In front of the hood, a gray highway strip, a dark forest flickers on the right and left, discreet houses, bright spots of gas stations … For those who love long journeys, such a change of scenery always cheers up. Of course, if the car is reliable and adapted to flight distances, and the road … well, at least, is satisfactory.
The first long-distance run of the editorial Chevrolet Viva - west, towards the Baltic, to Riga.
FROM WINTER TO SPRING
The hardest part of the road was … the most, it seemed, good. The broad highway from Moscow to Volokolamsk at six in the morning of Monday was a snow field, barely drawn by irregular furrows of tires. An orange traction control lamp blinks on the dashboard.
The device is already useful in that it does not allow you to relax, warning of a far from ideal coverage. The gas pedal with a long stroke on such a road is no less convenient than in the city. It is not necessary to gently "stroke", unnecessarily straining the leg.
When snow strikes the windshield, the main beam, as you know, is useless. But the neighbor on the “Viva” is good (of course, if you clean the headlights from ice and dirt on time), especially in combination with foglights.
The main drawback of the Chevrolet, noticed in the first days of operation, was confirmed by the first 100 km: the ventilation system is mediocre. The cabin is very warm, but no matter how you direct the airflows, the rear windows constantly fog up. One of them, of course, is easy to dry with electric heating.
And now the time has come to apply all the warm air to the windshield: sweat also forms in its upper corners. Note that on the street the weather conditions of the Russian winter are quite normal.
CHAMPIONSHIP RUNNING AND JUMPING
The Chevrolet Viva motor is excellent. A car with three riders and fairly solid luggage (only a photographer’s set pulls twenty pounds) is easy and playful. The fifth gear, as they say, is operational: it can be switched on already at 70–80 km / h, without worrying that the acceleration will be sluggish. It was rare to switch to the fourth - for a particularly quick maneuver.
In Latvia, “Viva” also brought five, and three of them were distinguished by a rather solid composition. Comfort, of course, is not royal, although acceptable for a close trip (by the way, I would like to have an armrest in the back seat, he would have made traveling more comfortable for one or two passengers). But the main thing: with such a crew, “Viva” did not become slow-moving.
The main section for suspension testing is the Tver region. A colleague who often travels along the M9 “Baltia” highway often remembers four large pits … small ones cannot be counted. They safely dodged the first ones, the second Chevrolet suspension was swallowed without choking. “Viva” does not show any crushing shaking, nor tiring swaying. A moderately sharp steering wheel allows you to avoid nervous steering and successfully deal with a track full of trucks, clearly bypassing the terrible pits for wheels and suspension.
In general, the characteristics of the Viva chassis are a good compromise for Russian roads between handling and comfort.
SECRET OF ECONOMY
A hundred meters from the Latvian border is a police officer Renault with the lights on. No, they do not stop here for checking documents, do not ask to open the hood and are not interested in the engine number. In general, they do not take your time and do not test your nerves. The policeman simply reminds with his appearance: in Latvia completely different laws and customs.
Here you do not need a power of attorney for the car. Roads with neatly patched bumps, excellent markings, frequent and clear signs and very strict laws. A cigarette butt thrown out of the window will cost 50 lats, that is, about 100 dollars, the dipped beam not included (in Latvia it is obligatory to drive with headlights on) - 10 lats. By the way, in such conditions, the lack of an indication of outdoor lighting in general and the headlights in particular is a disadvantage of the Viva. Once the oncoming driver saved from a fine, blinking headlights.
Traveling in Latvia is easy and pleasant. In settlements, the limit is 50 km / h, in the countryside - 90 km / h. Tacit excess of 10 km / h. For more - draconian fines. In addition, in Latvia penalties are awarded to drivers. You will gain a dozen in a year - you will part with rights, and even with freedom!
But there are no extra characters. Where speed is limited to, say, 40 km / h, it’s really dangerous to drive faster. Drivers are polite and understandable. Therefore, the average speed is quite high: more than three hundred Latvian kilometers to Riga were easily, without tension, overcome in four hours.
In addition to strict laws, the normal gasoline prices (the analogue of our “92nd”) force about a dollar per liter to press the gas pedal gently. Diesel is a little more expensive. I think that Chevrolet Viva spent an average of 7.2 liters of gasoline per 100 km for the entire run, the merit of which is also on Latvian roads and a clear traffic organization.
On the streets of Riga, rich in a wide variety of cars (although there are almost no Soviet cars left, and Russian cars are very rare), Viva often attracted interest. Chevrolet from Russia? Amazing Yes, we ourselves are not used to it yet …
After washing in Moscow, I carefully listened and inspected the car. No noise, vibration, creaking … Tires and wheels intact. Oil and antifreeze levels are normal. That's just the painted front bumper is already all in white dots. Too early! Mileage of some 4000 - what will happen in the spring? Really tint, as on the Volga?