This is the car that will relaunch Lancia in the UK market – after an absence of 14 years. The new, more upmarket Delta hatchback, unveiled today, is designed to overcome memories of catastrophic rust, reliability and aftersales problems.
The new Delta is based on Fiat Bravo underpinnings stretched to a wheelbase of 2700mm. But unlike the 1990s model, which spawned four-wheel-drive rally specials like the Integrale, this one is more aligned with Lancia’s new luxury position in the marketplace.
It’s powered by a range of turbocharged engines, including 1.4 and 1.8 petrols and 1.6 and 2.0 diesels, mated to a choice of six-speed manual, semi-automatic and full auto transmissions. Power outputs will range from 120bhp to 200bhp in the range-topper. We’ll see the Delta for the first time at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show.
New Lancia Delta: the return to the UK
Lancia hasn’t sold cars in the UK since 1994, and the return will be a low-key affair. To begin with, the cars will be sold from Lancia-branded areas within existing Alfa Romeo and Fiat dealers, selling just a few thousand models a year.
However, once a fuller range is introduced to the UK, sales should swell; although not yet confirmed, Lancia is considering selling a second model, the Ypsilon, over here.
The marketing suits at Lancia are pitching the Delta more upmarket than the last model in the 1990s – and they will face an uphill struggle to convince British buyers who remember the Italian group’s dealer service and rust problems.
Click 'Next' below to read about the Delta's interior
Inside the Delta
Lancia’s designers have given the Delta an airy interior, especially when equipped with the GranLuce panoramic sunroof (pictured). The headlining is claimed to be soundproofed to make the cabin more refined.
The rear bench slides back and forth to juggle the space for luggage and limbs, while the equipment roster includes Bluetooth, MP3 players and a new type of sat-nav.
Is the new Delta actually any good? We’ll find out for sure when we drive the new model this spring. UK sales kick off in summer 2008.