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Chrysler Delta Hatchback engines, drive and performance

2011 - 2013 (change model)
Performance rating: 2.5 out of 52.5

Written by Simon McBride Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 10 October 2023

Three engines are available: a 1.4-litre petrol unit offering either 120bhp or 140bhp outputs, a 1.6-litre 120bhp diesel and a 2.0-litre 165bhp diesel. The engines have been borrowed from Fiat and perform reasonably well when packaged under the bonnet of the Delta. The 120bhp 1.4-litre will get from 0-62mph in 9.8s and has a top speed of 121mph, while the more powerful 140bhp variant will complete the benchmark sprint in 9.2s with a top speed of 126mph.

The 120bhp 1.6-litre diesel, with an automatic or manual gearbox, can get from 0-62mph in 10.7s and has a top speed of 120mph while the 165bhp 2.0-litre engine, with a six-speed manual gearbox, is capable of hitting the 62mph mark in 8.5s with a top speed of 133mph. There is enough low-down power to propel you past slower traffic and it gives you the benefit of decent fuel economy.

The Delta is fitted with Drive Steering Torque (DST) which is a safety system that corrects the steering when the technology thinks the car has oversteered out of control. This function works over surfaces with different levels of grip and its automatic counter-steering is designed to prevent the vehicle from spinning and reduces the braking distance by 10%.

This science is all very well but the problem with the electric powered steering is that there is very little feeling of being connected to the car and feedback through the steering is minimal. A shame really as Chrysler’s predecessor, the legendary Lancia Delta of the 80s and 90s, was famed for its driver appeal and its sporty nature. Quite frankly, it doesn’t have the level of involvement that you get from driving a Ford Focus.

It’s more like a Fiat Bravo, unsurprisingly, the car with which the Delta shares its platform. It’s not terrible, but it’s not class-leading.