Ashtrays: 2002 Lancia Lybra

At long last DTW has finally had a close look at the ashtray of a Lancia Lybra.

2002 Lancia Lybra centre console closed
2002 Lancia Lybra centre console.

Before turning to that, I can report that the rest of the car is wholly agreeable, even if the upholstery is in dull, north European grey. It is velour and that helps. The rear ashtray is in the centre console and is of the pull-out, rear-hinged type. It looked adequate. The rear seats offer a comfortable place to spend time. If we compare it to a Ford Focus or VW Golf it is definitely more pleasant.

I particularly liked the sculpting of the seats which are invitingly formed and much more pleasing than the other two cars. The Focus 1’s seats stood out as a weak spot. 

2002 Lancia Lybra console open

The driver’s ashtray is a touch disappointing. I would have expected a chromed tray of slightly greater width. A lot of real-estate in the centre console is wasted on what looks like a very complex and annoying HVAC system. Better arranged, the cigar lighter could be situated up there, making room for a wider tray. The position on the other hand is very good. It looks as if one can leave one’s hand resting on the gear knob with ash ready to drop into the tray directly.

Some regular readers will deplore the mock-wood. I take it for what it is, a nice and warm touch to add an air of comfort to the interior. If we assume this Roveresque style was the way to go, it’s done to a nice standard. The real question is whether the world needed a Roveresque car more than something bracingly modern, as I have said before.

Here is the ashtray up close. You can also see the ergonomics are deficient. Buttons for controlling a continuous variable such as fan-speed are not the best solution.

2002 Lancia Lybra console open detail

The car is on sale here and has been for at least two years. If the owner is interested I can always do a write up and help you sell this attractive car.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

22 thoughts on “Ashtrays: 2002 Lancia Lybra”

  1. The Lybra-face always reminds me to this Toyota:

    and i am not determined to say which is more beautiful (or better less ugly).

    1. The Lybra’s not a stellar piece of work. That said, it’s consistent. The Toyota’s ends are bolted on. They are too good for the middle bit.

  2. The worst fake wood I ever encountered was in an extremely plush 1990s Mazda 626 (the one with the integrated spoiler). The seats were light tan leather and the ‘wood’ accents were literally stickers and actually soft to the touch. I’m wondering to this day whether that could possibly have been a factory-fitted option.

  3. Is that wood-effect leather (or worse still: stitched plastic) on the steering wheel?

  4. the grey plastic definitely is the worst offender of the centre dash, with the stereo head unit format coming in a close second – as it makes any aftermarket unit out of place there. admittedly, the late 1990s Ford Taurus had a worst setup (luckily, you Europeans still had the froggy Scorpio back then):

    back to the Lancia: I’d place the air vents above the stereo, so that the cold air could be better diffused across the cabin. I’m ok with the faux wood and the ashtray. the Lybra is too bland to my taste (on the other hand, I love the Thesis). their taillights made their way into South America, where the rear end of the Marea was heavily criticized – thus, the lights provided a buttlift for the Fiat.

  5. That central panel has the look of a Gelsenkirchener Barock juke box, if such a thing ever existed.

    I note from Liepedia that Flavio Manzoni is credited with the Lybra’s interior, before moving on Up! to VAG and then Ferrari. He doesn’t seem to have be related to that other Manzoni, Pio Manzu, lost far too soon from this world.

  6. Although the wood looks a bit plasticky, I’m surprised they didn’t use wood laminate as the Lybra’s predecessor, the Dedra had quite pleasant rosewood laminate inserts on the dash (I had one). The more upmarket versions of the Lybra SW had very pronounced brightwork on either side of the roof, reaching down to the tail lights which looked like it could have been faux aluminium or stainless steel (I think).

    1. The organic forms of the 90s were not so amenable to wood which is easiest to manage as cut strips and bars.
      It’s amazing we have an ex-Dedra owner here. This site really has a very particular clientele.

    2. Konstantinos: And didn’t that material look very good in the Dedra? By that point in time real wood had become less common and those cars that did use it tended to use thin veneers. The trend towards the use of curved forms helped push wood into less woodlike forms or out entirely.

  7. I was always quite partial to the Dedra – there was once one on display in the London Design Museum back in its day and it helped me ‘get’ the car.

    A Lybra has appeared in my town, which I a bit special given they were never sold in the UK. I want to like it, but I have to say that, driving by it, it looks rather like a Marea with a nose and tail job. That centre console is a bit special, though – vive la différence and all that!

  8. I think, the interior has some details without the typical italian keen sense for elegance.
    It is quite disappointing that the Lybra has two different designs and colours for the air vents – those plastic metal parts at the centre console and the black ones on the left and on the right.
    The design and the digits of the speedometer and the rev counter etc. could be made with a lot more love for the same money…
    Bi-color-leather seems not to be a good choice for the steering wheel…

    But the Alcantara parts are very nice.

    1. Light colours are never a good idea for something you touch all the time. It was the number one reason why I didn’t want the beige interior in my C6.

  9. I hadn’t noticed the outer vents were another colour. This car has been found wanting, hasn’t it?
    What I learned is that what I like for myself is not what I’d design or choose for others.
    There may be a version with more durable surface on the steering wheel.
    S.V might want to try seeing what plates are on his local Lybra. I bet they are Italian – maybe a visiting supplier to Gaydon? That’s near SV’s district?

    1. It’s wearing UK plates … I’ll note more next time I see it. It tends to be parked in near off-street parking outside an ‘offie’ in the High Street. Oh, and I live in Hertfordshire and work in Oxfordshire (8 miles from Gaydon, which makes it great for spotting prototype JLR and AM models – recently saw the new DB11 and Lagonda sans camo).

  10. Luckily you can get the steering wheel in all black leather.
    I think the other, presumably higher, spec is to tempt new pensioners to blow some of their lump sum on a treat. An awful lot of cosseting, and a decent spec.
    But what a terrible clash of aesthetics all over the facia. My Kappa has just the two, and I can live with the matt plastic wood. But that shiny stuff.. grrrrh.

    If only they’d just scaled this up to Kappa size, instead of the desparate Thesis, and thrown-together Delta — bith of which have just about sunk Lancia, maybe for ever.

    I’ve seen Meccano vehicles with more finesse than a Delta.

    I do like white on black round dials, as most proper Lancias have.

    1. Was the Thesis desperate? My analysis then and now is that it was a good, well-made capable saloon. Perhaps it was the wrong car; Lancia needed a Mondeo/Vectra sized car. However, received wisdom says a brand needs to be built from flagship down; remember how the Peugeot 205 altered how Peugeot was seen, from a general car maker to a small car maker, as some said (that’s more received wisdom). Lancia wanted a nice, big saloon and would then work down. That didn’t happen, alas.

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