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Chrysler Ypsilon Limited
WE’VE become accustomed to seeing big cars bearing the Chrysler badge.
The striking 300C, with its faux Bentley front, and the innovative Grand Voyager people-carrier are instantly recognisable for their styling and hulk.
Now, with the help of Fiat’s experience and knowledge in the small and medium-sized car sectors, Chrysler can imbue compact, more environmentally friendly models with the luxurious character traits of its bigger cars.
This follows the formation of a strategic alliance with Fiat. And one of the first products of this alliance is the Ypsilon, which could be described as a fivedoor, larger version of the Fiat 500.
Indeed, the underpinnings are those of the 500, but the Ypsilon uses a longer wheelbase.
Chrysler says it is targeting drivers who appreciate quality, elegance and innovation in equal measure. And this is no idle boast.
As well as bringing the Chrysler name to the supermini segment, the Ypsilon introduces a host of technologies. For the first time in this class of car, buyers have access to a raft of large car features such as Magic Parking, xenon headlights, a 500-watt surround sound music system, Blue&Me, TomTom Live and the smart fuel system that prevents you from mis-fuelling.
With a five-door body shape that has the appearance of a curvy, sporty three-door thanks to hidden rear door handles, the Ypsilon achieves a combination of practicality and good looks.
Beneath the bonnet of my test car was something very Fiat – the internationally-acclaimed 0.9-litre TwinAir turbo engine, which gives drivers the option of a sporting drive or class-leading economy.
The engine range is completed by a 1.2-litre petrol and a potent 1.3-litre turbo diesel, all of which come with Start&Stop as standard.
The bedrock of the TwinAir is the MultiAir technology that underpins it. This system features electro-hydraulic valve management that reduces fuel consumption by controlling the air going into the engine via the inlet valves without using the throttle.
Although the Ypsilon is smaller than many of its supermini rivals, it has one of the largest luggage capacities in its segment and is one of the best in class when it comes to passenger space.
At the front, and unusually for a supermini, powerful, projector type headlights sit either side of Chrysler’s new shield grille. These give the car a sophisticated appearance and make it seem wider than it actually is.
Step inside and there are two pleasant surprises when you enter the cabin. The first is the ambience – it has the aura of something above this class – and the other is the amount of room for even those topping 6ft.
Then comes a very big surprise – an optional piece of technology called Magic Parking that you would normally associate with premium brand, and the latest and most versatile version of Fiat’s award-winning Blue&Me system, which features a touch screen that manages phone calls, satellite navigation and all the driver information required.
The design of the dashboard gives the cabin a feeling of extra width, but the design is flawed because the instrument binnacle sits centrally on the dashboard, with the speedometer on the extreme left, which means taking your eyes off the road to check your speed.
The entry-level 1.2-litre S trim, features height-adjustable steering wheel, electric front windows, 50/50 split rear seat, height-adjustable driver’s seat, 15in wheels, premium fabric upholstery and heated rear window, radio with CD and MP3 player.
SE specification adds manual climate control, electrically adjustable door mirrors, leather trimmed steering wheel and gear lever gaiter, and Castiglio upholstery available in either gold or black designs. The Limited has rear electric windows, fog lights, 15-inch alloy wheels and leather upholstery.
As a first attempt to woo the UK car-buying public into its smaller cars, Chrysler’s Ypsilon is well up to the mark. The marriage with Fiat has produced an offspring to raise eyebrows.
Chrysler Ypsilon Limited
PRICE: £14,495 (Ypsilon range from £10,695).
ENGINE: 0.9-litre TwinAir turbo petrol, developing 85bhp.
TRANSMISSION: five-speed manual.
PERFORMANCE: 0 to 62mph in 11.5 seconds, top speed 109mph.
ECONOMY: 67.3mpg combined.
CO2 RATING: 99g/km