THE launch of the Delta sees Chrysler embark on a four-year plan to re-build its dealer network and revamp its range in the UK and it could hardly have chosen a more competitive sector in which to begin its journey.
It doesn’t intend for the Delta to sell in high volumes but to carve out a significant niche for itself with its distinctive styling, spacious and versatile interior, executive class baubles and a broad range of strong, efficient engines, and the entry-level 1.4 T-Jet is far from being a disappointment.
With a wheelbase 100mm longer than the Fiat Bravo’s and a high roofline, the cabin is certainly very roomy and versatile. The 60/40 split rear seat slides fore and aft on runners just like those at the front so rear passenger legroom can be played off against boot space. But even with it in its forward position Chrysler claims a class-leading 970mm of legroom. Passengers can even recline the backrests by up to 25 degrees to get really comfy, an experience further enhanced, in the top-of-the-range Limited, by the seats’ stitched soft leather coverings.
It all helps to give the boldly styled cabin a sumptuous, up-market air that, for some, will make a refreshing change from the rather cool and austere German offerings but, for others, might seem just a little overwrought. But then, of course, this is a Fiat Group car wearing a Chrysler badge. The name maybe different but those who’ve been waiting such a long time for Lancia’s return to the UK market should have something to celebrate as well.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
CAR: Chrysler Delta 1.4T Jet S
PRICES: £16,695 - on the road
INSURANCE GROUPS: 14
PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 9.8s / top speed 121mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: (combined) 44.8 mpg
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: ESC plus traction control, ABS, twin front, side and full length curtain airbags
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/heightmm 4520/1797/1497.