Looks alone can't carry the baby Chrysler any more, and against more advanced rivals it's beginning to feel aged

What is it?

Currently the top-spec version of Chrysler's Ypsilon supermini, and a potential rival to the likes of other style-led runabouts like the Fiat 500. We like the Ypsilon's quirky styling, and the fact that it seems to arrive with plenty of kit as standard means it can also offer good value for money.

That could soon change for the better, too, because there's talk that Chrysler may soon drop the price of the Ypsilon substantially. For the moment, though, this Ypsilon S-Series costs £12,795 in standard form and comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, twin chromed tail pipes, a Bose stereo, air conditioning, start-stop system and Bluetooth connectivity. The only option fitted to our test car was two-tone matt paint, which took the total price to £13,495.

The Ypsilon's exterior styling still looks relatively fresh, but the cabin has fallen far behind class leaders. There are far too many cheap-feeling plastic surfaces inside, and while the centralised instrument cluster may allow Chrylser to swap easily between left and right-hand drive it means the driver has to take their eye off the road to check the speedo. 

Other elements are well placed, and the Ypsilon's high gear lever still does it credit. Our car came powered by a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 68bhp and 75lb ft of torque, coupled to a five-speed manual gearbox. It's curently the most powerful petrol option you can buy in the Ypsilon.

What's it like?

Ok, but not great and nowhere near the class best. The Ypsilon's 1.2-litre engine quickly runs out of steam and has to be worked hard to perform. Even above 2000rpm there's always the feeling of not having enough power. It is rather composed, however, and there's only a small amount of noise intrusion into the cabin at motorway speeds.

The car's shift indicator appears to work against drivers, telling you to change down well before you've reached a decent speed and thereby leaving you bogged down in the rev range where there's little power. Chrysler says the car can reach 60mph in 12.9 seconds and has a top speed of 101mph, but in reality it feels too slow.

What we did enjoy was the Ypsilon's steering, which for the most part is quick and accurate. A selectable City mode quickly loosens up the wheel for driving in urban areas, and in these situations the Chrysler feels rather nimble. On the road and in normal mode, it's relatively well-weighted, though with no feedback through the wheel.

We also liked the way the Ypsilon dealt with the sub-urban potholes and road imperfections of rural Bedfordshire. The ride is quite soft, and although there's plenty of body roll the Ypsilon remains quite composed.

For the most part it's also quite a comfortable drive, but while the front seats are supportive and roomy there's little space on the back bench for adults. Best to keep to short journeys if you'll be using the Ypsilon to transport more than two or three adults.

Should I buy one?

Probably not, because the fact is there are better, cheaper rivals out there. If you're convinced enough to try the Chrysler S-series as a daily runabout you'll find it to be a capable companion provided you don't need masses of space. It's a relatively likeable hatch, but we'd wait for the rumoured price cut before considering parting with any cash.

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Chrysler Ypsilon 1.2 S-series

Price £12,795 (£13,495 with options ) 0-60mph 12.9sec Top speed 101mph Economy 55.4mpg combined CO2 118g/km Kerbweight 965kg Engine 1242cc, four-cylinders in-line, petrol Power 68bhp at 5500rpm Torque 75lb ft at 3000rpm Gearbox 5-spd manual

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Martin van Duijn 28 May 2014

But the Ypsilon is doomed...

The weirdest thing about this review is that there is no mention at all about the imminent demise of Lancia/Chrysler in Europe. Fiat recently announced that it will cancel Lancia/Chrysler, and will only offer the Ypsilon in Italy after that. You might expect Autocar to know about this.
Frightmare Bob 27 May 2014

One of the most ridiculous

One of the most ridiculous cars I have seen in a very long time. Why do they have to saddle it with a front-end that looks like it is trying to pretend it is an American hot-rod?
bobbyanderson 27 May 2014

This is one of those cars

This is one of those cars that should've never left the drawing board.