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First drive: Chrysler Delta

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Review

A ‘perfect marriage’ with Lancia is all set to pave the way for Chrysler to make a big impact in showrooms across Britain.

And the first result of the US-Italian union hints at a formidable potential line-up of future models, claims Chrysler brand president and chief executive officer Saad Chehab.

“Small cars have become cool again and Lancia has allowed us to arrange the perfect marriage.

“The fact is this brand excels in Italy while Chrysler excels in the US - so I think we are in line to see significant progress with the introduction of more models that will be of particular relevance to this market.

“Launching the Delta here represents another new start for Chrysler and it shows how we fully intend to transfer to Britain the comeback we have already achieved in the US,” said Chehab.

Wearing its new Chrysler nomenclature, the Delta effectively re-launches the brand in the heartland of a sector it vacated several years ago.

With a bold front end and high rear quarters promoting distinctive styling, the five-door hatchback blends a 2.7-metre wheelbase and 4.5-metre overall length to offer unrivalled interior space packaging.

Using a novel sliding arrangement, the rear seat can be moved to either swell luggage space when children are being carried or provide more than one metre of limousine-like legroom when needed.

For good measure, the seat backrests also recline by 25 degrees for added comfort and convenience.

Available in four trim levels, the car has a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines and is well equipped in basic S form with cornering fog lamps, remote keyless entry, air conditioning and power windows.

SE versions get alloy wheels, rear air vents, a refrigerated glovebox, ambient lighting and higher grade upholstery, SR includes larger alloys, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, steering wheel switches and alcantara upholstery.

The top Limited specification includes leather trim, two-tone paintwork, satellite navigation, rear parking sensors and power-adjust front seats.

A panoramic sunroof, automatic parking, lane discipline control and Blue&Me connectivity developed jointly with Microsoft feature in an extensive options list.

Chrysler is expecting to sell up to 2,500 examples of the Delta next year and officials think a combination of space, technology, convenience and performance will allow the 1.6-litre SE semi-automatic version to have most appeal with corporate buyers.

Comfortable and quiet, the smallest turbodiesel model pulls strongly from low revs, has confident roadholding and proves to be a relaxing open road cruiser.

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