"The Chrysler Ypsilon's high-spec and quirky styling are overshadowed by poor road manners and a cheap interior."
The Chrysler Ypsilon is a five-door hatchback designed to compete with the VW Polo, Fiat 500 and Ford Fiesta. Despite an eye-catching appearance and unique interior styling, it falls short of the competition once behind the wheel and is expensive. Interior materials feel cheap when compared to rivals. The Ypsilon is available with a 900cc twin-cylinder petrol, a 1.2 petrol and an economical 1.3 diesel. The small 900cc petrol is great in town but struggles on open roads, where the Ypsilon's poor handling shows.
The narrow body and small dimensions make the Ypsilon suited to short journeys in and around town. Once out on the open road, however, the little Chrysler is noisy, and with such soft suspension it struggles on twisty back roads, offering very little grip. The 900cc twin-cylinder TwinAir engine is very impressive, offering lots of character and plenty of mid-range grunt for safe overtaking.
Chrysler is keen to mention that the Ypsilon offers new levels of luxury for such a small car but despite the generous headroom and unique styling, the evidence is hard to find. The poor ride and low-quality interior instantly contradict the manufacturer's claim. In top-spec Limited form the Ypsilon is more comfortable, but the high price and poor dynamic ability mean there are plenty of more competent rivals that you should consider.
Based on the popular Fiat Panda platform and using many Fiat 500 parts, the Chrysler Ypsilon should prove to be very reliable. The interior build quality falls short of its Italian cousin, though and despite the imaginative design, dashboard materials feel cheap compared with rivals. Until the Ypsilon is officially tested by Euro NCAP, it's difficult to say how safe it’d be in the event of crash. Worryingly, the Ypsilon does not come with Dynamic Stability Control (VDC) as standard, but is available as an option.
Featuring a slightly larger boot than the Fiat 500, the Ypsilon can carry more luggage, measuring 245 litres compared to 185 litres. All models also come with five doors, making it a more practical people carrier than its retro rival. The Ypsilon cannot compete with the VW Polo for interior space, however.
Value for money
The entry-level Chrysler Ypsilon is priced higher than many strong rivals, including the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta, which will instantly deter many customers. Mid-range SE models get 15-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, an alloy and leather steering wheel, front electric windows and upgraded cloth/velour seat upholstery. Top-of-the-range Limited models feature leather seats and fully automatic climate control. We would recommend selecting the Dynamic Stability Control (VDC), a cost option priced at £325.
The cheapest 900cc TwinAir petrol engine is capable of returning 67mpg and 99g/km of CO2. Road Tax free and exempt from the London Congestion Charge, the smallest-engined Ypsilon makes the most sense for buyers on a budget. Whilst the 1.3-litre diesel M-Jet engine can reach 74mpg and is better suited to motorway driving, the asking price is considerably higher.