New Chrysler Ypsilon The New Supermini with Italian Flair

In Chrysler by Jonathan Humphrey

The new Ypsilon, introduced by Chrysler into the UK supermini sector this month, is a mix of segment-leading style, cutting edge technology, eye-catching design and world-class engines. All this is incorporated in a 3.8m long 5dr vehicle that’s shorter than most of its rivals.

On sale in the UK now, the Ypsilon certainly isn’t a conservative ‘me-too’ entry into the most hotly contested class of cars in Europe. It’s a premium model in a small car’s body; original, full of character and targeting drivers who appreciate quality, elegance and innovation in equal measure. It marks a resurgence for Chrysler Group LLC which was formed in 2009 as a strategic alliance with Fiat.

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Chrysler’s portfolio contains some of Europe’s most recognisable vehicles, including the striking 300C saloon and top-selling Grand Voyager MPV. Now with the help of Fiat’s experience and knowledge in the small and medium-sized car sectors, Chrysler can imbue compact, more environmentally friendly models with the luxurious character traits of its bigger cars.

Chrysler brand director Nigel Land says: “Through the launch of Ypsilon and Delta we now have a range that encompasses both the small and medium passenger car markets with vehicles that are notably well designed, ensuring that they really are credible alternatives to the mainstream. They are equipped with all the features you would expect from a large Chrysler, integrated with stylish European designed interiors.”

As well as bringing the Chrysler name to the supermini segment, the Ypsilon introduces a host of new technologies. For the first time in this class of car, buyers will have access to a raft of large car features such as Magic Parking, xenon headlights, Blue&Me™-TomTom LIVE and the Smart Fuel System.

On top of that, depending on the trim level they choose, buyers will be able to specify automatic climate control, fog lights, 16-inch wheels, cruise control, a leather steering wheel with audio controls, dusk and rain sensors, parking sensors and a 500-watt surround sound music system.

The Chrysler Ypsilon has been designed to compete in the increasingly popular supermini sector. To do so successfully it must appeal to a wide range of buyers, from down-sizers looking for an economical but comfortable small car, to those aiming to move up to a more luxurious model that is still affordable to buy and run. With a five-door body shape that has the appearance of a sporty three door thanks to hidden rear door handles, the Ypsilon combines practicality with good looks.

For added reassurance, it’s also one of the safest cars in its segment, featuring as standard up to six airbags, ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC – standard on Auto, optional on SE and Limited), Anti Slip Regulation (ASR), traction control and Hill Holder.

This is underpinned by a lightweight, super-strong and safe structure that sits on a new specially designed suspension. And beneath the bonnet there’s a range of class-leading engines including the 2011 International Engine of the Year, the TwinAir. With its two distinct ‘characters’, this diminutive 0.9-litre turbo gives drivers the option of a sporting drive or class-leading economy in a lightweight package.

The Ypsilon’s engine range is completed by a zesty 1.2-litre petrol and a potent 1.3-litre turbo diesel, all of which come with Start&Stop as standard, and promise improved refinement combined with reduced emissions and consumption.

To give Ypsilon owners even more choice there will be three trim levels at launch: S, SE and Limited. But there’s a huge choice of options in an almost limitless number of combinations, enabling drivers to give their car the personal touch. There’s are 16 elegant paint combinations of which four are bi-colour; five different upholstery trims, and three types of alloy wheel.

Owners can personalise their cars further at Chrysler UK dealerships where they’ll be able to order special wheels, add stylish piano black interior trim and buy special key fobs to give their car unique appeal.

Combined, all these facets ensure Chrysler Ypsilon owners will easily stand out from the crowd. And they’ll enjoy a comfortable, chic and responsible city runabout that’s wrapped up in cutting edge technology.

The Chrysler Ypsilon might look like a small three door, but it’s actually a five-door, the configuration that makes up 77 per cent of the supermini market in the UK.

At just 384cm long and 167cm wide, the Ypsilon is smaller than many of its supermini rivals. Yet it has one of the largest luggage capacities in its segment and is one of the best in class when it comes to passenger space. It also has class-leading versatility thanks to its five-door hatchback design. And it manages to cloak all this in an exterior that exudes a uniquely elegant style for such a compact car. Setting the windscreen further forward creates the illusion of a larger, sleeker vehicle. It has also allowed the designers to make the luggage capacity larger.

