As you are probably aware, Lancia disappeared from UK showrooms almost a decade ago. But, with the Fiat groups takeover of Chrysler Jeep in 2009, it is back, this time badged in the UK as a Chrysler, with two new models the B sector Ypsilon, which I’ll be road testing in the new year & the C sector Delta, which I drove in November.
Both are kind of familiar to me, as having spent two weeks last August in Liguria northern Italy, their distinctive rear light clusters, made both stand out whilst I was driving at night on the Autostrada. In Italy, both are incredibly popular & both are quite distinctive to look at, making them stand out from the crowd.
Chrysler is aiming both at the UK fleet market this year, having loaned models to key fleet decision makers & spoken with leasing & contract hire companies to try & get both on fleet choice lists. Corporate sales manager Daron Russell has also stressed the importance of the SME fleet market to Chrysler & a number of Chrysler dealers are now badged as ‘ Local Business Dealers ‘ to help make the brand more available to smaller local fleets.
Starting at £16995 on the road, the Delta is aimed fairly & squarely at the C sector fleet driver, traditionally a hard driver to please. Chryslers USP for the Delta is that it is more up market than it’s competitors, is better equipped & better value for money. My test model was the 1.6 multiJet SE, equipped with 6 speed semi automatic transmission. I found the engine to be excellent, as well as quiet & with plenty of power.
On my almost all urban cycle the Delta averaged 46.4 mpg, which with my right foot, was a tremendous performance. Claimed economy is 60.1 mpg on the combined, with CO2 emissions of 122g/km & I have no doubt that these figures aren’t far off the mark.
For customers who like to drive their company car, accelerataion to 62 mph is a respectable 10.7 seconds with a top speed of 120 mph. Generally, the Delta handled well too, displaying poise along country lanes, coping well with last years pot holes. However, the Delta is really about comfortable cruising & it’s on the motorway, with four passengers where the Delta really shines, transporting the family Walker from A to B in the manner of a much bigger more expensive car.
Previous Chryslers such as the Neon, weren’t renowned for their quality inside, but the inside of the Delta is very well thought out & put together, with stylish dashboard & quality finishes on the doors & upholstery. The standard equipment list includes 16″ alloys, premium Carbony 3D fabric upholstery, ambient lighting, LED day running lights, Radio with CD/MP3 compatibility, steering wheel with 6 buttons finished in leather,privacy glass 7 front & rear electric windows.
My passengers were particularly impressed with the rear space in the Delta, which is by far the best in it’s class, making the back of a Golf, Audi A3 Sportback, Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra seem cramped in comparison. As an added bonus the boot is also a decent size, big enough for four medium suitcases.
Overall, the Delta does everything very well, ticking all the right boxes for a C sector company car. Chrysler may not be a brand associated with smaller cars, but with the backing of Fiat, it is only a matter of time before it is.
As to whether the Delta is a success here in the UK, it’s still too early to say. But, with an excellent range of petrol as well as diesel engines, coupling low CO2 emissions with excellent fuel economy, funky Italian design as well as class leading space, it deserves to do well. Why don’t you contact one of the Chrysler local business centres to give one a go.
It’s Torino & not Juventus 3.5 out of 5.