Lancia returns to the UK as Chrysler
Monday 20 December 2010
Fiat is to rejuvenate the Chrysler brand, and bring two new models to the UK in 2011 – the Delta hatchback and Ypsilon supermini.
It has also announced its model line-up for Jeep – which is 70 next year – with revised or all-new versions of its iconic Jeep Wrangler, hatchback-sized Jeep Patriot, Freelander-rival Jeep Compass and luxurious Jeep Grand Cherokee making the cut.
Chrysler’s hatchback is a re-branded Lancia Delta, which will go head-to-head with the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. Its dramatic styling and small initial sales volumes will give it road presence, while its engines will offer up to 62mpg.
With a sliding rear seat it can offer excellent rear legroom, or a bigger boot, depending on occupants’ needs. Advanced 1.4-litre petrol, 1.6-litre diesel and 2-litre diesel engines should give it competitive performance.
This supermini is also badged as a Lancia in Europe, but will be called the Chrysler Ypsilon in the UK. Not unveiled until the Geneva Motor Show in March, the MINI rival will offer extensive personalisation options and a leather interior. Most Ypsilons will return more than 60mpg and emit less than 100g/km of CO2.
Jeep fans will get a facelifted Wrangler in January, with an all-new interior look and feel. A new 2.8-litre diesel cuts emissions to a more wallet-friendly 187g/km of CO2, helped by stop and start on manual versions. It will be available with three doors or five, and a petrol engine by special order. There will also be a 70th anniversary model with special features.
The Jeep Patriot also gets a facelift and arrives in January, with most changes to its nose and a new 2-litre petrol engine which will be introduced in June – replacing the 2.4-litre. Most buyers will choose the 2.2-litre CRD diesel, however, with 136 or 163bhp.
The Compass has a completely new look and initial versions will arrive in June, to rival the Ford Kuga and Volkswagen Tiguan. It will have the same engines as the Patriot, but the 2.4-litre petrol will also still be available with a CVT automatic gearbox. It too will be available as a 70th anniversary special edition.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Arriving in May, the all-new Grand Cherokee has a design focused around the trademark seven-slot grille and trapezoidal wheelarches made famous by the original Jeep. Its body is 146 per cent stiffer than the previous model and it features fully-independent front and rear suspension, with some trim levels benefiting from air suspension and a terrain selection knob, which optimises the car’s settings for different conditions. It gets a 3-litre V6 diesel with 224bhp and 398lb/ft of pulling power, and is able to tow trailers weighing up to 3,500kg.
By Andy Goodwin, senior web journalist