What is it?
That’s the key question. Get ready for a long answer. Cynics will say, well, this Chrysler Delta is not a Chrysler, that’s for sure. The truth is it’s an Italian-built Lancia Delta, slightly modified and uniquely re-badged as a Chrysler for the UK because the new Fiat-Chrysler group (one of whose key strategies is to link Chrysler and Lancia products across the world) doesn’t want to go to the trouble of re-launching the Lancia brand in this country, where many decades ago it was involved in a rust scandal off which the Sunday newspapers fed for weeks.
Okay so far? There’s more. The Chrysler-Lancia Delta is a thoroughly decent and unusually roomy Italian-made car aimed at the Golf-Focus market sector. It has the same relationship with Fiat’s mainstream Bravo model as the Audi A3 does with the VW Golf. In short, it shares major dimensions and most of its mechanical parts, but has completely different body styling, equipment levels and is meant to be more upmarket.
The car is going on sale now. You’ll probably have seem the TV ads stressing luxury and space. Chrysler wants to sell 2500 to 3000 Deltas a year here, for a start, at prices (balanced for its better-than-average equipment levels) that undercut the VW Golf by around £500. Our 1.6-litre, 118bhp Multijet diesel test car, which in second-most-luxurious SR trim had all the important bells and whistles except a navigation system, full leather upholstery and rear parking sensors, cost a sensible-rounding £21,195 as standard, or £1250 more with the eye-catching “bi-colour” paint job featuring a matt black roof.