Lancia started delivering the first examples of its MultiAir-powered Delta model to European clients last month, which is good news for Chrysler fans: that car is slated to come to the US next year, as the Chrysler Delta.
What can we expect from (what is sure to be) Chrysler’s most fuel-efficient offering for 2011? Find out, after the break.
Fiat’s MultAir engine is technologically marvelous enough to have been named “Best New Engine of the Year” by a panel of 65 specialist journalists from 32 countries, with at least one journalist suggesting that Fiat could “start printing money” by licensing the idea to other car-makers. The 1.4 L version of the MultiAir employed by the new Delta seems to live up to the (considerable) hype, delivering a relatively peppy 140 hp and 40+ mpg performance (5.7 L/100 km), along with the dynamic qualities which have earned Deltas past a dedicated cult following among car enthusiasts. Combined with the MultiAir’s stop-start technology, fuel efficiency in stop-and-go traffic should rival the best diesel and mild-hybrid options currently available to US buyers …
… which means: if Chrysler dealers can hang on long enough, they’ll have a stylish, comfortable, and thoroughly modern offering to compete with the Prius and Fusion hybrids being sold across town.
The only thing potentially standing in the way of the new Delta’s success in the US will be the styling of Chrysler’s version. According to AllPar (a forum full of hardcore Chrysler fanatics) the best-case scenario is the “light-touch Americanization” shown here:
In the worst case, AllPar’s experienced photo’choppers envision a very pedestrian sedan version, as seen here:
Safe, conventional, and boring. Not exactly a recipe for thrills, but no worse than a Camry or Accord… and they won’t drive like the Delta (unless Chrysler screws that up, too, somehow).
Here’s hoping, then, that the MultiAir Delta gets here with its soul intact. If it does, I’ll be first in line. Really.
PHOTO SOURCE: Fiat Group S.p.A., AllPar.