Lancia Y10 Review from Portugal

1989 Lancia Y10 GTie 1.3 MPI

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.3 MPI Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.6 / 10
Distance when acquired81000 kilometres
Most recent distance96000 kilometres
Previous carRenault 5

Summary:

A very good deal

Faults:

Back wheels roll bearings at 90.000 Km.

Fuel Filter at 90.000 km.

Rear Brakes pumps at 90.000 km.

General Comments:

I presently own two y10, a 1991 LXie, and a 1989 gtie. The first cost me EUR 1750 three years ago (reading 73.000Km)(a bit expensive, supplement for scheduled payment included...), and the Gtie cost EUR 1250 (discount for front payment included... 81.000 Km) about 8 months ago. The Lx clock reads about 124.000 Km, and the gt has past 96.000 Km, happily eating motorways at constant 160 Km/h and plus, the speedometer easily reading the famed 200 in descents. No GTI, no Turbo, no supercar, but where else do you get this kind of performance for EUR 1250? And the economy continues in the gas, since I consider impossible for the GT to drink more than one litre of fuel for every 10 Km, at full throttle. Don't abuse it and 6L/100 Km averages are easy to reach, as in the 1.1 Lx.

Tough l constantly lack the funds to keep them pristine and faultless, I am very happy with both, and consider any version of the y10 to be one of the best deals around for second-hand small cars. Especially in Portugal, where you can get 1.0 y10's for as low as EUR 500. Not perfect cars in the best state, but good movers, very practical and economical, and capable of embarrassing more powerful and much more expensive cars. A good-no faults GTie could come for about EUR 2500, but they are becoming scarse...

For every day use the y10 is outstanding, since its small size makes it easy to park, and I know of now other similarly sized car where my 20-inch bike frame fits so well, once the back seats are reclined. If necessary, the car can even take the bike and one rear passenger without harming safety or comfort.

Downsides? there are some, starting in Italian build quality and ending in Italian steel. Nearly all the inside trims are prone to wearing and gap gaining, inducing a multitude of parasite noises. As always, get to them as soon as possible, and they wont be hard to correct. If you don't, they will just pile up with time. The same thing goes for rust, that can extend to the chassis itself.

Despite the image of luxury in a small package (nice trim, electric rear windows, super complete dash for the category, with oil temp and pressure (very prone to failure...)), the y10 is a basic no-frills car that you can use in city and motorway without worry. None of the cocooning of later generation cars, but economy and performance that remain very competitive today. And, of course, its a mark in car design, tough yet to be made justice. The aerodynamic efficiency (outstanding for the size) plays a good role in high motorway averages and low fuel consumption.

One much referred problem is electrics. True, warning lights in the dash pop up for no reason, and several electric contacts (bulbs...) are fated to fail, as well as the oil gauges. Heating/ventilation buttons tend to loose efficiency, and other minor quirks can occur. But, to my experience, no really serious problem will come from there, since the main functions usually work well. In this aspect, as in several others, the best prevention is to keep the car rolling frequently, and long periods in rest are the worst.

In the mechanical side, the Fire engine is very reliable an no major problems are to be expected. Transmission rubber cones tend to leak gearbox oil, keep an eye. The gearbox is not as pleasant as it should (common fiat feature...), but works well enough, with good gear ratios. Noises and grunts are common (featured from new in the GT..), but could also imply other problems in the long term, such as worn synchros. The lower support of the engine in the 1.1 can also crack, but it will warn you with lots of advance, the engine (and thus, the car…) "kicking" when you press and depress the throttle at lower speeds. It happened to me, it's scary - the gear lever moving up and down, back and forth, several inches as you accelerate or decelerate - but you can still clock a good 500 Km's going 160 km/h, with just the two remaining supports, at least in one way…

In road behaviour, the keywords are fun, small, and light, both in the Lx and in the GT. At higher speeds (120 Km/h and plus), the back Omega suspension will woop a bit, giving a feeling of unsafe that extends to the front, but its more a case of feeling than real danger. Steady hand at the wheel, tough! Keep in mind that this is a very light small car with a small wheelbase, with a Panda front-suspension and a twisted rigid-axle at the back, with just a centre-advanced anchoring point. If you think of that, you'll come up thinking the road holding is excellent... Certainly better than with a normal rigid-axle anyway...

The original alloy wheels in the gt are a bit fragile, and can, with time and portuguese roads, become not exactly round. Easy to deal with by refurbishing. To this day I believe the Gt was relatively cheap because the salesman (a crook...) tought (but didn´t said...) the chassis was bent. The car distinctively runned to the right, and major vibrations ocurred past 120 Km,h. Refurbishment of the front wheels and new tires completely solved the problem. Some of the alloy wheels had almost 1 centimeter decentrings! This is important, since, being so light (800-850 Kg) and with a simple suspension, the y10 is very sensible to pressure and condition of tyres and wheels. Big vibrations can come from slightly unbanlaced wheels, and uneven pressure in tyres can induct distinctive running left or right. But if you're buying, don't take risks by assuming it's a tyre/wheel problem and check the chassis. I had luck!

To resume my impression of the y10, I would describe it as car with the lightness and size of a Panda, but motored with Uno-class dimensioned engines, giving it a power to weight-ratio to match the performance of lots of bigger engined cars in the Tipo-Bravo class. Just think, about 78 hp to move less than 850 Kg, that's enough to go faster than any other similar power car, since they all are heavier. And if the 1.1 its less powerfull, it also has a shorter differential ratio, giving it all the promptness.

The main reason for buying the gt was that the Lx was getting a bit unpresentable in some circles (faded, cracked, riped paint... riped driver seat tissue...), and the fact that I frequently make 200 and 300 Km and plus trips, easely clocking 500 or 600 Km in one day. In the highway, the Lx can go forever at about 140 Km/h, and even keep a good 160 (on the clock...) for a good while. But the noise from the high revs can become tyring and a sharp eye on the oil and water gauges is needed. And be aware of suden stops (polls...) after a long time driving at high revs.

Since the LX was in need of a lot for technical control (4 new tyres, rear brake fix, new door locks...) and also a new clutch, aside a multitude of other blemishes, I decided it would be wiser (what?!) to buy another one instead, for just a tad more than the overall repair would cost me. Since the second-hand value for these cars is so low, that was easy. Of course, the gt was not pristine, and was a bit of a shot in the dark. But I had luck (uf!), and solved easely and cheaply all the problems the car had. A major problem of irregularities in engine working (a very distinctive burble around 2500-3000 rpm, could be anything from spark plugs to MPInjection troubles to god knows what), was eliminated by simply replacing spark cables and distributer head, wich was cheap. And a good fuel-system cleaning addictive did the rest, the car revving freely and vigorously. I didn't even had to change plugs. I now can do my highway travels at a good constant 160 Km/h, still with a good reserve of power to reach 180 and plus on the clock, never having to floor the throttle, thus gaining good fuel consuption. What other car would give you this for less than 2000 EUR overall? Well, perhaps that sadly rusting y10Turbo that's been standing in my street for some months now... The rust has got to the chassis and rust holes are clear in the doors... But that engine... I dream of turning it into my long cherished auto cross or small class racing project... And comes right off with 14 inch momo wheels... That alone could be worth about the 300 EUR I'm willing to pay for that pile of rust…

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 3rd May, 2003

Average review marks: 6.6 / 10, based on 1 review