What is it? The Delta is Chrysler's new VW Golf rival. In other parts of Europe the same car is sold as a Lancia, but parent company Fiat has decided to launch the Delta over here as a Chrysler.
What's it like to drive? Our test car had the Delta's most powerful petrol engine – a 138bhp turbocharged 1.4.
It pulls strongly once spinning above 2000rpm, and stays impressively smooth and quiet even when pushed.
Refinement is strong in other areas, too, because not much road or suspension noise finds its way into the cabin. The ride is neither as supple nor as well controlled as a VW Golf's, but it soaks up big bumps well enough. The suspension starts to struggle only on badly damaged surfaces.
Don't expect much in the way of fun, though. The Chrysler's steering is slow-witted, vague, and kicks back heavily during hard cornering. Body control is also poor, and you can feel the whole car getting upset when you ask it to change direction quickly. The gearchange isn't all that precise, either.
What's it like inside? The Delta is certainly more practical than most cars in its class. At 4.5 metres long it's bigger than both a Golf and a Ford Focus, so the designers have had plenty of space to play with.
They've used it cleverly, too, because the rear seats slide and recline, so you can opt for masses of rear legroom or maximum boot space.
In its biggest form the boot offers a whopping 465 litres of room, which is a lot more than you get in a Golf or a Focus. The loadbay is narrow, though, and there's a big lip, which makes it tricky to lift heavy items into it. As in most hatchbacks you can flip the rear seats forward for extra space, but they don't fold flush with the floor.
Interior quality is disappointing, too. There are too many hard and scratchy plastics around the cabin, and most of the dials and switches feel cheap and flimsy.
The face of the dashboard has a soft and rubbery feel, but even that doesn't feel especially premium. The indicator and wiper stalks do have a reassuringly heavy and solid action, though.
Should I buy one? Buying a Delta means you'll be overlooking some far better small hatchbacks. Top of that list is the VW Golf, closely followed by the Ford Focus. If you fancy something a bit out of the ordinary, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta also has more going for it than the Chrysler.
That said, the new Delta isn't without appeal. It's one of the most spacious cars in its class, for starters, and isn't bad value when you consider the five years' of free servicing thrown in with the price, and the attractive 0% APR finance deal currently being offered by Chrysler dealers.
The fuel economy and CO2 emissions of the version we're testing here are also impressive at 49.6 mpg and 132g/km respectively.
What Car? says…
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