Lancia is the hallmark of automotive refinement, and it proves this time and again. Recently, we sat behind the wheel of a very ecological version of the ever so elegant and endearing Ypsilon. Not only did we love the car, also the nice sounding twin air running on both CNG and petrol seduced us. Lancia succeded in offering here a very attractive package for the "green" driver(s)
Just read further...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The Ypsilon convinces with style and chique, both inside and out. Its harmonious schapes and accent lines lets the compact urban car stand out with a distinctive elegance, which is also continued in the interior. We are so fond of the nice round dials, and especially the fact that they are centrally placed, like the Jaguars of the end of the forties, beginning of the fifties, and here we mean the XK 120/140/150 Jaguars, the early Mk I four door saloons, the Mark 9 "flagship" saloon. Good to find this tradition back in the Lancia Ypsilon. Well, we are instrument buffs, so there you are. This Lancia scores very high with us... Also the quality and feel of the materials, the chosen colour schemes, all this is done with bags of good taste and excellent workmanship and attention to detail.
One finds easily a good position behind the wheel, and one is sitting pleasantly high, not surprisingly as one knows that the Ypsilon has the ride height of the 4x4 version, here to make extra room for the floor mounted CNG tank.
A twin sound with character...
Starting the engine, one immediately hears the twin sound, when one revs it a bit. The 0.9 litre unit runs on both natural gas and petrol, and performs very well on both.
Quite frankly, it was hard to feel any difference, when one uses this twin as it is built to be, that is using its torque and power in the low to middle rev range. Under small throttle openings and very low revs, pick up is a bit hesitant, certainly from standstill. It is an engine which likes to be understood by the keen driver, and it took us also a day or two to really find out the unique character of this unit.
It likes wide(r) throttle openings, which indeed increases the valve lift, and one is advised to push the unit, even at low(er) revs. It then responds vividly with pleasant pulling power and torque, and then it develops a very entertaining typical "twin" throb, which sounds identical to, say, a BMW twin boxer motorcycle engine. All this happens at revs between say 1500 and 2500 rpm. Of course one can rev the twinair up higher, and then the engine sound swells to a beautiful twin staccato, but the impressive city driving economy is not at the rendez vous to the same extent.
Staying in the lower rev ranges, It was no effort at all to stay below the 5 litre limit, even in town traffic, and on CNG the range was very good with more than 350 km on a full tank of 12 kilos. The unit is a touch less lively on CNG, with nearly identical maximum torque available at 3000 rpm, 140 and 145 Nm respectively. The maximum power on petrol is 85, on CNG it is a good 80 HP.
Performance is quite satisfactory with 0 to 100 acceleration in 13.1 seconds, and a top speed between 167 and 169 kmh, according to the manufacturer.
But (also) in the lower rev ranges, the well spaced 5 speed box lets you move briskly in any traffic situation, provided you let the engine work…
We found the Ypsilon able to cruise quite happily at the legal motorway speed limits, with noise levels quite low indeed. We also would like to mention that the well balanced unit stays completely vibrationless, even at low revs under load, say above 1400 rpm.
Excellent ride, not only in the city...
Modern urban cars also have to offer sufficient ride quality and subdued noise levels at higher motorway speeds, so that they can be used for (fast) intercity motorway driving in Gran Turismo style. Lancia is a make which has a very good tradition in this respect, and therefore it comes as no surprise that the Ypsilon is quite up to the job.
Its suspension delivers a quite comfortable ride, and even nasty potholes are hardly a problem. The very supportive and comfortable seats, the pleasantly high seating position, all this made us like the Ypsilon very much on longer journeys.
These very all round qualities make the Ypsilon so endearing to us. On winding roads, the Ypsilon feels quite at home, offering good handling, steering and brakes, although we must admit that the car does not invite you to throw it about on winding stretches.
When you are looking for a compact, elegant car with excellent ride and all round road qualities, a classy cabin, with nice materials, colour schemes and instrumentation, then this Lancia is yours. On top of that comes the pleasant engine, offering bags of character, with excellent "green" qualities, which make it fit for a long future. The price is right too, with all the ecological advantages and budgetary support the owner can enjoy in "our" European countries and markets.
Admittedly, some countries, like Belgium, are not offering quite enough CNG filling stations at present, but this situation will change rather sooner than later. So we would suggest, take the "green" road with this Ypsilon...
Hans Knol ten Bensel