Engines: gasoline 1.6–2.0 liters (110–180 hp), the latter only for the coupe in the VTS version.
Gearboxes: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic.
Options: hatchback - X, SX, SX Pack; Coupe - VTR and VTS.
Price in Russia: hatchback $ 18 070–27 560, coupe $ 19 175–31 070.
The ninth generation of Toyota Corolla made its debut in 2001, and in 2004 it was updated. Available in three body types: hatchback, sedan and station wagon.
Engines: gasoline 1.4–1.8 liters (97–192 hp), the latter only for the three-door version of the T-Sport.
Transmissions: mechanical 5-speed, automatic 4-speed and mechanical 6-speed (T-Sport).
Options: Terra, Sol and T-Sport.
Price in Russia: $ 17, 400–28, 900.
The hatchback was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2001, a year later a station wagon (“Peugeot 307 SW”) appeared, and in 2003 - a 307CC convertible coupe.
Engines: gasoline 1.4–2.0 liters (75–138 liters. From.).
Gearboxes: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic.
Options: XR, XS, XT, XTPack, XSi.
Price in Russia: $ 16, 340–25, 880.
The protagonist of the next test is the Citroen C4: it focuses on the streets and in our experiments. Still - in the car there are a lot of highlights, designed to interest the consumer who is tired of traditional solutions. Well, let's try to understand whether this originality is really needed. After conferring, they decided to shade off the novice with trusted classmates - the Peugeot 307 and Toyota Corolla. Fighters with experience, including the “copper pipes” of market success, will not give concessions to “C4”.
So, hi-tech against established traditions. What is more interesting, richer, more convenient? Three hatchbacks of the same power ratio (1.6 liter engines), each marked by a recognizable style, a kind of internal content. And the trouble is not that the beginner is equipped with a five-step “mechanics”, and the competitors are equipped with “automatic machines”.
DRIVER IN THE FLESH
As if obeying the laws of aerodynamics, his gaze easily glides along the rounded surfaces of the Citroën drop-shaped. Here he grabbed the huge "double chevron" on the hood, for mirrors of an unusual shape. He walked along the smoothly falling roof, a dynamic line of side windows, lingered for a short time on the taillights and, as if torn by a stream of air, slipped into the snowdrifts surrounding the car. What is the contrast: on the one hand, there is a bright car in front of you, on the other - there is nothing to catch on the eye for. The stern of the three-door "C4" peeks out nearby - you certainly will not pass by.
A sharp slam in the back door - and my colleague and I are alarmed: the sound is with an iron “aftertaste” so unexpected for a golf class. Oh well…
Of course, the first thing to do is turn the steering wheel - indeed, the central part of the hub is motionless. However, knitting needles, thank God, have survived - you don’t feel any enthusiasm, as well as discomfort, when rotating the steering wheel. Of course, the central, fixed part is full of many functions, which are probably more convenient to use.
The interior is spacious, breathing the nobility of upholstery materials - soft and warm to the touch, although not everywhere. The pillow and backrest of a very nice driver's seat suddenly turn out to be slippery. And the steering wheel is uncomfortable in grip, and frankly plastic. “Well,” the reader notes, “I didn’t have time to sit down, I immediately liked it - dislike it.” But you can’t do without emotions in Citroen - its internal content turned out to be very diverse.
Dense seats, regardless of slippery, reliably take into their arms, and their three adjustments provide a comfortable fit. Unusual-looking steering wheel and rises, and stretches. However, all this is secondary, the main thing is the zest, which the creators did not stint. Four displays for a long time take hold of your attention - you can’t figure it out with the “poke” method. Unless separate climate control is extremely simple and convenient, the rest requires close study and getting used to. Of course, the large and contrasting digital speedometer is immediately remembered by the eyes, even despite its non-standard location. But try to look at the tachometer at the same time, even while standing still. Having made several attempts, you will exclude the extra “device” and you will be content with one, larger and more readable one.
Another bright display reflects, so to speak, supporting information: stereo system settings, trip computer readings, etc. Again, if you use only it, it's great. But with an in-depth acquaintance with advanced technologies, the gaze begins to dart from one screen to another. After all, they are close in size, and are located on the same line. Probably, the three of us are not up-to-date - hence the conclusions: it’s suitable as a lure, but for life it’s an enumeration of numbers, functions, screens.
Saturated with hi-tech, I am leaving for the rear passenger seat. Feet immediately get stuck in the punch-well, and the knees cut into the rigid molded back of the front seat. Yes, it seems that they decided to save on passengers here: for them, a reservation where they seem to have everything they need, but I don’t feel like living (that is, sitting). Well, while the impressions of the new items are contradictory.
