Lancia announced today two new models. Well, sort of new. They’re the Lancia Thema and the Lancia Voyager, but Americans will recognize them as the Chrysler 300 and Chrysler Group’s Town & Country/Grand Caravan minivans, or as minivans are known in Europe, multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs).
Billed as the ”first fruit” of the union between Chrysler and Lancia under the new Fiat/Chrysler Group combine, each American vehicle gets a mild style rework—allegedly to make them more Italian—retuned suspension, and a new range of engines.
The new Lancia Thema replaces a Fiat-based model, the new Thema mostly recognizable by its Lancia-themed grille. Power for the Thema will be two different 6-cylinder engine versions, both with automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive, the Pentastar V6 3.6 liter gas engine delivering 286 horsepower, combined with Chrysler’s new 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox, and the latest generation V6 3.0 liter turbo diesel engine in two power levels (190 horsepower and 239 horsepower). But no, it won’t have a Hemi.
The interior will feature, according to Lancia, “’Poltrona Frau’ leather-clad dashboard, as well as real wood inserts on the centre console, panels, doors and steering wheel (in two-tone leather on the Executive version). The instrument panel of the new model is treated with cast skin techniques, making it similar to the leather, while the door panels with 3D double grain emphasize its aesthetic qualities and flexibility.”
Suspension for the new Thema, says Lancia, is an “innovative multi-link front and rear suspension system that ensures Gran Turismo performance as one might expect from a prestigious saloon built to be driven on European roads.”
Likewise, the new Lancia Voyager is the Chrysler Voyager, as the model that had already on sale in Europe. The new Voyager will have features familiar to Americans, including the Town & Country/Grand Caravan Stow ‘n Go middle row seat that folds into the floor.
Power will come from the familiar-to-Americans Pentastar 283 horsepower gas engine and the 163 horsepower 2.8L diesel familiar to Europeans.
The Lancia Voyager, of course, gets new front and rear treatments, a “brand new front end featuring the grille emblazoned with the Lancia logo, wraparound front and rear bumpers, rear light clusters with LED light technology, and large headlights with built-in fog lights in the front bumpers.”
Chrysler has not announced which Lancia models will be coming to America to fill out its range, but the born-in-Detroit is on the highly endangered species list, due to be replaced under the new business plan announced with the takeover of the Chrysler Group by Fiat. At this time, it’s only the new Lancia Thema and the new Lancia Voyager as the beginning to the new relationship.