From £10,695
Despite the lack of a prominent brand name, the Chrysler Ypsilon is a compact, well-equipped, economical and cute hatchback

Our Verdict

Chrysler Ypsilon

The Chrysler Ypsilon is a compact, economical five-door hatchback with cute looks and lots of equipment

Steve Cropley Autocar
27 September 2011

What is it?

It’s the smallest of those Italian-built Lancias, uniquely badged as a Chrysler Ypsilon for the UK because Fiat would rather not confuse us by re-launching Lancia here having killed it years ago.

More to the point, it’s an ultra-compact five-door supermini, only 3.8 metres long but quite tall so it’s surprisingly credible as a five-seater. The underbits are closely related to the Fiat 500 and Ford Ka, but it it sits on the longer wheelbase (2390mm) of the all-new Fiat Panda, shown at Frankfurt recently and due for launch in Europe early next year. Chrysler’s TV ads stress space (for its size) and luxury, both of which the Ypsilon delivers in exchange for solid prices.

Our test car, ritziest of three trim levels, had a base price of £15,495 that was boosted to £17,795 by two-tone paint, 16-inch alloys, ESP, a sunroof, cruise control and rain sensing wipers. You don’t have to pay all this money, of course. Go for the spartan 1.2 litre, 68 bhp S-model (£10,695) and you get the useful cabin package, albeit with no aircon or alloys. The mid-spec SE, which has both, starts just under £12k.

What's it like?

It’s a useful, likeable little car. Once you get used to riding fairly high, and to the (attractive) central instrument cluster, it’s a relatively soft-riding little machine with lighter steering than most and a light-to-use if slightly rubbery five-speed gearchange. It’s a quite different experience from what has become the Ford-VW norm among small cars; the body isn’t so well controlled but the car copes better and more quietly than most of its peers with suburban potholes. Noise levels are also fairly low at top-end motorway cruising speeds, which makes the Ypsilon much more than a mere city car.

The engine is the familiar GM-sourced 1.3 turbodiesel currently offered in Panda, 500, Corsa and Meriva among others. In all of these applications – and Ypsilon – it is a little light on bottom-end torque but has a surprising turn of pace to the top end provided you remember to you push the long-travel accelerator far enough. A 114mph top speed with an 11.0 second 0-60mph sprint is okay for a car of this duty and character, especially when you match it with 74.3mpg combined and a CO2 output of just 99g/km.

The cabin is impressively comfortable, and has especially great-looking leather bucket seats. The only jarring note are some slightly flimsy-looking hard plastics. Exterior styling, like that of Ypsilon’s big brother Delta, which is being launched at the same time, is pleasantly distinctive. And very Italian. Little Lancias apparently sell well to stylish Italian women; Chrysler UK seems safe in hoping for annual sales between 4000 and 4500 units. In particular, the designers have been successful at giving the car a coupe-like look, neatly disguising its generously proportioned second door. The car is quite roomy in front, but the rear compartment is better at housing smaller adults (and two of them rather than three) than six-footers.

Should I buy one?

Depends, as with the Delta, how you view the new prominence of the Chrysler name. If you’re the sort who buys brands, this car may not do it for you, though the UK company is battling hard to give its brand some new impact. However, if you’re seeking a very compact, very economical five-door with cute looks and lots of equipment, the Ypsilon looks a decent choice, at least until the next Fiat Panda comes along.

Chrysler Ypsilon 1.3 Multijet Limited

Price: £15,495; Top speed: 114mph; 0-60 mph: 11.0sec; Economy: 74.3mpg (combined); CO2: 99g/km; Kerb weight: 965kg; Engine: 4cyl turbodiesel, 1248cc; Power: 94bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 107lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox: 5-speed manual

Join the debate


29 September 2011

Looks a very pleasing little car with one of the best small car interiors I've seen for a while. If they can overcome the Fiat build quality/reliability stigma it should do well. Would rather see the prestige of a Lancia badge as it seems would most readers.

29 September 2011

Certainly looks different, think I prefer the look of the Delta's better proportions but maybe that's just down to the two-tone paintwork. The interior looks very plush in the pictures and I like the fact that they've put the instruments up high on the dash. I'll be interested to see one in the metal. Chrysler are certainly going to have a different looking range of cars on offer and that's a good thing in my view - never thought I'd say this about an American car manufacturer (even though the cars are made in Italy !) - but I wish them luck and hope they succeed, we need a few more different looking cars on the road.

Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

29 September 2011

This car comes across the same as the Delta, different from the norm but still very pleasant.

The main difference with this car though is that it is small and the styling is arguably more successful than it's bigger brother, which should ensure better sales.

Marketed correctly though, this could be the car that people who have "grown out" of the Fiat 500, could grow in to.



It's all about the twisties........

29 September 2011

[quote ordinary bloke]I like the fact that they've put the instruments up high on the dash[/quote]

Especially the Lancia logo in the lcd display....

29 September 2011

I love it! it looks great, even without the lancia badges.

As a previous Y10 owner, the small lancias have always been marketed above more mainstream rivals. My little 1 litre 45bhp FIRE model was bottom of the range but still had alcantara interior, and electric windows - something nothing else had in 1987!

I would consider the real rival to this being the new A1...does anyone agree?

29 September 2011

Gm sourced engine!!?! What is he talking about???? F

29 September 2011

[quote Tatraman]Would rather see the prestige of a Lancia badge as it seems would most readers.[/quote] Lancia was perhaps absent from UK too long, as it has no prestige, whatsoever where it is still sold. I sat in a Lancia Thesis taxi a few months ago - it had all the warning lights on the dashboard, rattled like a box full of LEGO bricks, and the drive belt made an awful noise. Asked the driver who said that he struggles to keep the car in shape, and was nostalgic about his "well-built and reliable" MKII Mondeo. I think the next recession in Europe may well sink Lancia alltogether...

29 September 2011

[quote il sole]As a previous Y10 owner, the small lancias have always been marketed above more mainstream rivals[/quote]

I'm also a former Y10 owner (bought mine new in '86) - and I loved it. So much more individual than its rivals, and vastly better equipped for the money.

I'm also tempted by the Ypsilon. At last, a stylish, individual supermini that's tuned more towards soaking up potholes and being comfortable than offering kart-like handling. (I must be getting old...)

29 September 2011

This is an interesting car, and the size would suit me fine. Looks to have pretty poor rear three-quarter vision, though, which is far from ideal in a city car. Does anyone know if they're planning a three door version, as five door only would rule it out for me?

29 September 2011

[quote il sole]

As a previous Y10 owner, the small lancias have always been marketed above more mainstream rivals. My little 1 litre 45bhp FIRE model was bottom of the range but still had alcantara interior, and electric windows - something nothing else had in 1987!


Yet another ex Y10 owner here. Its was my first new car back in 1988. However back then not only did you get a nice interior, it was no more expensive than a base Fiesta or Metro, but had a much better engine and had loads more kit.

This new Ypsilon looks very expensive, something Chryslers havent typically been either.

I just looked up the Y10 on 'How many left'. Seems there are less than 80 in the UK and less than half of those are in use. I knew it was a while since i had seen one


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