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First drive: 2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce. Image by Alfa Romeo.

First drive: 2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce
An early drive in Alfa Romeoís top-of-the-range Junior electric SUV reveals a small car thatís full of promise.

   



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2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce

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The Alfa Romeo Junior has not had the easiest start in life. Having hurriedly changed its name from Milano just days before its global debut, and having to share underpinnings with the likes of the Fiat 600 and Jeep Avenger, it has always felt like a car on the back foot. But we've finally had our first chance to drive it, and we've kicked off at the top, with the high-performance Veloce model. Will this compact electric SUV be good enough to turn its fortunes around?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce
Price: From £42,295
Engine: 207kW electric motor
Battery: 54kWh lithium-ion (51.4kWh usable)
Transmission: single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Power: 280hp
Torque: 345Nm
Emissions: 0g/km
Range: 207 miles
Economy: TBC
0-62mph: 5.9 seconds
Top speed: >124mph
Boot space: 400 litres

Styling

Alfa Romeo knows a thing or two about style, and the Junior is far from ugly. Sure, the headlights look a bit Renault-ish, and the tail lights are integrated into a strange kind of ducktail spoiler arrangement on the tailgate, but those oddities aside, it's a pretty car. The sort of thing a Mafia boss will throw off a mountain with a small tinge of regret. And this Veloce model is arguably even prettier. We aren't quite sold on the fairing over the grille or the red pinstripe, but the wheels look great, as do the sporty bumpers and the two-tone paintjob. It isn't quite as attractive as the Tonale, but it's still easy on the eye.

Interior

Alfa has decided to keep a bit of driver focus in the Juniorís cabin, so thereís a touchscreen thatís angled towards the driver and thereís a cool digital instrument display. The style is generally motorsport-inspired, with air vents that look like alloy wheels and Ė in the case of the Veloce Ė some microfibre material on show, but quality is a little bit of an issue.

In fairness, the Junior is hampered by the desire to keep it light and the desire to keep costs to a minimum in order to maintain profitability, but the end result is a car that looks great, but feels a bit cheap in places. Those air vents feel flimsy, some of the plastics feel cheap and almost all the switchgear is borrowed from elsewhere in the Stellantis group. The buttons on the wheel are from a DS, while the stalks are from a Peugeot and the gear selector is from a Citroen. It isnít a disaster, but it cheapens the Alfa a bit.

On the plus side, the Alfa gets Stellantis software, too, so the touchscreen is unremarkable in many ways, but it works reasonably well. The odd moment of lag holds it back a bit, and there are some functions that are too well hidden in the menus, but otherwise itís perfectly reasonable.

Perhaps the best bit is the optional Sabelt seats fitted to our Veloce test car. Dramatic to look at but surprisingly comfortable, they really hold you in well when you start throwing the car around. And in the case of the Veloce, thatís something youíll really want to do.

Practicality

The figures suggest the Junior is a pretty roomy thing, with 400 litres of boot space and an adjustable boot floor. What's more, there's a special charging cable compartment (well, it's a big lunchbox, really) under the bonnet so you don't need to stow the cable in the boot, especially when it's wet and mucky. But while boot space is decent, cabin space is less impressive. You can put four adults in there, but space is a little bit tight for those of above-average height. Especially with those Sabelt seats that have sharp protrusions seemingly designed to bruise your knees.

Performance

Alfa Romeo is going to offer two different electric powertrains to UK customers, with the basic Elettrica getting a 156hp electric motor, while the Veloce tested here gets a much meatier 280hp. Both motors drive the front wheels alone, and both get their energy from a 54kWh battery pack, but the Veloce's system has the assistance of a clever 'Torsen' differential that manages the power delivery between the two front wheels for maximum traction.

The result is pretty sharp acceleration, even though the figures don't necessarily do it justice. A 0-62mph time of 5.9 seconds is fast, but hardly remarkable for a small electric car, yet the Veloce feels much quicker. Perhaps it's the instantaneousness of the power delivery.

But while the Veloce may be quick, it is unlikely to offer the same range as its less powerful siblings. Officially, it will cover 207 miles on a charge, which is no better than adequate. In the real world, you're probably looking at 150 miles, and even less if you exploit the performance. We drove the Veloce on track for about 30 miles or so and used almost half the battery. At least, with 100kW charging, it can be topped up from 10 to 80 per cent in half an hour at an ultra-rapid public charger.

Ride & Handling

Just as the Veloceís performance is not really representative of the Junior models overall, the way it drives is also pretty special. Thatís because Alfa Romeo has made wholesale changes to the suspension in a bid to make the car more stable and better balanced, and the results speak for themselves. As front-wheel-drive compact EVs go, this is one of the very best, with brilliant steering thatís sharp and direct, and impressive agility. Even the body is well controlled, despite the car sitting high above the road, so there isnít too much roll in corners, and that tiny differential works brilliantly to reduce understeer.

Lesser Junior models wonít get the same suspension settings, so they arenít expected to offer anything like the same level of agility, but they may well be more comfortable. In fairness to the Veloce, the ride is very composed Ė it doesnít get caught out by bumps and after the initial impact, all is calm Ė but that initial thump is quite marked, and you will feel it. With a softer, more comfort-orientated set-up, the Elettrica version is expected to be more supple.

Value

The electric Junior range is set to start from £33,895, which isn't bad value when you consider the much smaller electric Vauxhall Corsa starts at almost £27,000. However, the Veloce model is almost £10,000 more expensive than the basic Elettrica, at just over £42,000, but that's still only fractionally more than we're expecting the Abarth 600e to cost. And the Junior is expected to be a much better car to drive. It shouldn't be any less well equipped, either, with navigation, climate control and the digital instrument display all featuring as standard on the Veloce, along with all the mechanical upgrades.

Verdict

Judging the Junior overall on the basis of the Veloce is like judging all Golfs on the GTI, but the signs are undoubtedly good. While the Junior may lack some rear space, and the Veloce feels a bit firm, there's a great driver's car under there. If you want a high-performance, compact electric vehicle, this is going to have to be on your shortlist. It's that good. We only hope the other Junior models can be similarly appealing.



James Fossdyke - 9 Jul 2024



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2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce. Image by Alfa Romeo.2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce. Image by Alfa Romeo.2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce. Image by Alfa Romeo.2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce. Image by Alfa Romeo.2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce. Image by Alfa Romeo.

2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce. Image by Alfa Romeo.2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce. Image by Alfa Romeo.2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce. Image by Alfa Romeo.2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce. Image by Alfa Romeo.2025 Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce. Image by Alfa Romeo.








 

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