IF you want a car that is going to attract plenty of attention then look no further than the Chrysler Delta as I discovered when sipping a cappuccino coffee in my favourite Italian restaurant and watched the world go by past my test car parked outside, writes Bryan Longworth.
For it was amazing just how many people stopped to see what make it was and it even caught out my Italian waiter who confidently but wrongly identified it as a Lancia Delta.
In fact Alfredo who had seen similar cars in Italy was almost right because in fact the Chrysler is very closely related to the Lancia Delta for it is virtually the same car with Chrysler badging and of course the steering wheel is on the right hand side.
The Chrysler Delta has come about after Chrysler became part of the Fiat empire and the company decided to re-brand it after the American company and sell it through Chrysler dealers in the UK which has been easier and less costly than re-creating another Lancia UK dealership network several years after the original network closed down when Lancia pulled out of the UK.
The Italian link can clearly be seen in the engine bay with Fiat’s name on the engine and the Fiat/Alfa/Lancia names can be seen on top of the battery.
The Delta has very distinctive styling especially up front and at the rear which is quite different from other cars in this class and this was the main reason why it attracted so much attention and most people could not identify it.
Inside the Delta is also roomy with user friendly instruments and controls and a natty rear seat that slides backwards and forwards and reclines for passengers to select a tailor made seating position.
My test car was the Delta 1.4 MultiAir SE costing £18,495 with the 1.4-litre petrol engine which provides the car with a top speed of 126mph, a zero to 62mph time of 9.2 seconds, CO2 emissions of 132g/km and a combined fuel consumption of 49.6mpg.
When I first started driving the Delta I was not over impressed but the longer I drove it the more I liked it especially the steering and handling and the six speed manual gearbox.
Inside the Delta has easy to see instruments especially the speedometer with a good driving position the only niggle being the location of the seatbelt housing which was a bit of a squeeze below the left of the seat - this a common problem with many cars
There is a reasonably sized rear boot although there is quite a high lip for loading and there was no spare wheel with a puncture kit underneath instead.
The Chrysler Delta has plenty of showroom attraction and I can see it appealing to those motorists who want something that looks different from rivals in this market sector which should be enough for the number of cars Chrysler are bringing to the UK.
My Verdict: An interesting American-Italian project.