Chrysler Ypsilon and Delta vs rivals

Chrysler is pinning its hopes on a pair of rebadged Lancias. Can the Ypsilon and Delta compete?

Chrysler Ypsilon and Delta vs rivals

After nearly two decades away, Lancia is back in the UK. Well, sort of. Look past the Chrysler badges on the new Delta family hatchback and Ypsilon supermini and you’ll find cars that are 100 per cent Italian.

In an effort to revive Chrysler’s fortunes with British buyers, parent company Fiat has rebadged two of its most popular Lancia models and launched them over here.

The duo have plenty to offer customers, with unrivalled luxury, strong value and hi-tech engineering. Leading the charge is the Ypsilon. Previous versions of the supermini are a familiar sight in Italy, and have built up a reputation for providing big car luxury in a small package. The bold newcomer promises upmarket appeal and plenty of hi-tech extras, but it faces an established rival here. The Volkswagen Polo trades on its upmarket appeal and refinement.

Next up, it’s the turn of the Delta, with its distinctive looks and an enormous interior. This puts it in direct competition with the recently revised SEAT Leon. With equally rakish looks and a reputation for driving fun, it represents a stern test. So, the big question is whether this welcome injection of Latin flair will finally establish Chrysler as a force to be reckoned with in the UK?

Verdict

Chrysler is an ambitious brand. By launching new models into two of the most fiercely fought sectors in the UK market, it has signalled its intentions. Sadly, on the evidence of the Ypsilon, it faces an uphill struggle. Look past its quirky exterior and you’ll discover a car that lags a long way behind the supermini standard. Counting against it are the poor chassis, cheap-feeling cabin and weak refinement. The punchy TwinAir engine and low CO2 emissions are the only things working in its favour. If you’re looking for a refined and upmarket supermini, the VW Polo is a much better bet. It isn’t the most exciting choice, but is beautifully built and very refined, plus it delivers composed driving dynamics and a practical cabin. Fortunately for Chrysler, the Delta is a much brighter prospect. It’s boldly styled, spacious and relaxing to drive, and a welcome addition to the family hatch class. Yet it loses out to the SEAT in its first test by the narrowest of margins. The Leon has the edge on account of its sharper chassis, stronger performance and solid build quality.

Ypsilon vs Polo

1. VW Polo Match

What the Polo lacks in character, it makes up for in upmarket appeal. Top-quality build, refinement and a grown-up driving experience give the VW a clear victory here.

2. Chrysler Ypsilon SE

We had high hopes for the Ypsilon, but it falls well short of the class leaders. TwinAir engine and hi-tech options are impressive, but the car has too many flaws.

Delta vs Leon

1. SEAT Leon FR

It’s not as radical to look at as the Delta, but the Leon is better to drive and more solidly engineered. Cabin space could be better, yet this isn’t enough to deny the car victory.

2. Chrysler Delta SR

If you want something different, the Delta is worth a look. Some interior materials feel cheap and it’s not great to drive, but it’s capable and has character.

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