10th Lancia Delta

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10th Lancia Delta

It's hard to judge just how excited we should be getting about the new Lancia Delta.

It's an iconic car name and it marks the UK return of a famous brand that has been absent here since 1994.

However, company bosses seem set on downplaying the car's arrival, pointing out that it will appeal only to a niche of buyers when it arrives in the UK in 2009.

There's no doubting that the car has a luxury edge, though. It is longer than a conventional small family car and has the sort of interior space more commonly associated with a Mondeo or Vectra.

It will be launched with a choice of 118bhp and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol engines and a 118bhp 1.4-litre diesel engine. Two more units will follow shortly afterwards a 163bhp 2.0-litre and 187bhp 1.9-litre with a 197bhp 1.8 petrol engine following later on.

Six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes will be standard, while Fiat's new dual-clutch semi-automatic transmission will be available as an option.

Other standard features include stability control, adaptive damping and a semi-automatic parking system, which helps guide the car into a parking space. Buyers will also be able to customise the colour scheme of their car, with Lancia saying there are 1000 possible combinations.

Although there has been no official confirmation, prices are expected to start at about 14,000.

Regrettably, too, company officials say that a revival of the famous Integrale badge is unlikely.

Why it's a highlight: Iconic name; early chance to see car given ever-lengthening time to UK arrival.

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