The Chrysler Ypsilon’s height, and therefore its generous head room, is disguised by two sweeping curves. The first takes the line of the bonnet and extends along the waistline, going up into the rear pillar. The second rises with the A pillar to follow the upper arch of the glass. It then drops to follow the outer edge of the tailgate window. It’s a theme the Ypsilon shares with its big brother, the Delta.

The interplay between the concave and convex nature of the sides combines with rear door handles concealed in the C pillar to give this five door the appearance of a more compact 3dr car.

At the front, and unusually for a supermini, powerful, projector-type headlights sit either side of Chrysler’s new shield grille. These give the car a sophisticated appearance and make it seem wider than it actually is. At the rear, LEDs are used to draw minimum power from the battery while creating the maximum impression. The lights have been developed with Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting, and at the front feature integrated Daytime Running Lights (DRL) which automatically turn on when the engine is started. Finally, the rear reversing light and fog light sit below the back bumper, neatly protected from the knocks that go hand in hand with urban motoring.

Inside Ypsilon
The Chrysler Ypsilon was designed to give a large car feel in a small car shape and the interior embraces this philosophy.

The dashboard has a line that traces the curve of the windscreen and ties it into the door panels to give the cabin a feeling of extra width.

The materials don’t just give the illusion of comfort. An all-new roof lining reduces noise inside the passenger compartment by 2 decibels (dB). To demonstrate the significance of that improvement, a reduction of 3dB equates to a 50 percent drop in noise. The rear seats, each with three-point seatbelts, have been designed to be as supportive as a larger car’s. And the front pair use new ‘slim seat’ technology for the first time to increase leg space for rear passengers.

The cabin isn’t just a restful place to be, it’s bright as well. LEDs are used to illuminate the dashboard. And the main instruments sit in a central display above the console housing the entertainment and ventilation systems, to create an inclusive environment for driver and passengers alike.

But it’s the Chrysler Ypsilon’s level of equipment that makes it a benchmark vehicle in its segment. It’s the first supermini to include Magic Parking, Blue&Me™-TomTom LIVE, the Smart Fuel System and innovative headlight clusters.

Magic Parking
Finding a parking place in towns and cities is frequently a patience-testing experience, so the Chrysler Ypsilon can be specified with the innovative Magic Parking system.

Pushing a button on the dashboard activates the system which then uses radar sensors mounted in the front bumpers combined with wheel speed sensors to measure the length of empty parking spaces. If it detects one that is free from obstacles and is the length of the car plus 40cm at either end, the driver is informed by a beeping noise and a message on the dash. If the driver decides to park in it, the car’s computer takes over the steering while the driver retains control of the accelerator and brake and is permitted a speed of just over 4mph. The driver can deactivate the system at any time, either by turning the wheel, changing out of reverse gear or pressing the button on the dashboard.

Blue&Me™-TomTom LIVE
Every Chrysler Ypsilon can be specified with the latest and most versatile version of Fiat’s award-winning Blue&Me™system.

Each car can be equipped with the fitting for Blue&Me™-TomTom LIVE. So even if owners don’t specify it on purchase, they or future owners of their Ypsilon can buy it at a later date.

It’s based on the TomTom Go1000 and features a touch screen that allows occupants to manage phone calls, satellite navigation and all the driver information required. It even allows control of a media player via the cutting edge next-generation touch screen.

It uses TomTom LIVE services which combine accurate traffic information, such as road closures or traffic jams, with dynamic route calculation. Chrysler Ypsilon customers will get a year’s free subscription to LIVE. The removable screen sits in its special holder to the right of the steering wheel.

Other innovations
It’s not just inside that the Chrysler Ypsilon is innovative. It also takes a step ahead of the competition with its Smart Fuel System. This device replaces the classic fuel cap and automatically opens and closes when the pump nozzle is put inside it. It makes refuelling easier and safer by reducing harmful gas emissions and fuel overflow. It also prevents ‘misfuelling’ as it’s impossible to pump petrol into a diesel car (or vice versa) fitted with this system.

Setting itself further apart from rivals, new Ypsilon features a 360° 500-Watt sound system that’s a unique factory fit option in such a small car. It consists of four 40W musical Dome tweeters, four 80W musical Neodymium mid-woofers and a digital eight-channel amplifier.

This then uses three signal processing methods simultaneously to increase the ‘depth’ and ‘height’ of the sound and equalise the stereophonic reproduction to produce a more enveloping experience for listeners.

