Why should I care about Lancia – or its revised Musa?
Because Lancia is returning to the UK in autumn 2008 after what will be a 14-year absence. You might care a little less about the Fiat Idea-derived supermini-MPV Musa shown at Frankfurt – as it’s only a revised model and this version won’t be making its way to these shores. But a new version of the iconic rally-bred Delta definitely will.
Now I’m interested. What and when?
The new Delta HPE (standing for High Performance Estate) finally gets launched in continental Europe next May, with right-hand drive versions due in the UK by October. The car is loosely based on sister brand Fiat’s Bravo floor pan but is bigger – it has similar proportions to an Astra estate (4.5m long, 1.8m wide and 1.5m high) – and will be the beachhead model to re-establish Lancia in the UK.
What will it look like?
The production car should stay pretty true to the Delta HPE concept shown at Paris 2006 with its large, sporty five-door hatchback profile and Volvo C30-esque smoked glass rear window. With a long 2.7m wheelbase interior space should be superb and kitted out in a more luxurious way than workaday Fiats, with five flexible seats that split-fold and recline in the back.
Is Lancia coming back to the UK with only one car though?
Initially yes, but other right-hand drive Lancias will follow. Expect the new Ypsilon – essentially a luxury supermini – to arrive soon after with other models after that. Lancia says it is only seeking small ‘incremental sales’ for the UK, which will be handled exclusively by sister brand Alfa Romeo’s newly-appointed, higher standard UK dealers. Expect prices to start at the top end of the Fiat Bravo range – so £15,000 and upwards.