance of power and range, but a rumoured figure of up to around 215 miles is hardly impressive.
 

Model 

Battery size

Range

Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica

54kWh

255 miles

Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica Speciale

54kWh

215 miles

Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica Veloce

54kWh

208 miles

How much will the Alfa Romeo Junior cost in tax?

Electric versions of the Alfa Romeo Junior will be the cheapest to tax. Their zero-emissions status means they’re currently exempt from VED (road tax) until 2025, from which point the system will change and it will cost £10 for the first year, and then the standard rate thereafter. Mild-hybrid versions of the Junior which could make it to the UK cost the standard rate of VED (road tax) which is £190 a year.

What will the Alfa Romeo Junior cost to insure?

Insurance groupings for the Alfa Romeo Junior are yet to be confirmed, but it’s worth noting that electric vehicles tend to sit in higher insurance groups than their petrol-powered counterparts. We’d expect the mild-hybrid model to be the cheapest to insure, while the most powerful and most expensive Veloce model will probably be the most expensive, but all is yet to be confirmed.

Engines, drive & performance

“In Veloce form the Junior feels great to drive and fake engine noise adds to the fun”

While the Alfa Romeo Junior is based on the same platform as other Stellantis products such as the Peugeot E-2008, Vauxhall Mokka and Jeep Avenger among others, one of the ways it stands out is the way it drives.

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We’ve tested the Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica Veloce – the first of the model lineup to go on sale. The Elettrica Veloce gets a single motor and front-wheel drive, but the motor itself is more powerful than what you’ll find in any of the aforementioned related models, with the Alfa getting 277bhp.

While it’s a punchy figure, it’s by no means groundbreaking, but what does work in the Junior’s favour is its low weight for an EV. At 1,590kg it’s lighter than most other EVs of this size and that’s great news for the driving experience.

The Elettrica Veloce also gets a mechanical Torsen limited-slip differential, which is the first time one has been fitted to a front-wheel drive EV. In a nutshell, a limited-slip differential is something the wheels are connected to that helps prevent one wheel from spinning power away (usually when powering out of a corner or junction), but the benefit to this mechanical variant is that it’s lighter and simpler than an electric system.

The rear suspension has also been simplified compared to that of the Alfa’s sister cars to save space, and we’re happy to report that it’s not negatively affected the Junior’s driving characteristics at all – in fact, we like the old-fashioned feel to it, and think that sometimes keeping things traditional can be effective. Alfa has struck a good balance between comfort and dynamic ability.

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Put your foot down and the Elettrica Veloce feels responsive, and an artificial engine note of a flat-four combustion engine has been added to give a little more character to the drive, which we liked. That response, plus steering that’s light and accurate makes it a great car for tackling a twisty road. 

There’s a variety of drive modes to choose from: Dynamica, Natural and Advanced. The car definitely feels more engaging in Dynamica mode, while Natural gives a more easy-to-live-with character.

Petrol models

A mild-hybrid petrol model is available in other markets but yet to be confirmed for the UK, although Alfa Romeo hasn’t ruled it out.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Alfa Romeo Junior Ibrida 1.2-litre petrol mild hybrid

134bhp

TBC

TBC

Electric models 

From launch the Alfa Romeo Junior is offered in Elettrica Veloce guise, which is the sportier variant. A less powerful model aimed at buyers who’d rather have a longer range at the expense of some of the power will arrive later, and be badged the Elettrica. This latter model uses the tried-and-tested motor used in many of Stellantis Group’s other cars, such as the Vauxhall Corsa and Jeep Avenger. A mid-range version called the Elettrica Speciale will get 237bhp with a range sitting somewhere in between the other two models.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica

155bhp

9 seconds

TBC

Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica Speciale

237bhp

Around 7 seconds

TBC

Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica Veloce

277bhp

5.9 seconds

124mph

Interior & comfort 

“The Alfa Romeo Junior’s cabin exudes an air of quality and feels well built”

The Alfa Romeo Junior’s cabin is neatly laid out and feels well-built. One particular high point is the front seats, which are electrically adjustable and offer a great driving position. We like the nods to Alfa’s history by way of cloverleaf-shaped air vents and analogue touches around the cabin.

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Full trim level details are yet to be confirmed by Alfa Romeo, but they are set to be called simply Technology, Premium and Sport. The Elettrica Speciale is considered a special launch edition which will get a mix of features from across the range including red paint, 18-inch alloy wheels, unique model-specific upholstery, a steering wheel trimmed in leather, eight-colour interior ambient lighting and keyless entry and start.

Is the Alfa Romeo Junior’s infotainment and sat-nav system easy to use?

