First impression: Lancia Thema 3.0 V6 CRD
Like little childeren we were bursting with impatience to get hold of the new Lancia Thema, inspired by the Chrysler 300. The Lancia is a of the E-segment and after a first glance you know why: its proportions are epic. Although the exteriour is not quite as dramatic as the Thesis, its proportions are nonetheless b.i.g. You can clearly see most of the original Chrysler DNA has been left untouched on the outside, apart from the attractive Italian logo on the front and the elegant colour choice. The interiour is a place where the Lancia makes more of a difference. After shutting the doors (sounds almost like a bank safe), the interior appears to be far less brutal than its straightforward masculine outdoor appearance. Soft leather, warm colours, an absolute plus. After the car was being handed over by FGA, the first thing on our list was to visit some Lancia dealers to see and hear their views and perspectives on the new Italo-American (or American-Italo if you like). Frankly buyers, sellers, technicians, almost everyone welcomed the in Brampton build voluptuous but stylish Lancia.
Okay so it does’nt look anything near the Thesis. But then that was build in line of the turbulent Lancia history no other car company has known. Some might associate it with lunacy or maddness, but always combined with such a level of aesthetic perfection that the first bit didn’t really matter anymore. In these difficult economic times though Lancia needs a more viable, higher valued car that will sell accordingly. This role then is dedicated to the Thema. As we were waiting for a red light and stood next to a (bust) Saab 9.5, we knew the presence of the aristocratic like Thema is a good one.
After some first kilometers we actually discovered the handling isn’t that American as you might expect. The Italian 240 bhp 6 cilinder from VM Motori, almost pretending to be 8, is a feast for your ears. With a maximum torque of 550 Nm at 1,600-2,800 rpm, there is plenty of traction available and gives you a mighty feeling with that huge bonnet in front of you. The diesel in the Thema unlike the one in the Giulietta we tested previously, behaves more like a gentleman. The Thema is well isolated so you can have a pleasent conversation at any speed. A satisfying feeling dominates a great part of the ride and because there is space and luxury everywhere, you would take this car to every place. Our ‘Platinum’ version had loads of extra features like ‘hot’/'cold’ cupholders for your Italian espresso or American ‘mocha frappaccino’. Ideal for those who have to/want to make a lot of km/m. It is not really thirsty either with a combined fuel consumption of 7.1L/100km (UK: 39 miles/gallon) and 185 g CO²/km, Euro5. We can recommend the Thema in every aspect so far analyzed. But luckily within a few weeks, we’re catching up again with the Thema as well as its big sister: the Voyager.