The once-great Lancia aims to make a return to relevance with its first new car in over a decade.
For those who are perhaps old enough to remember a time when smoking in a flight was still allowed, Lancia was actually a brand that most people could recognise. With its record rallying success and a back-catalogue of (what Top Gear proclaimed at least) the most number of great cars from a single automaker, this Italian marque was at one point at least on par with Alfa Romeo and Maserati in terms of brand popularity.
Unfortunately though, the last two decades have not been kind to Lancia. Such is as ever since the scandal with its rusting Beta, the once-great brand has since been steadily reduced to producing only rebadged cars from Chrysler and Fiat for sale in its native market of Italy.
In fact, the only car Lancia currently sells even in Italy is the Ypsilon. A car which is in essence a Fiat 500 but with all the cutesy charm removed from it, and was first introduced all the way back in 2011…
Happily however, one of the many good things to have come from the formation of Stellantis is that Lancia is soon to be back! And while it is a bit disappointing that the Italian marque is not to be kickstarting its revival with a fire-breathing rally car, the teaser shots of this upcoming all-new Ypsilon does nevertheless show for it to be sharing more than a few design cues with the legendary Stratos and 037.
From the rear especially, the single bold circular LED tail lights that bookends a rather squarely-styled rump is pure Stratos. Lancia has instead gone down a more futuristic look for the face of its new Ypsilon, with its LED T-shaped light bar signature on its face looking not unlike a cyberpunk-take on a medieval knight’s helmet.
As for its profile on the other hand, this new Ypsilon may gloss black trim on the C-pillar with the inset Lancia emblem does not hide from the fact that this Italian hatchback to look rather similar to a Peugeot 208. Though this should be expected, as both cars are to be riding on the same Stellantis Common Modular Platform (CMP).
To that end too, it can be expected that the hybrid and fully-electric powertrains that Lancia has confirmed will be debuting in the Ypsilon to be of the same variety as what is currently on offer in the small Peugeot. This therefore should also see for the full EV variant to be the most powerful version in this model’s history, with its 100 kW (156 hp) front-mounted motor outputting over double the power as the 70 hp hybridised triple that is at the top of the range in this outgoing Italian supermini.
Moving on inside meanwhile, spy shots show for the Ypsilon to feature the a rather brutalist straight-edged dashboard design with the usual twin-screen layout. Lancia has also teased a rather intriguing S.A.L.A. (Sound Air Light Augmentation) widget-based customisable infotainment system that, according to their marketing people at least, is ‘a key element in achieving superior comfort and an immersive, comprehensive onboard experience’ within this supermini.
And just in case that is not la dolce vita enough, Lancia has further announced a collaboration with Italian high-end furniture designer Cassina for a limited-run of 1,906 units of Ypsilon. Details regarding what the ‘EDIZIONE LIMITATA CASSINA’ will add is unfortunately still largely a mystery thus far, but it has been teased that the new central table in this supermini (a novel feature in the automotive world, Lancia claims) will feature unique Cassina details.
The official world premiere for the new Ypsilon is scheduled for February 14, with Lancia having also announced recently that it will be selling this new supermini outside of its home market. Belgium has been tipped to be one of the first European countries in which the Italian automaker aims to make a market return, with the Belgian market supposedly to be able in counting on 10 dealers and 13 after-sales service points upon its local re-entry.
It remains to be seen however on whether Lancia will ever arrive in Malaysia, with the safe bet being for it to only arrive when Alfa Romeo does… Though given that Stellantis has taken over sales of its subsidiaries over here, the chances of both those Italian marques making a local debut isn’t to exactly be zero!