Set to arrive in the Italian showrooms in June the fourth-generation Lancia Ypsilon (seen above last month during its world première in Geneva), available for the first time with 5-doors, is now open for ordering at the dealerships with the comprehensive range kicking off at 12,400 euros.

Set to arrive in the Italian showrooms in June the fourth-generation Lancia Ypsilon, available for the first time with 5-doors, is now open for ordering at the dealerships with the comprehensive range kicking off at 12,400 euros. The New Ypsilon will also be available in the UK and Ireland from September, this time wearing a Chrysler badge, as the two carmakers will have their futures moulded together in a rash of rebadging that will spread out in both directions.

The New Ypsilon will have its work cut-out to replace the outgoing model in the affection of Italian car buyers, as, despite its age, the looming arrival of the new model, and its first-generation Fiat Punto underpinnings, is still in demand from Italian consumers: last month the current-generation Ypsilon was the fifth best-selling car in Italy with more than five thousand units being registered. The New Ypsilon comes in 5-door format for the first time and thus will be expected to also absorb consumers from its sister, the Musa, another success story for Lancia in Italy but which is also ageing now and has seen its sales in recent months decimated by the arrival of Opel's new Meriva. The New Ypsilon is 384 cm long 167 cm wide and 151 cm high with a wheelbase of 239 cm and can accommodate five people, while the trunk promises to be class-leading in terms of spaciousness thanks to the incorporation of "thin seat technology", the first time it has been incorporated in a Fiat Group Automobiles (FGA) car.

The New Ypsilon draws heavily on the pretty Delta for its styling cues, including the flowing "flying bridge" roof concept and an almost mirror reworking of the C-segment car's tailgate. Lancia's much loved historic Ardea sedan has also been a styling influence for the designers at Centro Stile Lancia and distinctive 'scallops' in the rear doors help to set the New Ypsilon apart. The biggest hurdle the New Ypsilon has visually to overcome is a slightly weaker front end and an interior that appears to lack refinement and seems, at initial inspection at least, to offer very little advance on the current-generation model. The last model out of the blocks for Lancia, the Delta, quickly fell into this trap: its overall finish wasn't befitting its price tag or upscale segment pretentions and the 5-door hatchback's sales simply never took off. The New Ypsilon should however steer clear of this trap with Italian entry-level pricing being quite competitive, although customers been to choose higher versions to obtain more generous equipment levels, and this fourth-generation of the supermini family should be the usual sales success in Italy, albeit not at the volumes FGA management have pinned onto it, with the usual wild targets being bandied around as is ever the case. It will also need a strong marketing push as its debut in Geneva was overshadowed by the clumsy rebadging of Chrysler's 200 (Sebring) sedan and convertible as well as the larger 300 sedan, a trio which bore the brunt of the world media's ridicule at the motor show pushing the New Ypsilon into the shadows.

The launch range will offer more than 600 customisations options by mixing the three trim levels (Silver, Gold and Platinum) with 17 body colours (4 of which will be Lancia's trademark "bicolore" format), 6 interior trims, 3 designs of alloy wheels and 3 engines: two petrol, 1.2 8V FIRE with 69 CV and 0.9 TwinAir 85 with CV, the latter with the option of the semi-automatic DFN transmission, and one turbodiesel, the 1.3 Multijet II 95 with CV, all units coming equipped with Stop&Start. Following the launch the Ecochic option ("bi-fuel" petrol/LPG 1.2 8V with 67 CV) will join the B-segemnt hatchback's range. Standard safety features include ESP with ASR and Hill Holder, ABS with EBD, 4 to 6 airbags (front, side and window) and well as isofix attachments.

The New Ypsilon pricing on the Italian market kicks off at 12,400 euros (on the road) for the "Silver" specification level equipped with the 1.2 litre petrol FIRE unit with 69 CV and Start&Stop, the same price as the current-generation Ypsilon "Diva" which will continue to be marketed for the time being. The new range topper will be the "Platinum" level fitted with the 1.3 16v Multijet with 95 CV and Start&Stop which will come in at 17,300 euros (on the road).

The entry-level "Silver" specification includes remote control central locking, height and depth adjustable steering column, electric front windows, 50-50 split rear seat, height adjustable driver's seat, 15-inch steel wheels, provision for a radio and heated rear window. The "Gold" level costs an extra 1,300 euros and adds into the mix manual air conditioning, radio with CD and MP3 player, electrically operated door mirrors, leather steering wheel and gearknob, Castiglio upholstery and "Comfort pack". A further 1,300 euros brings the New Ypsilon to the upper "Platinum" specification which further adds electric rear windows, fog lamps, 15-inch alloy wheels, rear headrests and leather upholstery. To further customise the New Ypsilon there will be four "Pack" options - Techno, Style, Family and Zen - each costing 1,100 euros.

© 2011 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed