Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce (2025) review
Alfa Romeo is making its first foray into the electric car market, but will the Junior shape up to be one of the best in the business?
James Fossdyke
James Fossdyke

Published on July 9, 2024

The road to electrification was never going to be straightforward for Alfa Romeo. A relatively small manufacturer in the great scheme of things - albeit one propped up by the might of Stellantis - and a firm that has to be mindful of its history and fanbase, it has taken until now for a mass-production electric car to bear the famous badge.

That car is the Junior, known as the Milano until a few days before it launched, when the Italian government stepped in to shun the name with some legal detail that had presumably been invented by some bureaucrat 15 seconds before Alfa was informed. Whatever, the Junior it is, and though it’s easy to discount it simply as a restyled Fiat 600, to do so would be a mistake.

Though there will be petrol-fuelled versions of the Junior, our first chance to drive it - at its international launch in Italy - was at the wheel of the range-topping Veloce model. This has been overhauled with completely bespoke suspension and steering, as well as its own electric motor system, so it’s a hugely different animal. Will it be worthy of its newfound but rather historic name?

A look inside the Alfa Romeo Junior

Alfa seems to be keeping expectations in check by claiming the Junior is a new car for a new audience, and suggesting this is not the model for traditional fans of the brand. Yet the Veloce’s cabin has a distinctly sporty flavour, with a central touchscreen that’s angled towards the driver, air vents that look like alloy wheels and a motorsport-inspired colour scheme. That’s red and black, to us.

It is quite dark in there, especially with its black roof lining, and the plastics do little to lift the mood. One strip across the dashboard is particularly miserable in its cheapness, and the door cards feel as though they’re made from the same plastic as those cheap stackable chairs you get in classrooms and community centres across the country. Combine that with some questionable build quality - the vents feel lightweight, and the centre console shifts if you bump your knee against it - and the interior feels a little low-rent.

It also feels like a raid on the Stellantis group’s parts bin. The steering wheel controls are DS through and through, while the gear selector is a Peugeot-Citroen toggle. The indicator stalks are oh-so French, too, and the same goes for the drive mode selector button. Not that any of that is an issue per se - profit margins are tight in this sector - but it does cheapen the Alfa brand a little bit.

That said, the optional Sabelt sports seats fitted to our test car are bespoke to the Junior Veloce, and they are fantastic. Whether you like the needless holes in the back rest and lots of sporty bolsters will come down to taste, but we think they look futuristic and fancy. And they are surprisingly comfortable, too, though their primary purpose is holding you in place when you’re throwing the car around. Which every Junior owner is going to do, right?

Regardless, it’s stylish enough, and it’s quite spacious. Rear legroom is passable, rather than exceptional, but you could squeeze four adults in there without too much trouble. Headroom is more than good enough, and boot space is generous at 400 litres with all five seats upright. And you don’t have to worry about the charging cable taking up any of that space, because Alfa has put a kind of oversized plastic lunchbox under the bonnet for just such a purpose. Moulded to the shape of the cable for dry, tidy storage, it’s a clever idea, even if it too feels a bit on the cheap side.

The Alfa Romeo Junior’s on-board technology

Like the Fiat 600 and Jeep Avenger models with which the Junior shares its underpinnings, the Alfa gets a two-screen dashboard with a digital instrument display behind the steering wheel and a wide central touchscreen. In the Junior, that central screen is angled towards the driver, but the technology in there isn’t all that different.

Despite its size, the screen is a simple affair, but it controls pretty much everything from the usual navigation and media systems to the driver assistance technology. The display itself is sharp and the menus are largely intuitive, while the presence of a little square of hotkeys above the screen is a massive help. As is the bank of buttons for climate control and other functions. The problem is a bit of lag in the touchscreen system, which means it sometimes takes a few prods to get the function you were after.

But while our feelings towards the touchscreen are lukewarm at best, the digital instrument display is more impressive. Alfa has tried to keep its classic two-fairing design alive with the shape of the binnacle, and the screen is lightly configurable and clear, with a simple, largely white-on-black design that’s easy to read and does the job perfectly.

How many child seats can I fit in the Alfa Romeo Junior?

Our top-of-the-range Veloce-specification test car came with two ISOFIX mounting points in the rear. However, because the optional Sabelt sports seats were fitted in the front, there was no ISOFIX mounting in the front passenger seat. Whether or not that will change with the standard seats remains to be seen. Nobody expects to get more than two bulky child seats in the back of a car of this size, and even then, big rear-facing child seats will limit how far back front-seat passengers can move their chairs.

What is the range of the Alfa Romeo Junior?

Alfa Romeo hasn’t finished homologating the Junior so we don’t know exactly how efficient it will be. But we do know it gets the 54kWh battery (51kWh of which is usable) from the Fiat 600e and the Avenger, as well as a 280hp electric motor that’s bespoke to the range-topping Veloce model. Lesser ‘Elettrica’ versions will come with the same 154hp motor as the 600e and Avenger.

