Chrysler is launching the new Chrysler Ypsilon. You hadn’t heard? That’s not surprising because it won’t be sold here in the U.S., not at least anytime soon. The Chrysler Ypsilon (pronounced like epsilon) is a rebadged and re-grilled edition of the Lancia Ypsilon going on the market in the UK now.
The Chrysler Ypsilon joins the Chrysler Delta that crossed the English Channel in June as another Lancia pressed into service as a Chrysler. The Delta and Ypsilon stand out from the Fiat/Chrysler concept of selling equivalent models in the U.S. as Chryslers and in Europe as Lancias. Several years back, Lancia withdrew from the Brit market in shame, and with the name sullied, the decision was to give Chrysler a shot.
It’s a change for Chrysler, which had been positioned as a brand featuring large American cars, particularly the Chrysler 300C and the Chrysler Grand Voyager (“caravan” means “camping trailer” in Britspeak). The Lancia Delta, however, is about the size of a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf, and with a Chrysler grille was on display at the 2010 Detroit auto show as a “design study.” As it’s being sold in the UK, it’s trimmed out like a Chrysler should be, that’s to say, as a luxury car.
If the Chrysler Delta is a change, the Chrysler Ypsilon is revolutionary. The Ypsilon is built on the same platform as the Fiat 500, though stretched enough to make it a five-door hatch. In UK form, it will be powered by a choice of a “zesty” 69-horsepower 1.2-liter “Fire” four-cylinder engine, a 1.3-liter Multijet II turbodiesel making 95 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, or the 2011 International Engine of the Year, the Fiat Twin-Air 0.9-liter twin-cylinder engine.
That’s right, a Chrysler powered by a two-cylinder engine. With turbocharging and Fiat’s MultiAir electro-hydraulic valve management technology, however, the 875cc engine is rated at 85 horsepower and it easily out-torques the 1.2-liter four at 107 lb-ft to 75 lb-ft.
The Ypsilon is shorter than most of it supermini competitors, but the high roofline is said to allow a seating configuration capable of handling five passengers. Or at least five passengers of a British mindset. An Ypsilon first for the class will be “Magic Parking”, a self-parking system, and a 500-watt 8-speaker audio system will also be available.
It’s unlikely that the Chrysler Ypsilon will make it to America anytime soon. Americans may be ready for downsized luxury cars, but a two-cylinder Fiat 500-sized Chrysler is probably a Lancia too.