CHRYSLER YPSILON AND DELTA ROAD TEST
Two new premium models that may well look strangely familiar. Motoring writer TOM SCANLAN tests two of the latest – and best – from Chrysler
Chrysler’s “strategic alliance” with Fiat a couple of years ago has now borne fresh fruit…well, nearly.
They are the Ypsilon 5-door supermini and the C-segment Delta, which is the next size up, so-to-speak. Holidaymakers to Europe might already recognise these models under the Lancia brand. For the UK market, says Chrysler’s research, potential buyers here see Chrysler as the better brand – and there’s the Chrysler dealer network already in place. Therefore, Chrysler badges appear everywhere, including on the steering wheel boss, which is perfectly logical.
Both Ypsilon and Delta perhaps look their best from the rear, both with distinctive rear light clusters; the Delta is probably the best overall design from a purely visual point-of-view.
The Ypsilon’s interior is eye-catching, spectacular, in fact, thanks to the centrally-positioned main instrument binnacle and shiny black central console below.
The Delta doesn’t have this, but relies on a more familiar brushed metallic effect, which is a bit of a pity.
Both cars were enjoyable to drive. There are of course various engines from the excellent Fiat bin, and trim combinations and new bi-colour options, with roofs in black and bodies in lighter shades.
My Ypsilon was the 1.3 MultiJet Limited. This is a diesel-engined version at the top of the range and although by no means cheap at £15,495, it had enough specification perhaps to entice the extra money out of a prospective buyer’s wallet. My drive, as recorded on the trip computer, returned 60.8 mpg. The car is a lively performer and feels at least as refined and quiet as any small diesel rivals. The engine is remarkably flexible and the car gets to 62 mph in 11.4 seconds.
The seats are part leather and proved very comfortable, and leather covers both the gear lever and steering wheel. A small boot and not much legroom in the rear are no great faults in the supermini class.
Air-con is amongst the standard features, as are keyless entry and electric windows all round for convenience, side front and curtain airbags for safety, and Start and Stop to help save fuel.
Among the options is a double panoramic sunroof, larger wheels and cruise control. Also, Magic Parking that works out whether a space you’ve spotted is actually big enough for the car to get into – clever, and a boon especially for city dwellers. Stability Control is another option, although such technology should surely be standard on all cars of whatever budget. Having said that, the rest of today’s safety technology is well to the fore and both Ypsilon and Delta have five NCAP stars.
Buyers of the Ypsilon will be those who like its style and want a car with some quality and just that bit different.
The same might be said for the Delta. Although this does not have the same sort of interesting interior, it does represent, like the Ypsilon, a move up market in quality compared with previous Chryslers over the years.
The Delta 1.4 petrol engine as tested returned 32.3 mpg, a slightly disappointing figure given the unstressed routes experienced. But it was lively and fun to drive, zero to 62 mph taking 9.8 seconds and the engine more than willing to be revved. There is a beautifully quick and light 6-speed gear change, good handling and braking, and a comfortable ride. The hand brake is to the left of the central tunnel, doubtless a legacy of the Lancia brand being left-hand-drive cars. Similarly, the speedometer on the Ypsilon is nearer the passenger than the driver, even if Chrysler reckons it all helps to keep the front passenger involved!
Lumbar adjustment for the driver’s seat and dual climate control help keep the front seat occupants happy.
Another feature to highlight is the rear seats that slide forwards and backwards. This can help extend the carrying capacity when forward, but rear passengers will have squashed knees; with the seats slid back, there’s a good amount of legroom. The seats can also be semi-reclined. The boot is pretty good and appears to be well-finished, like the rest of the car. Chrysler claims that the Delta has as much interior space as cars in the next sector up.
Both Delta and Ypsilon have a ‘Fix and Go’ inflation kit, rather than a spare wheel. This increases load space to a small extent. Both cars have good, simple and clear white-on-black main instruments and they both have Fiat/Chrysler’s Blue and Me audio/info connectivity; both cars are fun, both have a fair bit of style and they are a welcome addition to the UK motoring scene.
For buyers who don’t want top-of-the-range, prices for Ypsilon start at £10,695 and for Delta at £16,695.