All this equipment supplements a wide-range of standard kit. There’s a height and reach-adjustable steering wheel, electric front windows, 60/40 (50/50 ‘S’ model) split rear seat and height-adjustable driver’s seat.

The Chrysler Ypsilon benefits from some of the same cutting edge engine technology that has transformed Fiat Group Automobiles into one of the world’s leading makers of environmentally friendly transport.

Three engine options are available, two petrol and one diesel. All come with the Start&Stop system as standard and all are Euro 5 emissions compliant. In the TwinAir model, a semi-automatic five-speed gearbox can be specified. All other models feature a five-speed manual transmission. All engines combine power with economy to ensure the Chrysler Ypsilon isn’t just environmentally responsible and therefore economical to run, it’s effortless to drive too.

1.2-litre Fire
The range starts with the latest evolution of the famous Fire engines family. This 1.2-litre eight-valve unit features continuously variable valve timing which optimises the opening and closing of the valves to ensure the engine still feels peppy while operating at maximum efficiency.

The engine develops a healthy 102Nm of torque at 3000rpm while power at 5500rpm is a respectable 69bhp. And thanks to Start&Stop, overall fuel consumption is reduced by 5 per cent while CO2 emissions are an impressively low 115g/km.

0.9-litre TwinAir
The other petrol engine available in the new Ypsilon is 2011’s International Engine of the Year, the TwinAir. This combines Fiat Powertrain Technologies’ (FPT) revolutionary MultiAir technology with a small capacity two-cylinder engine plus turbocharger.

The results are ground-breaking, giving the 875cc TwinAir more power (85bhp) and torque (145Nm) than the larger capacity 1.2-litre Fire engine. It is also more economical and at 97g/km (for the semi-automatic gearbox version), has the lowest CO2 emissions of any quantity production automotive petrol engine currently on sale.

The bedrock of the TwinAir is the MultiAir technology that underpins it. This system features electro-hydraulic valve management that reduces fuel consumption by controlling the air going into the engine via the inlet valves without using the throttle. It enables airflow to be managed cylinder by cylinder, cycle by cycle, phase by phase, according to the driver’s and therefore the engine’s requirements. By rigorously controlling the combustion process, pumping losses of around 10 per cent are eliminated, while valve control strategies can be optimised to reduce emissions and boost driveability through improved throttle responses.

The TwinAir also features an ECO button on the dashboard. By pressing it, torque is limited to 100Nm at 2000rpm for even greater increases in economy and reductions in emissions.

1.3-litre MultiJet
The third engine in the range is the lively 1.3-litre MultiJet II turbo-diesel with its 95bhp and 200Nm of torque at 1500rpm for effortless low speed cruising. This second generation engine is equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger, a new variable displacement engine oil pump and an alternator with ‘smart charge’.

The engine features faster injectors than the first generation of its kind. Now with eight injections per cycle, it offers greater speed, flexibility and precision in its various phases of operation. By improving the combustion process in this way, operation is quieter while particulate and nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions are lowered.

The injectors are also simpler and with 40 per cent fewer components they’re more reliable than their predecessor, thereby promising cheaper running costs.

Economy isn’t solely enhanced by the capable engine line-up. Chrysler has left no stone unturned in its efforts to make the Ypsilon as economical as possible. As a consequence, it sits on new generation low rolling resistance Goodyear EfficientGrip tyres. These use new materials to make them 10 per cent lighter. This results in 1.9 per cent better fuel economy, which Goodyear estimates could save a driver 30.6 litres of fuel over 12,500 miles. These tyres are also longer lasting and offer greater braking capability.

Every Chrysler Ypsilon is equipped with Start&Stop and a Gear Shift Indicator (GSI). Specifically designed for city driving, Start&Stop is like having an invisible co-pilot who automatically switches off the engine when the vehicle is stationary. But all the systems that guarantee comfort and safety on board, such as the lights, climate control and windscreen wipers, remain operational. When either the system detects that the battery needs some charge, or the driver dips the clutch to engage first gear, the engine fires automatically.

By cutting the engine when it isn’t needed, Start&Stop saves up to 15 per cent in fuel over the urban cycle. The GSI meanwhile helps the driver to change gear at the optimum point for best fuel consumption.