The Alfa Romeo Junior sports a large 10.25-inch infotainment screen through which most of the car’s functions are accessible. Though we tried it in pre-production form, all the tech felt intuitive and easy to use, with everything where you’d expect it to be. Widgets can be dragged around the screen to create a more customised layout to the driver’s preference.

There’s also a 10.25-inch display ahead of the driver for the instrument display, but Alfa has given this area its own unique look with a bespoke shape to the surround of it reminiscent of old analogue dials.

Key features

Technology

  • Matrix LED headlights
  • Powered tailgate with gesture control
  • Sat nav
  • 10.25-inch infotainment screen
  • 10.25-inch driver’s display

Premium

(Technology plus…)

  • Upgraded interior finish
  • Electrically adjustable driver’s seat with massage function

Sport

(Premium plus…)

  • Sportier exterior styling
  • Sabelt sports seats
  • Alcantara upholstery
 

Boot space, practicality & dimensions 

“Though the Junior is a small car, Alfa has packaged it well and there’s more interior and boot space than you might expect”

One of the things that surprised us about our time with the Alfa Romeo Junior was the decent rear space passengers enjoy, despite the car’s small proportions. It’s not the most spacious interior on the market, of course, but two full-grown adults can expect an average amount of legroom in the back of this baby SUV. Alfa Romeo has cleverly packaged the Junior so that interior space has been prioritised.

Size comparison

Model 

Length

Width

Height

Alfa Romeo Junior

4,173mm

1,781mm

1,505mm

Jeep Avenger

4,084mm

1,776mm

1,528mm

Peugeot 2008

4,304mm

1,770mm

1,523mm

Vauxhall Mokka

4,151mm

1,791mm

1,531mm

Does the Alfa Romeo Junior have a big boot?

The Alfa Romeo Junior boasts more boot space than many rivals with a respectable 400 litres on offer, though it’s worth noting that a Peugeot 2008 has a little more. Still, most buyers should be happy with that figure which has also been balanced with a good amount of cabin space for rear occupants.

Boot space comparison

Model 

Boot space

Alfa Romeo Junior

400 litres

Jeep Avenger

355 litres

Peugeot 2008

434 litres

Vauxhall Mokka

350 litres

Reliability & safety

“Alfa Romeo performs well in our Driver Power customer satisfaction surveys, though safety is yet to be tested”

Alfa Romeo performs surprisingly well in the Driver Power customer satisfaction surveys. In 2023 it came in a very respectable fifth place out of 32 manufacturers ahead of all other brands under parent company Stellantis, with Peugeot in ninth, Citroen in 11th, Vauxhall in 24th and Fiat in 31st.

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While we’re quite confident that reliability isn’t so much of a problem compared with Alfa Romeo’s of old, 28% of Alfa Romeo owners reported an issue with their car in the first year, which is slightly higher than average.

How safe is the Alfa Romeo Junior?

The Alfa Romeo Junior is yet to be tested by Euro NCAP, but we’d expect the same levels of safety tech as featured in other closely related cars like the Peugeot E-2008. This should mean lane-keeping assistance, speed limit recognition, emergency braking assistance and pedestrian detection. We will update this list once full details are released for the Alfa Romeo Junior.

Should you buy an Alfa Romeo Junior?

Unlike the other cars sharing the Alfa Romeo Junior’s platform, the Junior itself stands out with a little extra pizzazz and some bespoke touches that make it feel a little more unique and special. There’s an extra air of quality that you don’t get from cars like the Jeep Avenger or Vauxhall Mokka, and even from the outside the Junior is arguably more striking than many other derivative SUVs on the market.

The work Alfa has put into the Junior is noticeable in the way it drives. It’s more engaging than other electric cars in this class and we liked the fake flat-four engine note pumped into the cabin for extra excitement.

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It’s not perfect, of course – we wish it had a larger battery and some extra range, but also understand that the extra weight would compromise the Junior’s driving feel, and many around-town drivers will be happy enough with the 208 miles of range on offer – if not, there’s still a longer range model to come which will bring all of the style and quality in a more efficient package.

What is the best Alfa Romeo Junior for keen drivers?

While we’ve so far only tested the Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica Veloce, this is poised to be the most driver-focused version of the small SUV. We found it to be surprisingly engaging and fun to drive. Its 277bhp is a strong figure, although in the age of the EV, it’s not outstandingly so – what really helps the Elettrica Veloce stand out is its low weight combined with that power, making it feel agile and playful in the corners.

Alfa Romeo Junior alternatives

The Alfa Romeo has a large number of rivals in this market, many of which are developed under the same Stellantis parent company and use similar underpinnings. It has a premium edge, though and a mild-hybrid version will arrive, too, so the Junior will be up against more conventional premium petrol and hybrid competitors, too.

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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