The fast-spinning highway strip is rapidly changing attitudes toward the Citroen. I am ready to forget about the flaws of ergonomics, to forgive not very “sighted” exterior mirrors and the long-stroke gearbox lever. And all because the motor is fun and, fortunately, quietly sings at high speeds. The tachometer, previously devoid of attention, suddenly starts racing to wink with a crimson screen. So it indicates the operation of the speed limiter, determining the switching times.
"Four Four" has changed: it seems to fly over the road, obeying the slightest movements of the steering wheel, sensitively reacting to the gas or brake pedal. And not a grain of artificiality, understatement in understanding with the driver. You feel the car so well that you forget about speed, the winter road, “slow” (seasonally) tires. And already the motor begins to seem insufficiently powerful, and the bell-limiter, activated after 120 km / h - annoying. The soul is singing, but the colleagues have lagged behind - let’s slow down.
The car is not that boring - it is becoming more ordinary. Here at 80–90 km / h stiffer suspension reminded of itself. The sonorous motor at medium (2500-3000) rpm has become much calmer, more measured. Even the steering wheel eroded the elasticity of reactions - they say, to anything. And all the same, in the sharpness of movements one feels a real character.
A recent cosmetic update has not affected Toyota. The front of the body has become a little more solid, the rear is more expressive. After the Citroen, it’s a bit gloomy inside because of the dark upholstery, the front passenger seat is closer. No intrigue, mystery, everything is practical and functional. But the driver’s seat cushion is still a bit short here, and a powerful middle pillar prevents entry / exit.
The location of the climate control toggle switches gives out the basic right-hand drive of the machine, but otherwise it is comfortable and thought out to the smallest detail. The seat "hugs" tenaciously and tightly, the adjustment range is sufficient. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is comfortable to grip, and the appeared longitudinal adjustment of the column now allows you to sit much better.
What else? Oh yes, the instrument cluster is now highlighted even during the day. Modernly, only in the bright sun does it look gloomy. The selector of the “automatic” is unsophisticated - again, a tribute to Japanese traditions. Yes, and the transmission is subject to simple and clear algorithms. If in “C4” I wanted to argue with something, to prove, then here you simply accept the ideology chosen by the creators.
In the back seat of the Toyota, too, do not walk around. Knees rest against the back of the front, the ceiling is right above the head. However, the legs do not get stuck, the knees are soft. In a word, as a passenger I would prefer a "Japanese".
Moving is accompanied by a rather sharp jerk and slipping of the drive wheels. Am I doing something wrong? I try again. No - the “automatic” is very sensitive to tracking the movement of the accelerator, which is why it is difficult to move smoothly on the “Corolla”. But as the speed increases, the box quickly finds mutual understanding with the high-torque motor. True, there are delay switching and finding the right gear. And at high speed, the “automatic” sometimes turns on the third or fourth several times, not daring to choose.
If the Citroen ideally tracked the driver’s commands, the Japanese is not so sporty in the settings: its credo is the quality factor and comfort. However, the latter is also relative. For example, the Corolla motor is definitely noisier. Her pendants are not so aggressive to riders at low speeds, they feel a reserve of energy intensity. But it is worth passing over 100 km / h, as the car becomes a “shake”, carefully bouncing on each bump. The pendants seem to lock.
A similar picture is observed in handling. For the time being, the car clearly follows the commands of the driver, although he is clearly not an athlete - it is felt according to body rolls and delays. However, it is worth going a little lower - the banks interfere with control, lateral buildup appears on irregularities, and the car goes “face out”. As if drawing a line: this is mine, but faster, sorry, I can’t.
It seems that age should take its toll, the car becomes familiar, bored. But no, the elegant silhouette of the “307th” looks fresh, recognizable, modern. Inside, the cabin impresses primarily with its size: against the backdrop of the Corolla - what is your minivan. And although the Citroen C4 is only a little inferior in scope to the “three hundred and seventh,” it is noticeable that the latter was designed with a focus on practicality.
Peugeot-Citroen corporate intonations are visible: similar side windows at the front pillars, identical steering column switches, glove compartments. And if you look at the cars from below … However, there are quite analogies, we are interested in differences. "Peugeot" is much more conservative: a strict dark interior, the usual combination of devices and a minimum of "lures" - except that the insert for aluminum on the console and the metal bezels of the dials.