The new Chrysler Ypsilon has been engineered from the ground up to be more cosseting than any car in its class. The secret of its success here lies in the suspension, which is all-new front and rear.

The MacPherson front suspension uses a lower arm made of ultra-high strength material, while a modular cross member is made from low thickness, high strength steel sheets. As well as improving comfort, this helps dissipate impact energy through the car to make the Ypsilon safer. The front suspension also features shock absorbers with split mountings to transmit loads to the body through two different routes to filter out road vibrations better, and improve acoustic performance.

A new anti-roll bar has had its weight reduced and been connected to the shock absorbers to maximise its anti-roll effect. Lastly, new bushes have been designed for the front suspension. These have a lower dynamic stiffening than previously to maximise comfort on bumpy roads and reduce noise. A torsion axle is fitted at the rear. With new bushes, this guarantees greater comfort on bumpy roads and improves noise insulation without affecting road holding.

High strength materials have also been employed in the Chrysler Ypsilon’s body. These improve the car’s energy absorption characteristics in both front and side impacts, but also make it lighter to benefit fuel economy.

Another safety innovation employed on the new Ypsilon is the third load path. In frontal impacts this transfers crash energy to the lower, more resistant parts of the vehicle. It increases the vehicle’s ability to absorb frontal impacts, helps control deformation of the passenger cell, and reduces the chance of intrusion to the passenger compartment.

High performance tempered steel has been used for the front bumper cross member, while the lightweight strong plastic Xenoy has been employed on the rear bumper cross member. The energy absorption material behind the third load path is made of a special highly absorbent plastic. This minimises damage in low speed impacts and reduces the risk of knee damage in pedestrian collisions.

It’s no accident that all these features combine to make the new Chrysler Ypsilon one of the safest cars in its class. It was designed at the Fiat Safety Centre, and information was gathered from all possible types of accident including front, rear and side impacts, roll overs, pile-ups and collisions with pedestrians. The varying speeds at which impacts occur were also accounted for, as well as obstacles the car might collide with, and the physical shape and size of occupants.

Initial testing was carried out by virtual means, involving more than 20,000 hours of mathematical modelling. The results were then confirmed with more than 80 crash tests, 100 tests on a HyGe Sled and about 100 tests on components and sub- systems.

The Ypsilon features a wealth of safety equipment as standard across the entire range. There is VDC vehicle dynamic control (standard on Auto and optional on SE and Limited versions), complete with ASR traction control plus Hill Holder, and ABS anti-lock braking with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD).

Inside, there are up to six airbags (two each on the front, window and side – S versions have four airbags) and front seat belts with double pretensioners and load limiters. There are three-point seat belts across the rear passenger accommodation, (two rear seats on S versions), making this a realistically safe five-seater. Both front and rear seats are fitted with an anti-submarining system to prevent the body from sliding underneath the seatbelt, and the front seats have an anti-whiplash system to reduce the risk of injury in rear end collisions. Finally, ISOFIX attachments, which allow child seats to be securely fitted, are standard.

There is an almost limitless combination of options to enable owners to personalise their Chrysler Ypsilon.

Three basic trim levels are available: S, SE and Limited. Even the entry-level S trim, which is only available with the 1.2-litre engine, is a very well equipped supermini. Standard equipment features height adjustable steering wheel, electric front windows, 50/50 split rear seat, height-adjustable driver’s seat, 15-inch wheels, premium fabric upholstery and heated rear window, radio with CD and MP3 player, plus the full complement of safety kit.

In addition to that, SE specification adds manual climate control, electrically adjustable door mirrors, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear-lever gaiter, and Castiglio upholstery available in either Romantic Gold or Urban Black designs.

Finally, with an eye very firmly on buyers who will be purchasing the new Ypsilon for its high specification, the Limited has rear electric windows, fog lights, 15-inch alloy wheels and leather upholstery.

Should owners want to customise their cars, there’s an extensive range of quality accessories available to complement the new Ypsilon’s bespoke nature. There are 16-inch alloy wheels, side skirts and tinted headlights plus door kick plates with illuminated logo.

To enhance the new Chrysler Ypsilon’s already expressive design further, there’s a stylish range of exterior paint trims, including bi-colour, which allows owners to specify varying bonnet and roof colours to make their car even more eye-catching. A total of 16 colours are available, including four Bi-colour, four Metallic, four Micalised, two Tri-coat and two Pastel.