The Americans Get A Small Car From Lancia
If Fiat Sells Pandas Disguised As 500s For More Money, Why Not This?
Ypsilon Moved Upmarket With Luxuries Like Leather, Xenon Lights
*** out of 5
For attractive, well equipped, drives well, stands out in the crowd
Against pricey; can it compete with bigger cars?
Chrysler dealers in Europe will soon get a small car for the first time the little Ypsilon made by Fiat of Italy and badged a Lancia on the European mainland.
This Fiat cooperation will be a big bonus for Chrysler dealers (Chrysler is now owned by Fiat) and they will also get the Golf-sized Delta, of which more next week.
The Ypsilon was launched in Italy earlier this year, and with engineering based on the Fiat Panda launched at the Frankfurt Car Show last month. Chrysler has decided to move this little car upmarket, adding some features like xenon headlights, luxury leather interiors and a high quality dashboard to woo buyers. The exterior will turn heads too, with its in yer face grille and natty rear light design. It remains to be seen if the Chrysler brand name will resonate with buyers.
There’s a choice of three engines; a 900 cc two-cylinder petrol, 1.2 litre petrol or a 1.3 litre diesel. All include Stop-Start. Reflecting this push for luxury, prices are very high, with the base model starting at £10,695, and the top of the range 900 cc TwinAir going for £15,695. Fiat has made good money selling the stylish 500, which is basically a Panda in disguise, so in theory there’s no reason why a luxury small car like Ypsilon can’t command sales even though it is smaller than most of its competition by price.
Buyers will be able to specify automatic climate control, fog lights, 16-inch wheels, cruise control, a leather steering wheel with audio controls, dusk and rain sensors, parking sensors and a 500-watt surround sound music system. There’s the full alphabet soup of computerized safety gizmos. There are up to six airbags, ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Dynamic Control, traction control and Hill Holder, and three trim levels: S, SE and Limited. There’s a huge choice of options in an almost limitless number of combinations, enabling drivers to give their car the personal touch.
Every Chrysler Ypsilon is equipped with a Gear Shift Indicator to help the driver change gear at the optimum point for best fuel consumption.
The entry-level S trim is only available with the 1.2-litre engine. Standard equipment includes height adjustable steering wheel, electric front windows, 50/50 split rear seat, height-adjustable driver’s seat, 15-inch wheels and heated rear window, radio with CD and MP3 player, plus the full complement of safety kit. SE adds manual climate control, electrically adjustable door mirrors, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear-lever. The Limited has rear electric windows, fog lights, 15-inch alloy wheels and leather upholstery.
(Chrysler provided travel, hotel and helicopter ride)
Neil Winton October 15, 2011
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