Of course, there is also a climate control unit - ordinary, inseparable. There is a smart adaptive "machine" and a modest display. But all this is perceived quite everyday and familiar. As with the Toyota, the Peugeot quickly and easily get used to, while learning the nuances of the operation of certain switches.
The driver’s landing is higher than in other cars. The seat of the correct shape and proportions, unlike competitors, does not cause comments. Maybe the lateral support of the back is sluggish, but you sit down thoroughly, do not slip. Ordinary plastic steering wheel? It is convenient in cross section and is adjustable in the necessary directions. I’ll find fault with the pedal assembly: a foot in winter shoes gets stuck on the brake pedal, clinging to an invisible ledge - for a “machine” this is nonsense. The gearbox is much more sophisticated than the Corolla: there is a winter mode, a Sport toggle switch and even manual control.
The Peugeot rear passengers are perhaps the most comfortable: a high roof, a large doorway, comfortable pillow and backrest. A fly in the ointment - the same tight niche on the floor and the lack of the desired gap on the knees. However, unlike the “C4”, the front seatbacks are soft here, they hide the feeling of crampedness.
On the go, the Peugeot 307 is very balanced - no sharpness, impulsiveness. It is understandable, the adaptive “automatic” gets used to your driving style. At the same time, you feel that when braking, he “pushes” low gears with light jerks, trying to use the reserves laid in him. Unusual, but overall like it. And here’s the problem: after a long vigil in traffic jams, a sharp click on the accelerator suddenly made the box think. After probably a second, she found the right gear, the motor picked up. But … the situation has changed, gas has already been discharged, and the car continues to accelerate actively for some moments. It seems that she does not like the electronics of sudden changes in driving style.
Outside the city, the nuances are smoothed out - the frisky engine dominates, making transmission delays barely noticeable. The “Sport” mode helps, “pulling” each gear almost until the limiter is triggered - the Peugeot becomes collected, impulsive.
As if weighing the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, "three hundred and seventh" chooses the middle ground. Its pendants are resilient and energy intensive. They shake, of course, on small irregularities, but they cope well with large ones. There is no abrupt change in behavior in the settings; the car is convenient and comfortable over a wide range.
You drive fast - it allows you to feel the trajectory to the subtleties, it is easy to control the slides. Slowed down the pace - will not bother with rapid reactions, bore too precise taxiing. This is probably the most correct, based on the "family" purpose of the car.
It is difficult to remain indifferent to this car: at first you literally burn out of curiosity, getting confused in the abundance of functions laid down in the management. Then suddenly you find a convenient and practical interior, a lot of useful accessories. And in the end, either reject or warmly accept the proposal.
Of course, you can immediately slam the door: they say, I do not like it. But it is better not to rush to conclusions. After all, it’s worth pressing the accelerator, feeling the second “I” - and many of the shortcomings will seem minor. If emotions prevail over sober calculation, consider that acquaintance succeeded.
At first glance, the Toyota Corolla is not the cheapest of the trinity. However, if we compare the configuration, it turns out that for this money none of the competitors will offer more. Therefore, if you are attracted by an impressive package of fixed options, take a look at the "Japanese" - even in a cheaper configuration. Reliability and unpretentiousness these cars are famous for a long time. And you can adapt to individual shortcomings, because they are more likely design features.
THE MOST CORRECT
Spacious, functional, ideologically verified “Peugeot 307” in our test proved to be just that. He knows how to ride almost like a Citroen, but not so emotional. Its chassis is better suited to the surprises of domestic roads. In addition, it is more spacious and more convenient for rear passengers. Of course, you can complain about the imperfect "machine" or the pedal assembly. But when you summarize the virtues, you don’t want to sacrifice nerve cells for the sake of external cast.
Citroen C4 - very emotional; stands out with a non-standard, sometimes controversial approach to traditional, well-established solutions.
+ Dynamic appearance, rich equipment, including accessories, good driving ability.
- Information overloaded, cramped for rear passengers, too "sports" suspension.
Toyota Corolla - the idea of practicality is embodied almost flawlessly in everything. However, there is some carelessness in the settings, especially in the eyes of an active driving enthusiast.
+ Functional interior, accessibility and simplicity of technical innovations, balanced driving capabilities.
- Impulsive when starting, cramped for rear passengers, noisy and uncomfortable at high speeds.
Peugeot 307 - cute, spacious, comfortable. He would have a little more care about the rear passengers. The rest is a successful combination of practicality and finished design.
+ Spacious interior, comfortable interior, good driving ability.