Category: Test drive

Viburnum Is Almost Ripe

Viburnum Is Almost Ripe
Viburnum Is Almost Ripe







By tradition, once a year we meet with Kalina in order to trace the evolution of the model in the process of its creation. First there was a VAZ-1119 with a hatchback body, then a VAZ-2118 sedan, now … again a sedan, which has become still “fresh”. This is the car of the so-called two-hundredth series. After it, as a rule, follows the "most pre-production" version of the finalized technical documentation. To tell you the truth, we were hoping to see the VAZ-1117 station wagon. But the car was not ready for our appearance at the factory - they promise to assemble it only for the traditional August salon in Moscow. Nevertheless, we venture to suggest that after the signing of the tripartite agreement on VAZ 2123, all the forces of the testers and the pilot-industrial production will be thrown precisely at Kalina.

In an interview with the lead designer of the project, Yuri Kuteev, it was found out that now, in addition to embodying the station wagon and finalizing the appearance of the entire family, much attention is paid to the passive safety of Kalina. After a number of constructive discoveries, it was possible to achieve compliance with the most modern and fairly stringent European requirements for passive safety. Vazovtsy proudly emphasize that the luggage compartment on the sedan turned out to be very spacious, only 20 liters less than on the “top ten”, and this car is of a completely different class. The layout of the "classic" engines on the front-wheel drive "Kalina" is completed. Naturally, this is a completely different engine, equipped with the most modern power supply, ignition and exhaust gas aftertreatment systems. As a result, the car complies with Euro III standards in terms of toxicity.

Acquaintance with our ward takes place everyday. The car has just arrived at the testers (75 km on the odometer) and is preparing for a very intensive program to remove all kinds of characteristics. Until the work begins to boil, we will conduct a small journalistic test.

I used to hear quite a lot about Kalina. I remember that the first samples were highly appreciated by the VAZ, first of all, from the point of view of controllability. Then metamorphoses began to occur with the car and … the enthusiasm diminished, which, of course, only strengthened the desire to get to know the car “alive”.

In appearance, the VAZ-1118 still has a lot from the pilot production. As they explained to us, only the back is fully consistent with the documentation, the rest is not for printing. Therefore, look right inside. The first thing you can not help but pay attention to is the opening angles of the doors. Finally, the factory workers were not afraid to open them by world standards - almost 90 °, and even add an intermediate fixation to this. In the cabin, of course, bypass technologies still dominate. Nevertheless, a nice front panel, a convenient and concise instrument cluster, three rotating knobs of the heating and ventilation system stand out (the morally obsolete “sliders” have finally left!). We notice in German a verified, again rotating, headlight handle to the left of the driver. Button-toggle-switch experiments seem to have given way to a convenient and long-recognized solution.

The front landing has also changed dramatically. The principle of "sitting high, looking far away" made it possible not only to sit comfortably, but also to increase the range of longitudinal movements. Now, having moved all the way, you barely get your feet to the pedals. However, there is still some kind of "cheese" of the design: the front seats are for some reason at different heights. The driver’s seat is quite comfortable, but on the right you always want to find the nonexistent vertical adjustment handle and increase the headroom. Because of this, the handle for opening the right door suddenly turns out to be flush with the knee - using this, you know, is inconvenient. In addition, it seemed that in pursuit of passive safety, the front seats seemed to be pushed towards each other. With the gear lever extended, this led to the inevitable contact of the lever with the passenger’s foot when the V gear was engaged. But the back has become much more convenient: there are no "eights" and "tens" with a little "Kalina" can not compete.

The driving program is reduced to the limit - the car is not run-in. The motor is the usual eight-valve one and a half liter, with a converter in the exhaust system. It captivates with a pleasant pulling power at low speeds, but … it thrills with completely unexpected vibrations after 3000–3500 rpm, noticeable on the gear lever and even the seat cushions. He looked under the car: yeah, an additional jet thrust appeared in the gearbox control mechanism - was it not a source of discomfort?

The brakes were not at all VAZ. A small effort on the pedals, its minimum movements and good performance of the entire system allow you to control the deceleration almost "in a different way."

Pretty comfortable and suspension settings. They clearly gravitate to the smooth running of the “tens”, coping well with most road bumps. Only for some reason, all the "trifle" in detail and noisily transmitted to the body. As a result, the car closely monitors the microroughness of asphalt, becoming more comfortable with an increase in speed. But the handling is somewhat upset. Valkost, solid banks and delays are very reminiscent of the criticized "ten". From "Kalina", whose urban destination is beyond doubt, you are waiting for convenient, and most importantly, quick responses to the actions of the driver.

The car, on the contrary, as if fetters all your attempts to change the direction of movement. Somewhere on the Volga expanses, such spinelessness of the machine is not perceived as a drawback, but our country is large. Finally, there are foreign counterparts that VAZ buys - they travel quite differently. All this is especially offensive when you recall the VAZ 2108, built back in 1984, whose agility earned well-deserved praise.

Today, no one is hiding that the Porsche specialists worked on fine-tuning the G8. There is nothing wrong with that. So maybe Kalina should be sent in the same way, so as not to create another ten, heavy and indifferent to the driver’s commands.

In general, Kalina is conceived as a very interesting and promising car. However, this berry is still still unripe. Factory specialists have a lot of work to do with it, because everyone knows what troubles come from unripe berries.

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