Lancia Kappa Review from Italy

1996 Lancia Kappa SW 2.4 turbo diesel

Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 2.4 turbo diesel Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired100700 kilometres
Most recent distance109800 kilometres
Previous carMercedes-Benz W124

Summary:

A basically good car spoiled by cheap details

Faults:

When I bought the car (100700 Km), the car had an engine management actuator fault (repaired under guarantee, but unspecified by dealer) causing random and sudden loss of power until RPM returned to idle speed (try overtaking with that)

Internal door panel plastic cracked at 102000 Km (silly no-handle design with recess incorporated in panel stresses said panel)

Rear windscreen wiper motor failed (103000 Km)

Right hand rear wheel bearing showing signs of wear (108000 Km)

Power steering pressure hose failed suddenly (109000 Km), causing immediate loss of all hydraulic fluid and P/S function (good job I had just parked after driving down a mountain with my family)

General Comments:

The cabin is very spacious and comfortable, although the seats are not as good after a long journey as they were in my old '87 E Class.

This is an estate (station wagon) version, but it has obviously been based on the saloon, rather than designed from scratch. This means that the load area space is not as good as it should be, with intruding suspension towers and an awkwardly shaped load bay in general. On the plus side, Lancia have included an easily lifted false floor, so that you can put a load of shopping in, close the cover and then put a big heavy pram on top, without squashing your oranges.

While the saloon version of the Kappa has a rather whale-like rear end (which I personally don't like), the estate looks more balanced, generally better accomplished, and is actually quite nice looking, if a bit dated.

While the combination of mad blue upholstery together with plastics in completely unmatched shades of grey is not exactly attractive, it does have a strangely soothing appeal.

Performance is quite good for an old pre-common rail diesel, but fuel consumption is not up to standard (I get 9 - 13 Km/Litre), it is heavy on oil (2 litres/7000 Km) and it smokes like a 1930's train under acceleration.

The ride is good for an estate, feeling smooth and well damped, and handling is actually quite tight. Again, this is probably because the car is more of a converted saloon than a bespoke estate.

Unfortunately, general little niggles and obvious cost-cutting in manufacture, manifested in the use of very cheap-looking (and easily broken) cabin plastics, and dubious reliability, spoil what is basically a good car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th January, 2005

11th Sep 2010, 18:35

Could you please describe the engine management actuator fault in more detail? I have the same problem, and have been going on with it for a year or two now. Thanks.

14th Nov 2010, 17:54

I need an opinion. I found 2.4 TDS Kappa 1996, with 230000km. The price is good, but I don't know what to do?

Can you tell me what should I expect from it, if I buy it?

Thanks.

14th Nov 2010, 19:41

And I forgot to mention, the man who is selling the car took good care of it, it is fully equipped... leather seats, etc.

Average review marks: 6.0 / 10, based on 1 review