Fiat previews upmarket Golf-rival ahead of Geneva unveiling: on sale in UK in 2009
5 February 2008

The Fiat Group has just released the first official photographs of the car with which it will relaunch the Lancia brand in the UK: this is the new Delta, the new upmarket, Italianate family hatchback headed to a showroom near you in early 2009.This production-ready Lancia Delta will be shown at next month’s Geneva motor show. The Fiat Group is billing it as the cornerstone upon which the new Lancia brand will be built – a classic example of its unique combination of elegant styling with an innovative outlook. More important than that, next year it’ll become the first Lancia officially sold in the UK since the Dedra saloon was phased out in 1994.

Engines, dimensions, mechanicals

Fiat has released only three images of the car ahead of its official Geneva unveiling. They show a car that, at 4.5-metres long, will be slightly longer than a conventional C-segment hatchback and, with a 2700mm wheelbase, will offer the kind of cabin space you’d expect to find in the class above. Rear legroom will also be boosted by the addition of rear seats that slide and recline, while at the rear of the car, a large hatchback will provide access to above average levels of storage space. The Delta shares a platform with the new Fiat Bravo, but the flexibility of that structure has allowed Lancia to make it look very different from the Fiat: only the shared windscreen and front door structure have had an effect on the final look of the car.The Bravo’s chassis has received an upgrade in crash safety for its application under the Delta, which should allow it to qualify for the mooted six star EuroNCAP crash-test regime. It’s thought that the Delta will get a multilink rear suspension system too, as well as Fiat’s new adaptive dampers. Both of these upgrades should also be fitted to the Alfa Romeo 147 replacement, the Delta’s sister car.Both normally-aspirated and turbocharged engines will be available on the Delta. The range is likely to start with Fiat’s 118bhp 1.9-litre MultiJet diesel, and range up to a 220bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol. Six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes will be offered, as well as Fiat’s new dual-clutch robotised manual transmission, Dual Dry Clutch.A revival of the iconic Delta Integrale model is thought to be unlikely at this stage. Fiat Auto sees Alfa Romeo as its sporting brand and is pitching Lancia as a more sophisticated and urbane brand with an emphasis on interior ambience and space.

Inside Lancia’s new hope

Designed at the Lancia Centro Stile, the new Delta is styled to pick up on the brand’s modern cues, but also move them forward into the 21st century. A full length sunroof will bathe the car’s cabin in light. Inside it you’ll find more upmarket materials than you’d find in a Fiat, as well as stylish colour combinations, unbeatable travelling comfort and refinement, and high levels of equipment including a Bose hifi, the latest Bluetooth wireless integration systems and Magneti Marelli satellite navigation.

Reviving Italy’s sleeping giant

Fiat bosses are hoping the Delta will help revive Lancia from a state of neglect. Currently the brand is languishing at the bottom of the European premier league of car-makers, having built just 118,000 cars over four model lines during 2007.The company wants to sell around 80,000 Deltas each year; production that will immediately bolster the firm’s bottom line, as the company currently doesn’t have a model in this all-important market segment. However, sources say the break-even point for the Delta is just 45,000 units per year. There’s no news on pricing yet, but Delta’s probably won’t come cheap, either; entry models will be priced close to £14,000.

Hilton Holloway and Matt Saunders

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Comments
9

5 February 2008

220bhp petrol? If its the same one that powered my old Fiat Coupe 20V Turbo then I'm joining the Lancia queue today!

5 February 2008

Of all the Italian manufacturers, the Lancia brand have a design that to me does not set the heart racing.

Having travelled extensively round mainland Europe, the brand is not often seen, but when one does appear they are grotesque in appearance.

This one however, looks a bit better. My only concern is to the long term viability of the brand in the UK. The reason they were withdrawn from the UK in the first place was they could not justify the small sales of both Lancia and Alfa Romeo brands. Alfa is only just finding it's feet again, and sales are not flooding out of the showrooms.

I wish Lancia luck, but I fear it will be short lived.

6 February 2008

I find Lancia designs refreshing and trying to push the boundaries with a certain style. It's not going to be to everyone's taste, but see where Renault have got with the Megane (A varient I drive). Lancia could be successful, or it could be a painful experience. At least the Fiat group are now in profit again and should be able to afford the inevitable losses for a few years.

"They show a car that, at 4.5-metres long, will be slightly longer than a conventional C-segment hatchback and, with a 2700mm wheelbase, will offer the kind of cabin space you’d expect to find in the class above."

