Here’s an odd thing: the badges on this car invite you to think of it as hailing from the USA, home of Chrysler. Not so. If you have travelled on holiday or business in mainland Europe, you might very well have seen exactly the same car wearing Lancia badges. Confusing? Maybe, but the reason behind this unusual dual identity is Fiat’s takeover of Chrysler, adding the American brand to a portfolio of companies that already included Italian-based Lancia. Perversely, Fiat chose to badge-engineer both the Delta and its smaller stablemate the Ypsilon, and launch them for the UK and Ireland under the Chrysler brand name.
The Delta has already been on sale in the rest of Europe (as a Lancia) since 2008, and is a popular model well-liked for its distinctive styling and roomy interior. Those oddball looks make it a bit of a Marmite car though – you may either love it or hate it, but it is hard to ignore, and collects plenty of second glances on the road.
Effectively the Delta is like a Fiat Bravo in a fancy frock, with a similar chassis and engine range. Although the Chrysler brand is newly returned to Britain after a long gap, and past models wearing the same brand badge are not remembered with any particular fondness, the technology in this car is well-proven and reliable. The Delta spearheads a new generation of Lancias – albeit under a different identity – for the British car market.
Older motorists with longer memories may recall that problems with rust and reliability, long since resolved, were the reason for Lancia’s demise from Britain 17 years ago. That is part of the reason why the Fiat Group has chosen to sell a modern range of Lancias here badged as Chryslers.
Fiat's respected 1.6 litre MultiJet diesel engine is at the heart of this car, with 120 bhp power output and 222 lb ft of torque. It gives the relatively heavy Delta reasonably good performance, with a sub-11 seconds acceleration time and sufficient mid-range punch for overtaking.
Chrysler Delta Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Chrysler Chrysler Delta SE 2.0 TDi|
|Colour||Zenith White/Black Roof|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||10.7 Seconds|
|Top Speed||120 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||72.4 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5 stars|
|Warranty||3 years/60,000 Miles|
|Price (when tested on the 22/11/11)||£32,100|