1,000 feet above my London with Chrysler

It is not every day that one has to decide which lens to prepare for a ride high above the capital, which aperture to think about and which view below you most want to capture, but for me today was a particularly enjoyable decision to be made. Settling on a wide angle and f16 I knew I would be perfectly fine. I would be happy to see any of John Betjeman’s story below me and try to steal a little of it.

Today, I was to go with the Chrysler UK group and test out the Delta and Ypsilon cars, the new babies of the pack, with an amalgamation between Lancia and the Chrysler group, these two city cars make a fabulous contribution to the ever increasing consideration for carbon emissions a low fuel consumption. The Ypsilon is exempt from the London congestion charge and road tax with CO2 emissions of 99g/km, using 56.5 mpg on the 0.9 twin air version and 44.1 mpg on the 1.2 standard range, whilst the Delta gives a delivery of 44.8mpg on the 1.4 TJet version and 146 C02 (g/km) emissions.


Traffic prevailed and the journey up to the Rickmansworth airfield took a very heavy turn, so the try out of these cars could be thoroughly tested. I drove the Ypsilon at first and decided that this little car has a lot going for it. It has a unique shape and I think, well I know I can guarantee that I have not seen and nor do I think I will any other car to look like this one on the roads of Britain: it has a cheeky lighting design system, and a very cute bottom. The space actually in that ‘bottom’ is rather grand and for this little car with 245 cubic litres of space.

The dashboard, placed in the centre of the window, has a busy visual display, on the whole easy to read and keep track of and tidy with the necessary dials and information gadgetry. Being a new car the gearbox seemed clean and was fabulously easy to manoeuvre through the traffic (and boy was there traffic).

On arrival at the airfield (where, in the afternoon we would be treated to a helicopter ride), I swapped seats for the Delta, a larger car, with a much more robust feel to it. Again its in the ‘city car’ range and very able to get through the suburban traffic. I had imagined Keeping ‘alive our lost Elysium – rural Middlesex again’ as stated in one of Betjeman’s poems, driving around but alas I was on a road test for a car and got myself back into the thoughts of how the car performs and what it can deliver.

My co driver was a terribly serious chap, who had me talking about the performance, the equivalent cars to compare this to and the nitty gritty of the car, but I however, really just enjoyed the ride and thought about who might purchase this car: It certainly works for a small family car and for those journeys to work where you want to ensure of your low emissions and visit the petrol station less. It fits in a terrific amount of shopping and has a great feel about it. The dash board for me works being right in front of the steering wheel, right in front of your eyes, so you do not have to look elsewhere whilst driving. And the speedo and rev counters are large dials, very easy to see. The ‘gadgetry’ box where oil, petrol, heating etc, are shown was concise and no space is wasted.


When we head for the helicopter, I fell happy that I have driven some cars where the manufacturer has really thought about their use, the city. Oh yes, the helicopter!What a joy to hover above the capital, seeing the 1930’s conurbation, looking at the gigantic stadium and ‘Westfield; shopping centre. Realising that the Shard’, Canary Wharf, and the O2 are although bigger than the minute St Pauls Cathedral, and that Chrystal palace is not too distant from London after all. That the fabulous Roman streets leading to and from the capital are so well positioned I wonder why and rather how the other streets could have been formed at all.

The view from the sky was so immense for me that when I turned round to look at my fellow passengers to find a mutual acknowledgement from them, they had fixed expressions of amazement and found it almost impossible to move their mouths to speak. We all looked in awe at the vista beneath us; it was utterly incredible.

A helicopter ride might have blown our car testing experience all out of proportion, but it was all there, beneath us, the roads that these cars would be intricate routing systems, some Roman and some 1960’s (hideous) civil engineering. Harrow, Highgate, Hammersmith, all with roads consisting of traffic light after traffic light, jam after jam. These two cars new in the Chrysler range have realised their position in the layout of London and I think will fit in rather well indeed.


The sun shining with the great urban sprawl beneath us. This is MY London, the London I grew up in and London I love, even with its horrendous traffic jams, difficult town planning and ridiculous parking laws. This is the London I adore and I applaud car manufacturers, who actually think about the ‘mess’ they are trying to drive within, The Delta and Ypsilon from Chrysler are certainly fitting right in place. they have done their market research and know that these two little cars will do their job brilliantly.

The idea of bringing luxury to a small car has worked here, very agile little cars they are indeed and they have kept the idea of maintaining an elegance and reasoning for their invention. Small can be beautiful, Small can be luxury. Chrysler have worked well to collaborate with Lancia on their Delta and Ypsilon ranges.

As seen in Girl Racer