Chrysler Ypsilon

26 May, 2011 2:54pm Luke Madden

Re-badged Lancia will go on sale in the UK for the first time. We find out what we to expect from the Ypsilon.


At its heart, the Chrysler Ypsilon is essentially a more practical and cheaper version of the Fiat 500 – and that’s no bad thing. The extra doors are hidden well, ensuring the Ypsilon loses none of its style and the small engines and light steering are perfect for nipping around town. The ride could do with being a little more comfortable and the interior doesn’t quite live up to the exterior but there’s still plenty to like about Chrysler’s smallest model.
Is this the most popular car you’ve never heard of? The Ypsilon has been on sale since 1996 throughout Europe under the Lancia brand, racking up as many as 85,000 sales a year. Now it’s coming to the UK wearing a Chrysler badge. So can it continue its success here? We took to the road in a Lancia-badged model to find out.

Both Chrysler and Lancia are under Fiat ownership and the Ypsilon rides on a slightly lengthened version of the 500’s platform. It may not have that car’s retro appeal, but the Chrysler looks like nothing else on the road and for some that’s a huge plus. 

The extra length in the wheelbase – 300mm has been added – means there is space for four adults to sit comfortably and boot space is reasonable at 245 litres. For the first time on an Ypsilon, this car gets four doors too.

Inside, cabin quality is pretty good. No matter which model you go for you get a soft-touch dashboard trimmed in cloth for lower-spec models and a convincing man-made leather for more expensive variants. Elsewhere, the piano black centre console adds a touch of class. Our only criticism is that the design could be a bit more exciting. 

Underneath the bonnet, the engine line-up will be familiar to Fiat 500 owners and includes the turbocharged two-cylinder TwinAir unit tested here, which claims CO2 emissions of 99g/km and an economy figure of 67.3mpg. There’s an entry level 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.3-litre diesel too, which also claims CO2 emissions under 100g/km.

Throughout our test route the TwinAir unit impressed with its playful engine note and 84bhp power figure which proved perfect for nipping around town. The disappointment comes when you fill-up. Our trip computer was showing we’d achieved just 35mpg over our mixed test route – almost half what the claimed figures suggest. In fact the 1.2-litre petrol unit actually performed better for fuel economy over the same route. 

On rough roads and in the bends, the Ypsilon reveals its 500 underpinnings behaving almost exactly like its Fiat stablemate. The ride is mostly comfortable over everyday road surfaces but large potholes send a thud into the cabin. In corners, there’s plenty of roll and the steering tends to isolate the driver from the action somewhat. 

Prices are expected to start from around £10,500 with top-spec models costing as much as £17,000.

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I mean, just read this bit again:

"The disappointment comes when you fill-up. Our trip computer was showing we’d achieved just 35mpg over our mixed test route – almost half what the claimed figures suggest. In fact the 1.2-litre petrol unit actually performed better for fuel economy over the same route."

At the risk of repeating myself ... Why?

... The 0.9 has a turbo which is eager to kick in (and that is also fun to engage).
Driven conservatively, it does better, but you have to press the "eco" button and avoid revving up...

Surely we have gotten over the Lancia Beta by now? - I keep seeing drop-dead gorgeous Lancias on the continent - such a shame we don't get them over here - until now. But do we really have to have it with a Chrysler badge? Chrysler, to me, is synonymous with scarce, now-you-see-them-now-you-don't dealerships and poor (not to mention expensive) after-sales service. I know - I bought a PT. PLease, Fiat, bring Lancia in from the cold!

I'm thinking this city/supermini looks totally fit for its purpose, I like the lines, and am looking forward to seeing one for real... Also hoping that all folk who buy a UK badged Chrysler/Lancia see sense and replace the badges for the Italian brand.

I'll admit immediately that I'm a HUGE Ypsilon fan. Last week in Budapest I saw a few and they just gladden my heart. I also saw the Delta which is this one's bigger brother which is very similar in style. As for Chrysler, well their track record in the UK in the 70's and 80's was almost as bad as Lancia. Chrysler Alpine, anyone? I'll trot along to my local dealer when these come on the market just to see if it is as good with its new badges. It was just a shame that all of Lancia's reputation disintegrated along with their cars meaning that Fiat have to re-brand for the UK to have some hope of success.

Firstly, I have to say this car should be given at least a 4 star rating verdict because, we all know, if it had an Audi or BMW badge AE would have given it 4 stars! The luxury interior I think is the highlight and the biggest selling point and the engines as always, will be superb! However, If I was to buy this car, I would swap it to Lancia badges without hesitation!

Top-heavy stance aside, I'd would be concered about the usual reliability issues of a Fiat Group product. After a bad spate with a Punto, I'd rather have a Hyundai. Sorry.

Good heavens, what a horrible looking car!!!

Cannot believe they are going to sell this interesting and very Italian vehicle as a Chrysler. It is at the end of the day a Lancia product so why not sell at as a Lancia - the Lancia badge is much more fashionable than a Chrysler one, and I think would go down in Britain a lot better as a Lancia.

Are you near wise in the head? No, there is no clever anagram or witty meaning in that comment, it means exactly what you see, ie, do you HONESTLY think people will look at the poor fuel consumption and forgive the looks?

Yes, it's a cutie!!!


Is this badge engineering really necessary?
Even after an absence of several dacades from the British and American market, there is no need to swap badges.

Those who know the brand's history and who for exemple still have fond memories of their Fulvia's like me, will know what the name Lancia stands for, ....character and refinement.

So mister Marchionne, use the Chrysler badge on Detroit iron and not on a sophisticated Italian car.

Are they mad Chrysler that t omany means awful junk not fit for European roads and driving styles, Lancia who can forget their fantastics cars but I can see many not getting past the 'engine on the road Beta' - so why not badge it as Fiat? Great recent history 500 Punto etc.

Key specs

* Price: from £10,500
* Engine: 0.9-litre two-cylinder petrol 84bhp
* Transmission: five-spd manual, front wheel drive
* Top speed: 110mph
* 0-60mph: 11.9 seconds
* Combined economy: 67.3mpg
* CO2: 99g/km
* Equipment: Bluetooth connectivity, air-con, cruise control, electric windows, stop/start
* On sale: September