Presented at the 2004 Paris Motor Show, the Musa is a compact, luxurious minivan targeted primarily at women.
Its lines betray a clear family resemblance with the small city car Ypsilon, particularly in terms of the slightly retro radiator grille and almond-shaped headlights. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Lancia D.R.
The Lancia Musa, like the Fiat Idea, was based on the chassis of the small Lancia Ypsilon city car presented at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show, which was itself derived from the Fiat Punto, also built at the huge Fiat-Mirafiori plant in Turin. With its Musa, which was sometimes associated with the small Japanese 'Kei Cars', Lancia entered the minicar segment, where it competed with the Renault Modus, the Opel Meriva and the Peugeot 1007. The Musa stood out in this category for its elegance and spacious interior.
The Lancia Musa has established a strong position in the top-of-the-range minivan segment, in particular with the second generation, which was launched in 2007 and boasts a more generous boot. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Lancia D.R.
RELAUNCHING THE BRAND
Lancia was no longer as successful as it had been in the early 2000s. The serious financial crisis that shook the Fiat Group, to which Lancia belonged since 1969, had taken its toll, and the days when the Delta dominated international rallies were long gone. Management at the Italian car giant are keeping the Turin-based brand, which for a long time was the group's top-of-the-range flagship and its sporting spearhead, on life support. As a premonitory sign, the spear and the standard were the two graphic symbols that disappeared from the Lancia logo, which was modified by the Robilant Associati communications agency at the time...
While the medium and upper-medium range models Lybra and Thesis were no longer being developed, Fiat's management, in a final attempt, nevertheless decided to give Lancia a new boost with the Ypsilon city car. At the same time, the carmaker's historic sporting image was definitively put aside for a shift towards luxury and comfort. The Musa, derived from the Fiat Idea, was fully in line with this new brand image and would contribute in its own way to Lancia's recovery over the next few years and to its repositioning on the European market.
Much more than a rebadged Fiat Idea, the Lancia Musa is all about refinement and offers comfort and equipment worthy of a car in a higher segment. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Lancia D.R.
Lancia has gone through a difficult period, but is determined to consolidate its identity as a manufacturer with a tradition of good taste and Italian elegance. Although this was obvious for the Thesis saloon launched in 2002, it was a real gamble for Lancia's marketing department to adapt the brand image to a small MPV that was a clone of the Fiat Idea! The latter is more popular, while the Musa is more 'bourgeois chic', with the ambition of positioning itself as a model that could serve as a stepping stone towards the brand's top of the range. To achieve this, Lancia's styling department designed a more sculpted body with a front end that resembles that of the Ypsilon. The rear of the car is very stretched, with a more curved tailgate.
All of this is dressed in chrome and offers an elegance that will appeal to female customers, soon to account for almost 70% of sales. The Musa has two levels of finishing: Oro and Platino. In terms of mechanical features, the Musa uses the Fiat Group's tried and tested engines: two four-cylinder Multijet diesels with 1.9 litres (100 bhp) and 1.3 Litres (70 bhp), and a four-cylinder petrol engine with 1.4 Litres (95 bhp). The latter two units can be fitted with the optional DFS (Dolce Farniente System) robotised sequential gearbox.
The Musa's strong point is its plush, refined interior. It offers a great deal of available space, which can also be modulated thanks to the sliding rear seat. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Lancia D.R.
A RESTYLING IN 2007
The Lancia Musa Phase 2 made its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007 and went on sale in France on 25 October. It was a preview of some of the styling solutions that were to appear on the new Delta to be launched the following year, with even more chrome. In response to customer complaints, the tailgate was modified in order to increase boot space by 5 cm.
The interior upholstery is available in two new colours: navy and chocolate, while the bodywork is still available in four two-tone colour schemes. A 77 bhp 1.4-litre version now completes the range of petrol engines, while the diesel range has been strengthened by a 90 bhp 1.3-litre version. In total, 207,458 Musas of all versions were produced at Fiat's Turin plant between June 2004 and July 2012. The Musa will not be replaced in this segment of Lancia's range, as the company gradually consolidates its catalogue around the Ypsilon city car.
The Lancia Musa has a prominent tailgate framed by large vertical lights, giving it a very distinguished line that is enhanced by a carefully chosen range of colours for the bodywork. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. Crédits photo © Lancia D.R.
Lancia Musa 1.4 16V (2004)
• Engine: Fiat (FIRE type), 4-cylinder in-line transverse front-wheel drive
• Displacement: 1,368 cm3
• Bore x stroke: 72 mm x 84 mm
• Power: 95 bhp at 5,800 rpm
• Fuel: Multipoint electronic fuel injection
• Ignition : Integral electronic management
• Timing: 2 overhead camshafts, 4 valves per cylinder
• Transmission: Front wheel drive, 5-speed gearbox + M.A.
• Tyres: 195/60 R15 (front and rear)
• Brakes: front discs (257 mm diameter) and rear drums (203 mm diameter)
• Length: 3990 mm
• Width: 1698 mm
• Height: 1660 mm
• Wheelbase: 2510 mm
• Front track: 1450 mm
• Rear track: 1440 mm
• Weight (empty): 1,155 kg
• Maximum speed: 175 km/h
The Italian stylist, born in 1965, graduated in architecture and industrial design at Florence University. He joined Lancia's Research and Design Department in 1993, and three years later became Head of Interior Design. After a brief interlude at Seat from 1999 to 2001, where he was also in charge of interior styling, Flavio Manzoni returned to Lancia as Design Director. Here he was responsible for Concept Cars such as the Granturismo (2002) and the Fulvia Coupé Concept (2003), as well as the models that were to help relaunch Lancia, including the Ypsilon and the Musa, both of which won the European Design Award in the automotive category in 2003. Appointed Director of the Fiat Design Centre in 2004, he then moved back to the Volkswagen Group, where he worked on the new Golf VI and the Up! concept. Since 2010, Flavio Manzoni has been the Design Director at Ferrari, where he created a completely autonomous in-house styling centre, the 'New Ferrari Style Center', located on the Maranello production site.