Strangly, my Megane Sport Tourer is also 4.5m long, but with a 14mm shorter wheelbase. I'd like to know figures for width and interior luggage space. The Lancia could get onto a list of prospective replacements - although for me the Renault 1.5 dCi is a perfect blend of performance and economy that the Lancia would need the 1.6 MJTD to compete.

6 February 2008

[quote Jon Hardcastle]

This one however, looks a bit better. My only concern is to the long term viability of the brand in the UK. The reason they were withdrawn from the UK in the first place was they could not justify the small sales of both Lancia and Alfa Romeo brands. Alfa is only just finding it's feet again, and sales are not flooding out of the showrooms.

I wish Lancia luck, but I fear it will be short lived.

[/quote]

I agree Jon. I like the look of the new Delta and to my eyes it shows the Italians still put style over function, even if the new car looks a bit MPVish (read Golf Plus!). Whatever it looks like, watch this car fail in the UK.

Bar Ferrari or Lambo, anything Italian that is bigger than a Punto normally fails in the UK. In the last 20yrs or so how many Focus, Mondeo, 5-Series class cars have you seen from Italy compared to their rivals. Exactly. I've seen more Kia C'eeds than Fiat Bravos and as for the Alfa 159 which has been around for 3yrs, it's not exactly flying out of showrooms while i've seen more Rolls Phantoms in the last 2yrs than i have Alfa 166s!

Italian cars that aren't supermini-sized or smaller are viewed with sceptism in the UK, and much of that is down to the woeful reliability of the dark old days and resale values. The fact that many rivals were/are so much better, especially dynamically, doesn't help. Look at the Bravo - a year old and bettered by almost every rival.

7 February 2008

"The fact that many rivals were/are so much better, especially dynamically, doesn't help. Look at the Bravo - a year old and bettered by almost every rival."

That's not really true. The Focus is seen as dynamically flawed by the Italians. The on-the- limit tail-happiness so loved by the British journalists is seen as highly undesireble handling trait in a family hatch over here. Outside the UK the ageing 147 and the 159 are seen as top of their class for handling (the 147 is the only car in its class with double wishbone front suspension compared to its rivals cheaper macpherson set-up) There's absolutely nothing wrong with the Bravo's handling either. Even the UK magazines which have said it's quite good- so it must be very good. The Bravo's handling, looks, interior, safety and engines are practically unbeatable at the price in my opinion.

7 February 2008

I have to agree with Montgomery on this, my 159 is a lovely handling car (if a little heavy), which is being looked at for the mid life face lift.

The latest Bravo is to my mind the best car in the class overall. Handling is not the bee all and end all.

TUK

8 February 2008

Being a Lancia fan, I'm keen to see the return of the Delta and will be going to the Geneva motorshow to get a close look. Like previous posts, I am struggling to see how the British mindset can be changed enough for buyers to start seeing this car as a viable alternative to the German marques, top 10 fodder like the Focus and Astra, and the new breed of Korean cars.

Is a stylish long wheelbase Bravo enough? Lancia needs a spectacular launch for this car or at least pitch the car initially with some very attractive pricing or manufacturer backed servicing and owner support. Fiat managed to whip up hysteria around the 500, and Lancia needs something similar. How about Carla Bruni in a Delta ... she already does commercials for the new Musa and her new social status as Sarkozy's wife will get her even more in the press :) ... However I fear they will take a discrete low key approach, and maybe the car will disappear from our shores just like the Dedra did. I had three of those, so I guess I'll probably end up with a Delta at some point :)

8 February 2008

Okay, I will probably get drubbed for this one, but it looks like a slightly more stylised Seat Altea to me!

Having Lancia back will make for a more interesting carscape, but I'm not sure the UK market can sustain another "premium" brand.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

11 April 2008

Greetings Car Buffs

As a Fan of Lancia since My Dad got a New Beta Coupe I am gladdened to see the return of LANCIA to these native shores and I shall hope to be one of the first people to drive this NEW and EXCITING Model when it finally lands in the Dealerships Next year,

Now for those who claim to know about LANCIA its been going for a 100 years and in its time it has always at the forfront of technology and cutting edge design now the new DELTA might not be everyones cup of tea but hey wont it stand out in the Car Park and get noticed why not stand up and be different.

Also I hope LANCIA do take the Delta Rallying and win another bucket load of WRC and show everyone how its done as its predeercessor the fabled INTEGRALE did and lets be honest the INTEGRALE was no stunner either in looks but it has since gone down in Rally folk law as a Legend

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