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In-depth reviews

Alfa Romeo Junior review

The first fully-electric Alfa is a special yet useable small SUV

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Genuinely good to drive
  • Family-friendly practicality
  • Sturdy build quality

Cons

  • Middling battery range
  • Rather expensive to buy
  • Average charging speeds
RangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
208-255 miles7.5hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)27min (20-80%, 100kW)

Alfa Romeo Junior verdict

The Alfa Romeo Junior is a hugely important electric car debut for this beloved Italian brand. Not only must the new Junior appeal to a steady flow of electric SUV customers, but it also needs to live up to Alfa’s sporting heritage. The good news is that Alfa’s EV really does manage to satisfy this tough criteria. It’s genuinely engaging to drive, noticeably spacious inside and even feels rather upmarket. The only real downside is the price.

Details, specs and alternatives

The Junior is Alfa Romeo’s first mainstream electric car and only its third SUV overall. The Stellantis-owned brand has already proven its ability to build sporty SUVs with the Stelvio and Tonale, but many fans and customers have waited with bated breath to see whether Alfa can create a suitably unique and on-brand EV.

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Seeing that the Alfa Romeo Junior sits on the same platform as the Vauxhall Mokka Electric, Jeep Avenger and Peugeot E-2008, you might be concerned that this is little more than a rehashed Stellantis SUV with an Alfa Romeo badge slapped on it. However, the Junior is far more than that.

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Rather than simply pumping some extra power into the car, painting it red and calling it a day, Alfa Romeo’s engineers have approached the Junior with driver engagement at the top of their priorities list. There’s still a reasonable amount of shove on offer from our Alfa Junior Elettrica Veloce test car with its single-motor powertrain producing 277bhp, but this is combined with carefully tuned components including the brakes, steering and suspension. On top of this, the Alfa’s kerb weight has also been kept well under control, with the whole car weighing in at around 1,590kg.

All of these careful touches mean the Alfa Romeo Junior is as enjoyable to drive as an Alfa should be, regardless of its electric powertrain. There’s more good news, too, as the build quality feels worlds apart from the Alfas of the past, there’s a healthy dose of soft touch materials and lots of useful tech. 

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At the centre of the dashboard resides a 10.25-inch touchscreen, and we found it easy to use. There’s even better news, though, is that Alfa Romeo hasn’t shied away from using analogue switchgear. 

The sole source of power for the Alfa Romeo Junior is a 54kWh battery, and just like the aforementioned front-mounted electric motor, this pack is better described as sufficient rather than excessive with the Junior’s maximum claimed range depending on the chosen variant.

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Kicking off the electric Alfa Romeo Junior line-up is the standard Elettrica model which claims up to 255 miles on a single charge. This version also comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and climate control as standard.

Next up is a special launch edition called the Elletrica Speciale. This ups the power from 155bhp to 237bhp and adds in a black body kit with red detailing, upgraded seats and privacy glass. 

At the top of the Junior tree sits the Elettrica Veloce (our test car) and this offers 277bhp along with larger 20-inch alloy wheels and sports suspension, as well as the same body kit and seats as the Speciale.

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Alternatively, the Junior is also available with mild-hybrid power. This model, known as the Junior Ibrida, is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine producing 134bhp, but its arrival in the UK is yet to be confirmed.

It’s the electric Alfa that we’re focussing on here, though, and there’s plenty of competition for it to face in the small SUV sector. As well as its own stablemates from Vauxhall, Peugeot and Jeep, the Junior also faces the likes of the Volvo EX30, Hyundai Kona Electric, Smart #1 and BMW iX1, to name just a few.

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The base Alfa Romeo Junior model starts at around £34,000 which looks competitive against similar rivals, but you’ll need £40,000 for the Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica Veloce.

Range, battery size & charging

ModelRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Junior Elettrica255 miles7.5hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)27min (20-80%, 100kW)
Junior Elettrica Speciale215 miles7.5hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)27min (20-80%, 100kW)
Junior Elettrica Veloce208 miles7.5hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)27min (20-80%, 100kW)

At first glance the Alfa Romeo Junior’s 54kWh battery pack is pretty average in terms of size, but this small SUV’s low kerb weight is the key to its efficiency and resulting range.

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Alfa Romeo claims that the Junior weighs “200kg less than its best rivals” at 1,590kg, and this somewhat lightweight physique, by EV standards, inevitably takes some strain off the single front-mounted motor. 

The amount of power produced by this motor varies between all three variants of the Junior, and this affects the number of miles that each one can cover on a full charge, even though they’re all powered by the same powertrain.

The entry-level 155bhp Junior Elettrica has the highest official range with a maximum of 255 miles on the WLTP combined cycle. The mid-range Speciale variant sees this figure drop to 215 miles, while the most-powerful Veloce claims up to 208 miles. 

Another figure that is better described as average than revolutionary is the 100kW peak DC rapid charging speed. This rate doesn’t set a new standard, but it’s still good for a 20% to 80% charge in around 27 minutes. A full charge from a typical 7.4kW home wallbox charger, meanwhile, should take around seven and a half hours.