With a predicted official range of just over 330km, the Veloce is unlikely to be the Junior of choice for those travelling long distances (we’re sure the Elettrica models will offer greater distance between charges) but with 280hp on tap, it will certainly be fast. The 0-100km/h time of 5.9 seconds doesn’t sound all that impressive, but the acceleration is available instantaneously. And anyway, Alfa Romeo says the Veloce is not about barroom bragging rights but feel and poise.

It’s also about fast charging, with 100kW DC charging that allow the Veloce’s battery to be recharged from 10 to 80 per cent in half an hour. That’s a characteristic expected to be replicated in the Elettrica models, as is the 11kW AC charging, which means the battery can be recharged in just under six hours, assuming you can find a charger powerful enough. With a conventional ‘wallbox’ charging point offering 7kW, you can expect a full charge on your driveway to take all night.

Driving the Alfa Romeo Junior

To ensure the Junior feels as spectacular as Alfa Romeo wants it to, the Italian engineers have conducted quite the overhaul of the chassis. Basic Juniors get tweaked suspension tuning to make them more agile than the 600e and Jeep Avenger, but in the Veloce, almost everything has been changed. Springs, dampers, steering set-up and brakes have all been swapped, while the 20-inch alloy wheels are shod in Michelin Pilot Sport EV tyres designed to cling to the asphalt without impacting range.

More importantly, Alfa Romeo has fitted a new ‘Torsen’ limited-slip differential, specially miniaturised for use in a compact electric SUV. And the effect is dramatic. Forget 600e and Avenger comparisons - this is a completely different animal, with the kind of responsiveness and tenacity that you expect from a brilliant hot hatchback. The steering is quite light, but there’s plenty of feel and precision, as well as a great sense of sharpness and alertness. And thanks to those sticky tyres, the grip is immense, while the differential reduces understeer in fast corners and allows you to make mid-corner adjustments using the accelerator pedal.

That, combined with decent body control, makes the Veloce surprisingly entertaining on a good back road. Certainly, it’s far more engaging and entertaining than it has any need to be, and it can genuinely be considered a rival for the likes of the new Alpine A290 and the forthcoming Abarth 600e. In short, it’s more hot hatchback than compact crossover.

However, that spectacular on-road capability is tempered by a minor issue with the ride. All that body control comes at the cost of comfort, and the car does feel a bit firm over sharper bumps in the road. Admittedly, it’s far from problematic, and it deals with any surface imperfection rapidly, but the initial impact is quite noticeable. Whether the same will be true of the softer, less powerful versions - which will also have smaller wheels - remains to be seen, but it seems likely that they will be more supple.

They will struggle to be much more refined, though. The Junior is quiet and relaxed at any speed, and though the fake internal motor sound is a given, it’s unobtrusive and can be switched off by those it irritates.

How safe is the Alfa Romeo Junior?

The Junior has not yet been evaluated by Euro NCAP, so there’s no star rating for its safety. However, Alfa’s form is generally pretty good, having achieved five stars with the Tonale, Giulia and Stelvio. And there’s plenty of safety tech, particularly in this range-topping Veloce version. As standard, it comes with automatic emergency braking that can stop the car if the driver fails to react to a hazard, and it gets goodies such as 360-degree parking sensors and a 180-degree manoeuvring camera. All the stuff you need to help prevent low-speed bumps.

How much will the Alfa Romeo Junior cost in Ireland?

Alfa Romeo is still yet to confirm Junior Irish prices, so we’ll update this page when we know more.

The reasons you’d buy an Alfa Romeo Junior

We’ve spent a lot of time being disappointed by new Alfa Romeos in recent years, but this is the first time since the Giulia and Stelvio were introduced that we’ve come away from the launch of a new Alfa model impressed. Admittedly, we’ve only tried the range-topping Veloce, and we’re confident the less well-equipped Elettrica model will be less exciting to drive, but the Veloce is a great compact performance car. In fact, it might well be one of the best in the business, and it certainly shows what Alfa Romeo can do when it puts its mind to it.

Ask us anything about the Alfa Romeo Junior

If you’d like to know more about the Alfa Romeo Junior, or indeed any new car on sale in Ireland, please don’t hesitate to use our Ask Us Anything page. A dedicated expert advice service, it gives you access to the knowledge and experience of our team, who will tell you everything you want to know. It’s a great tool for helping you choose a new car, and it’s completely free of charge.


Tech Specs

Model testedAlfa Romeo Junior Veloce
Irish pricingTBC
Powertrainelectric - 207kW electric motor, lithium-ion battery of 51kWh useable energy capacity
Transmissionautomatic - single-speed gearbox, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat crossover
CO2 emissions0g/km
Irish motor tax€120 per annum
Official range333km
Max charging speeds100kW on DC, 11kW on AC
Top speed200km/h
0-100km/h5.9 seconds
Max power280hp
Max torque345Nm
Boot space400 litres all seats in use, 1,265 litres rear seats folded
Kerb weight1,590kg
Rivals to the Alfa Romeo Junior