DETROIT--Since Chrysler was absorbed by Fiat's global car empire, we've been waiting impatiently to see what direction the now Italian-owned company's cars would take. Our first clue came at the 2010 Detroit auto show, in the form of a new Chrysler model lacking a name or any publicity, but sporting a suspicious-looking grille.
This Chrysler is a Lancia Delta in disguise, a car sold in Europe as a mammoth family wagon, but appearing more compact in the U.S. Actually, we like the form factor of this Chrysler Delta, with its stylish curving lines framing practical interior space, where four adults can sit comfortably.
As sold in Europe, the Delta maxes out with a 2-liter diesel. If that engine can't comply with U.S. regulations, the next biggest gasoline engine is a turbocharged 1.8-liter, which might feel a little underpowered for U.S. sensibilities.
More interesting is the fact that the Lancia comes with Blue & Me, a Microsoft-developed technology that connects to MP3 players and mobile phones. Yes, it's the Fiat version of Ford's Sync. If Chrysler goes forward with the Lancia and sells it in the U.S., it would get a significant cabin tech boost.