Running costs & insurance

With prices starting from £33,895 for the Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica, it’s reasonably priced for a premium-badged model, but it falls short of being an outright bargain. However, moving up the range will quickly drive this number upwards, with the Speciale starting from nearly £37,000 and the range-topping Veloce passing the £42,000 mark.

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Another upmarket-feeling electric SUV with a similar pricing structure is the Volvo EX30, and this starts off from around £35,000. Surprisingly, the Alfa manages to slightly undercut the closely-related Jeep Avenger which also starts from around £35,000 in electric form. Entry-level versions of the Peugeot E-2008 and Vauxhall Mokka Electric are cheaper.

When it comes to the day-to-day running of the Alfa Romeo Junior, its official insurance groups are yet to be announced, but it’s worth noting that electric cars tend to command higher premiums than their combustion and hybrid counterparts. For comparison, the Volvo EX30 sits in insurance groups 35 to 40, while the Alfa’s Jeep Avenger sibling resides in groups 24 to 25.

A full charge of the Alfa Romeo’s 54kWh battery should only set you back by around £16 at a typical household rate of 30p per kWh, but using a public charging station could cost considerably more. 

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Electric cars will soon no longer be exempt from the London Congestion Charge, but the Alfa Romeo Junior still avoids ULEZ charges. It also qualifies zero VED road tax until April 2025, as well as the 2% Benefit-in-Kind rate for company car drivers.

Performance, motor & drive

Quality, practicality and technology are only part of the puzzle, as there are few carmakers with such a rich sporting heritage as Alfa Romeo. A run-of-the-mill SUV wearing this badge would be deemed a travesty by the brand’s loyal enthusiasts, but we’re pleased to say that the Junior feels anything but average when you’re sitting behind the wheel.

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Many electric cars deliver face-shredding acceleration, but the Alfa Romeo Junior follows a different direction. Rather than blistering performance, Alfa’s electric SUV focuses on areas such as a low kerb weight (by EV standards) and providing plenty of good old-fashioned driver feedback. 

There’s still a reasonable amount of shove on offer but the car feels brisk in its power delivery rather than aggressive. Our Junior Veloce test car is the quickest of the bunch with 277bhp and 345Nm of torque on tap, and this (combined with its low kerb weight) results in a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.9 seconds and a 124mph top speed.

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The Veloce certainly isn’t out of its depth in a straight line, but it’s through the corners where some of the biggest smiles will be produced. Alfa’s engineers have carefully crafted the steering, suspension, brakes and several other components to ensure that the Junior Veloce feels as charismatic as possible to drive.

Power is delivered to the wheels via a mechanical Torsen differential, making the Junior Veloce the first front-wheel drive electric car to feature such a setup. This is one of several components that contributes to keeping the Alfa’s bulk at bay.

There’s a very pleasing level of precision in the Alfa Romeo Junior Veloce’s steering and throttle response, and the car feels planted enough to chuck around with ease. Even while we were having our fun during testing, the ride remained very comfortable.

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Think of the Alfa Romeo Junior as fun rather than ferocious and there are very few other EVs that can come close for sheer driving pleasure.

Interior, dashboard & infotainment

The Alfa Romeo Junior is positioned as the poshest of its Stellantis siblings, and its cabin certainly lives up to this title.

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Everything inside the Junior feels well put together and there’s plenty of pleasant materials to be found. There’s also a delightfully analogue feel to the interior, with a more traditional dashboard layout that accommodates a digital instrument display, a 10.25-inch touchscreen and a selection of proper buttons.

The Alfa is also a comfortable place to be with the electronically-adjustable seats feeling plush yet supportive. The driving position is excellent, too.

Boot space, seating & practicality

It’s great to drive but the Alfa Romeo Junior is still an SUV, so it’s reasonable to expect a decent amount of practicality. 

Thanks to its simplistic rear suspension, the Junior offers 400 litres of boot space which is far more than the Volvo EX30 (318 litres), the closely-related Jeep Avenger (355 litres) and Vauxhall Mokka Electric (310 litres). The Peugeot E-2008 does exceed the Alfa’s boot capacity but only by 34 litres.

Passengers will also enjoy a reasonable amount of room, but the rear seats will be a little bit snug for any who are over six-feet tall.

Reliability & safety rating

The Alfa Romeo Junior is yet to undergo Euro NCAP’s safety testing, but with the closely-related Peugeot E-2008, Vauxhall Mokka and Jeep Avenger all scoring between four and five-stars, we’d be very surprised if the Alfa failed to match them.

To say that Alfa Romeo’s reliability history is less than rosy would be a colossal understatement. However, the Stellantis-owned brand has moved leaps and bounds in order to reinvent itself and its cars. 

The result of Alfa Romeo’s efforts was a fifth-place finish in the best manufacturer rankings in our 2023 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. This result placed Alfa ahead of all direct rivals including Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes.

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Hello, I’m Shane and I’m the senior content editor both here at DrivingElectric and at our sister title Auto Express. Although I can trace my professional roots back to the radio and podcasting world, my passion (or borderline obsession) with cars saw me switch over to motoring journalism in 2021. From the very start I have been fortunate enough to try out the latest and greatest electric cars on the market, and I’m proud to help people like you make the right EV buying decisions.

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