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Chrysler Delta

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Chrysler Delta
5/10

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Road Test

Chrysler Delta driven

Driven September 2011

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The Delta is new territory for Chrysler. Up to now, if you told your mate you'd bought a Chrysler they'd know that you'd gone for a large slice of Americana. Or a people carrier.

Not so with the Delta. This is a Ford Focus rival, a family hatchback in the fiercest class around. So it had better be good to steal sales away from the likes of the Focus or the VW Golf - strong brands, even stronger engineering.

Quick verdict for you. It's not as good as those cars. But before you click on, don't totally dismiss the Delta. If you get made to take one of these cars as your next company set of wheels, this is not the end of the world.

There's a decent range of engines - all Fiat units, as the Italians now own Chrysler. The 1.4 MultiAir petrol is smooth and quick, but if you do any sort of mileage you'll want the 1.6-litre 119bhp diesel, with 60.1mpg and 122g/km. It's refined, smooth and revs easily for a diesel, plus sixth gear is seriously long so motorways are relaxing. The downside to this is that it's such a leggy top gear that the Delta drops out of the power band on back roads, so you'll need to keep changing down.

The ride isn't suited to our B roads either. The tyres thump and crash over bumps too much, which is a pity, and weird, because the Delta has a nice, comfortable roll through corners. It's not as precise as a Focus, but there's plenty of grip and it pitches in well.

Inside, it mostly feels well screwed together. The dash has got plenty of soft-touch plastics on it and the centre binnacle is smart. There are some cheap plastics on show, especially around the window switches, but overall it's a pretty decent place to sit.

So there you go. Not a disaster, but not brilliant either. Chrysler will need to work harder to get people out of their Focii, but there's no disgrace in buying a Delta.

Piers Ward

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