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Alfa Romeo unveils light-segment Junior SUV

Headed to Aus in H2 of 2025, Alfa Romeo’s Junior (née Milano) will rival Lexus LBX

16 Apr 2024

ALFA ROMEO unveiled its light-segment Milano SUV and was promptly forced to rename it Junior after the original name was deemed misleading and therefore unlawful given production will take place in Poland. 
Now available in Europe, the Junior is expected to arrive in Australian showrooms during the second half of 2025. Pricing and local specifications will be announced closer to that time. 
The Italian brand’s smallest vehicle since production of the Mito hatch concluded in 2018, the Junior is based on Stellantis sister brand Peugeot’s CMP petrol and petrol-electric architecture. 
Similar in size to the Lexus LBX, the Junior will sit beneath the Tonale SUV in Alfa Romeo’s line-up. It shares underpinnings with the Fiat 600e, Jeep Avenger, Peugeot e-2008, and Opel Mokka to name but a few in the Stellantis stable. 
The Junior measures 4710mm in length, 1780mm in width, and 1500mm in height. 
At entry level, the petrol-powered Milano Ibrida features a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 48-volt mild hybrid assistance. It develops 100kW of power, put to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. An all-wheel drive variant is expected later. 
Two battery electric (BEV) Milano Elettrica variants will also be offered from launch, a 115kW standard option and a high-output 177kW Veloce variant. 
Both are front-wheel drive and feature a 54kWh lithium-ion battery pack. WLTP range is listed at up to 410km with a 100kW DC charging time of 30 minutes detailed for the 10-80 per cent standard. 
Sporty steering and suspension (lowered 25mm on the Veloce) promise an agile driving experience, the high-performance Veloce grade further adding 380mm front brake rotors with four-piston calipers, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a Torsen limited-slip differential. 
As seen elsewhere in the Alfa Romeo range, the Junior features the brand’s uniqe DNA drive selector offering Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency settings. 
The Junior is visually characterised by varying grille designs between grades – each with the famed Leggenda script – Guilia TZ inspired taillights, and Matrix LED headlights (on high-grade variants). 
In the cabin, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster sits ahead of the driver with a second 10.25-inch set central in the dashboard for infotainment duties. The infotainment screen controls most of the Milano’s ancillary functions, including the climate control. 
The air vents are shaped in the Quadrifoglio (four-leaf clover) motif, while high-grade models score Sabelt sport seats. LED ambient cabin lighting, sat nav, massaging seats with electronic adjustment, keyless entry and ignition, aluminium pedals, and Alcantara upholstery are also available thoughout the Junior range. 
Cargo space is listed at 400 litres with a hands-free powered tailgate available. 
Safety features include adaptive cruise control, AEB, front and rear acoustic parking sensors, lane centring assist, and a reversing camera. 

Naming controversy 

The Italian government said it is illegal for the littlest Alfa Romeo to be called Milano because it will be built in Poland, contravening local laws targeting products with “Italian sounding” names that are not actually Italian. 
Stellantis chief executive Carlo Tavares says the move allows the brand to sell the Milano for €10,000 ($A16,430) less than would be the case for an Italian-built car, the Italian government’s industry minister Adolfo Urso said the decision is unlawful. 
“A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland,” said Mr Urso. “This law stipulates that you cannot give indications (names) that mislead consumers. So, a car called Milano must be produced in Italy, otherwise it gives a misleading indication which is not allowed under Italian law”. 
Mr Tavares countered Mr Urso’s argument, saying that manufacturing both ICE and BEV versions of the Milano is Poland as opposed to Italy has allowed Stellantis to slash €10,000 ($A16,430) from the asking price of the model – which will become the only Alfa Romeo to be built outside of Italy. 
“If built in Italy, a Milano would have started from about €40,000 ($A65,730) instead of €30,000 ($A49,300), limiting its potential on the marketplace,” he told Automotive News Europe. 
Alfa Romeo subsequently backed down, issuing a statement headlined “Milano name is not okay? Junior then!” 
The company cheekily thanked the Italian government “for the free publicity brought on by this debate”. 
“Despite Alfa Romeo believing that the name meets all legal requirements, and that there are issues much more important than the name of a new car, Alfa Romeo has decided to change it from Milano to Junior in the spirit of promoting mutual understanding.” 
Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato said interest in the Junior generated by the naming controversy resulted in “an unprecedented number of visits to the online configurator, causing the website to crash". 
The company’s statement continued: “It was a pleasure to go over the list of names selected as favourites from the public’s suggestions, one of which was Junior.” 
Use of the Junior nameplate by Alfa Romeo dates back to 1966 with the GT 1300 Junior at a time when the company was trying to “attract a new, younger audience eager for a brilliant, exclusive car without excessive purchase and running costs”. 
The result was a car that “could deliver high-level performance and driving pleasure,” says Alfa Romeo. 

“The bodywork was also updated with a dedicated and more youthful trim.”

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