Small is beautiful, the saying goes, and this certainly fits this compact four seater. Its contours are elegant, tasteful; the cabin breathes the same sophistication. But there is more: the uncanny smoothness of its drivetrain, and the comfort of its suspension. An elegant companion in your everyday (urban) motoring life. Just take here with us a closer look...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The Ypsilon has indeed character. It embodies masterfully what the Lancia brand has always stood for: ingenious technology which brings refinement and a unique sophisticated driving experience. This is what this Ypsilon really delivers. No small wonder the Ypsilon has found, in the four generations it has been built since its introduction in 1995, not less than 2,7 million happy owners…
Stepping into the car in its fifth generation one is surprised by its roominess, and a fine seating position is soon found. Your eyes wander over the centrally placed round clocks for rev counter and speedometer.
We like this layout very much, we already told you it reminds us of classic Jaguars like the XK 120 or Mark VII, and we are only too glad it has been retained in the latest edition of the Ypsilon.
The gearlever is ideally placed in its central position, just that bit higher which makes it so easy to reach. Centrally placed is a screen for the faultless TomTom navigation, the infotainment and the phone connection. Of course you can play without any fuss everything on your iPhone or iPod, and it sounds really well indeed.
The “UconnectTM”, the new infotainment system, is standard with all versions starting from Gold, which allows the multimedia devices to be managed via a combination of the 5" touchscreen, steering wheel controls and user-friendly graphics. From the radio to the main multimedia support systems, which can be connected via USB port, Aux-in connector or Bluetooth audio streaming.
As we said, the new infotainment system provides a wide range of functions, including Bluetooth hands-free system, voice recognition, function for reading text messages received on compatible telephones using "text to speech" technology. Finally, our test car came with DAB digital radio…The navigation is dead accurate and also very simple and intuitive to use.
There is more: If you download the UconnectTM LIVE app from App Store and Google Play and connect your Smartphone via Bluetooth, you can use the numerous apps on the on-board system: Facebook and Twitter, Deezer and TuneIn, to listen to your own music and your favourite radio, and then also to navigate via TomTom LIVE, including driver awareness with eco:Drive, which allows you to improve your driving style and the best servicing with my:Car.
Taking the leather covered wheel and starting off for your first urban miles, your fingers wander to the "Urban" button which switches on that extra steering power which makes city driving such an utterly effortless affair. Starting the engine, only a whisper is heard, the unit is barely audible, only a pleasant sounding hum is noticed revving the engine up under power. If one drives quietly with small throttle openings and low revs, the engine is just completely inaudible, and one would think the Ypsilon has gone electric. This impression is even enhanced by the complete absence of any vibrations, nor from the engine or drivetrain. Driving the Ypsilon on boulevards or city roads, flowing along with the traffic is therefore a very refined and downright relaxing experience.
Add to this the good overall visibility, the outstanding suspension comfort, and you understand that one feels very much at home in this Lancia. No wonder that our thoughts wander along to the sweet and refined motoring pleasures classic Aurelias and Flaminias had to offer their happy owners. You can enjoy it all again in this Ypsilon...
Indeed, suspension comfort is surprisingly good, despite its compactness; the Ypsilon takes nasty potholes and uneven road surfaces very well in its stride.
Of course, the Ypsilon delivers more than adequate performance when one is in a hurry, and its in-gear pulling power is quite sufficient, provided one keeps the revs a bit up. The 69 HP Ypsilon accelerates from 0 to 100 in a good 14,5 seconds, and reaches a top speed of around 160 kph. Besides the bare figures, there is almost the "classic" pleasure of revving the engine in the gears up to 6000 rpm, and this goes just slow enough to let you fully enjoy it all.
It will cruise along happily at legal maximum speeds all day, but we could not resist the temptation to cruise often along at 110 km/70 mph on the motorways, fully enjoying the silence and comfort of this Lancia, with the fuel gauge just refusing to go down. Indeed, at these constant speeds the Ypsilon is immensely frugal, with consumption around the 4 litre mark per 100 km. Our average consumption boiled down to around 5,5 litres/100 km. The manufacturer quotes also a 120 g/km of CO2 emissions.
Handling is pleasant and positive; one enjoys driving the Ypsilon with spirit. The car feels nimble and is very easy to drive in all circumstances.
The Ypsilon is everything you always wished for in a refined urban, compact four seater. Certainly in this four cylinder 1,2 litre petrol version it brings that degree of mechanical smoothness which puts it head and shoulders above the rest in its class and adds this something extra which is so typical of any thoroughbred "classic" Lancia.
It is most endearing in everyday use, and very frugal on top of it.
Its styling is characteristic, contemporary yet timeless and well proportioned. This means it will also from the way it looks your elegant companion for years to come. Just drive it, and you will be convinced...
Hans Knol ten Bensel