Lancia Delta

A triumphant return to the UK for Lancia?

Evo rating
Price
from £16,500
  • Looks distinctive, brings Lancia back to UK
  • The wrong stuff for an Integrale rebirth

So, Lancia returns to the UK next July, and various tasty morsels are planned over the next few years. Setting the tone will be the Delta, which we’ve sampled in Italy.

The new Delta occupies a lightly trodden part of the market above the old range’s Golf territory, and is based on a stretched Fiat Bravo. It’s a striking-looking thing outside; inside, the rear seats slide and the optional leather looks luxurious, but the glitz is shallow: there are too many hard plastics, too much cost-cutting to make a credible Latin take on the Audi idea.

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And to drive? Good in parts, needs work in others. There’s an optional adaptive-damper system that gives a decent ride with quite pleasing handling, numb steering excepted. It may become standard – a good thing, because the regular suspension is too crashy. As for engines, the promising-sounding twin-turbodiesel 1.9 with 187bhp felt mushy under the pedals, but the 148bhp M‑Jet 1.4 petrol was much sharper.

So, is this the Integrale re-born? No. Is it ever likely to be? Ditto, I’m afraid.

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