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Car Review

Alfa Romeo Junior review

Published: 09 Jul 2024


What is it like to drive?

That's a good question given it's FWD and has 280bhp and near-instant torque. It could get untidy and collapse into torque steer: the new electric Mini hatch does that when the road is bumpy.

But no. In normal mode the Veloce stays disciplined, taut and accurate. Dynamic mode gives you the full power, and loosens the ESP. There's some torque steer here, but it's not unmanageable, and feeling the wheel wriggle in your hands as you exit a bend under full power is an amusing indication you've given it all there is.

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On the next bend, lift off the throttle as you approach the apex and you feel it tuck the nose and edge the tail. That sort of steer-by-throttle in a FWD car is a rarity these days, but it never feels ragged.

It's worth mentioning the brakes. There are no regeneration paddles but you still have options. In D mode, the blending strategy emphasises using the discs, which wastes energy but does give a firmer pedal. In N and A (advanced efficiency) modes, the pedal blending emphasises regeneration, which means that slightly odd initial delay and soggy middle that most EVs suffer.

There's also a B button for max regen, but since you can get that from the brake pedal, it's best reserved – as in most EVs – for when you're going down a long hill.

And the acceleration?

The D mode's full 280bhp is properly sprightly, not just away from low-speed obstructions but for main road overtakes and motorway speed too. In numbers, 0-62mph is 5.9 seconds and the maximum speed 125mph. On a test track it was still pulling with vim beyond 90mph.

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In N and especially A, you get less power and torque unless you mash the pedal past a click point deep in the carpet. That means a longer pedal map, handy for being smooth in town driving.

What about cruising?

On motorway-type roads it's pretty stable given the quick steering ratio: this isn't one of those cars that needs lane centring assistance. Such an ADAS system is fitted as standard but wasn't live on our late-prototype tester.

The ride is taut but on our Italian experience avoids crashiness or the rubbery, secondary shudder that plagued previous small Alfas. It's quiet through the air even at big speed.

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