Re: READER REVIEW: 2002 Lancia Thesis 3.0 V6
I´ve mentioned the features but I haven´t described how they all work together. It´s no use loading a car with toys if they are not well assembled or made of the best materials. Are they? The Lancia´s interior uses leather, metal, wood and the finest plastic. And they are handled well. The interior is well sculpted and classic without being too retro. The wood strip gracing the dashboard and doors is thick and very evidently real tree. It´s the kind of substantial slab of wood not seen since the solid door cappings on 1970s Ford Granada Ghias. All this adds up to lashings of comfort, warmth and quality. It is an effect very, very different from the cold, hardness achieved by Mercedes and Lexus. Even a Jaguar XJ seems a bit glacial in comparison while the similarly priced S-type is embarrassingly Crown Victoria.
The driver´s seat – handstitched parchment hide- is beautifully supportive without being too firm. The Thesis passes the door slam test, by a factor of five. Pulling the door shut required a well-judged degree of effort, just enough to make you notice the heft. When the door clunked home it felt as if each element of the closure was machined to a fine tolerance. It made me think of a Mercedes 300 SEL 6.3, in fact. In front of the driver is a classically styled instrument pack. The lettering is redolent of the labelling on a bottle of fine Italian wine and indeed it´s all in Italian. Rather surprisingly, there is an analogue gauge to display fuel consumption, scaled from 6 liters per 100 km to 20 liters per 100 kilometres. It isn´t more readable or effective than a digital LCD display but it is incredibly amusing as it sweeps from left to right like a deranged pendulum.
The rear of the car is a similarly fine place to reside. The legroom is plentiful, more than enough to sprawl out during a long trip from Rome to Cap Ferrat. The centre console features the display and buttons for the climate control so while the driver might require 17 degrees, passengers can opt for more or fewer independently. The stereo system can be operated by a remote control unit. Each of the finely trimmed doors has an ashtray of pretty respectable size and the door cards are unusually handsome, made of precisely the same high quality materials as those at the front.
In short, whether you´re up front twirling the steering wheel or being cossetted in the back, the Thesis is a terribly agreeable place to find oneself.
We´re 1200 words into this review at which point it really does become very necessary to start revealing what the Thesis is like to drive. Putting it very bluntly, the Thesis is singularly unobtrusive, resembling nothing so much as a really talented butler. I drove the car in a variety of different modes, ranging from tasteless dashing along narrow country lanes at one extreme and, at the other, driving like I had a hung-over primo ministro slumping in the back. Whatever it is asked, the Thesis does what it is told. If you stamp on the accelerator pedal, the vehicle takes a tiny pause and then leaps forward. Very little vibration is felt and little noise heard. The Skyhook suspension coupled with the sheer weight of the car do a remarkable job at smothering bumps and potholes. The ride is impressively smooth without being floaty. Bad surfaces are simply ignored by the Thesis while changes in direction do not provoke annoying body roll. This is comfort-orientated suspension that respects the needs of handling to a commendable degree. Presumably the benchmark for Lancia was Jaguar not BMW.