Having allocated the Renault-Nissan Alliance engine and transmission for the Togliatti compact sedans and station wagons, the engineers raised the VAZ family in the rankings table. We met with radically updated cars on the roads of Karachay-Cherkessia
Fierce competition in the B + segment does not allow automakers to postpone updates in the long box. A typical example is the Lada Vesta family. When the model debuted in the fall of 2015, there was only a sedan, and only two years later they presented the station wagon and its off-road version of the SW Cross. Then, in the spring of 2018, they launched the release of the “raised” Cross sedan, and at the beginning of 2019 – the “heated” Sport sedan. All of them, with the exception of the sports modification, were equipped with 1.6-liter (106 hp) and 1.8-liter (122 hp) VAZ engines, and the single-stage version made on its basis was an alternative to the 5-speed “mechanics” “Robot” AMT. And in the second half of the generation life cycle, a radical decision was made – to replace a bunch of the top engine and the “robot” with a combination of the Nissan 1.6-liter 113-horsepower gasoline aspirated and the continuously variable Jatco variator. At the same time, the level of basic equipment was increased and the top-end Exclusive version was put into operation.
Signs of status
The update for Vesta 2020 model year fits into the brand’s strategy for improving comfort, but there is also a desire to make Vesta more presentable. Hence a whole bunch of pleasant surprises. Say, for all Vesta, effective frameless wipers are now offered, and cars with a CVT are equipped exclusively with disc brakes. New Exclusive cars also received new signs of status: black exterior mirrors with auto-folding function, 16-inch wheels of a new design, chrome door sills and “fog lights” with turn-light function.
The salon of the “older” configuration was marked with image “chips” and equipment to match the top versions of competitors – Skoda Rapid, Volkswagen Polo, Hyundai Solaris and KIA Rio. They look especially advantageous – the black finish of the ceiling and sun visors, the upholstery of the seats in leather of gray and cream shades, steel pedals and the heated steering wheel key, previously not offered even for the most expensive Sport modification. Even before the center console, deeper cup holders were organized. But the main sign of the update, of course, is the selector of the CVT transmission with a mirror lining on the handle, borrowed from Renault Fluence. To the left of the lever is the original, VAZ illuminated position scale.
In the struggle for comfort
The new box eliminated the two-pedal Vesta from the characteristic rollbacks that occurred in versions with the “robot” when starting on the rise, as well as from the annoying transmission jerks when riding in a torn rhythm. By the way, at Vesta we used a variator with a two-stage planetary gearbox, which, on the one hand, increased traction characteristics, and on the other hand, it helped to save gasoline. Now, with by no means record power (113 hp), a sedan with a CVT gearbox quickly enough picks up the first “hundred” (in 11.3 s), and adjustments can be made to the acceleration algorithm by operating with the selector lever in manual mode. The SW Cross station wagon is a little more phlegmatic due to the greater curb weight, but it is controlled, in my opinion, even more interesting than a sedan.
A steering wheel with a clear “zero” and distinct feedback, as well as an elastic and energy-intensive suspension, deserves a separate compliment. And on a sedan, and on the “five-door” it’s nice to register turns and rush along the broken asphalt. Actual fuel consumption, according to the test results, amounted to about 10 l / 100 km, and this taking into account driving at a brisk pace in the mountains and on high-speed lines. The version with the 1.8-liter engine and the “robot”, I remember, was more voracious, and there was less noise in the Vesta CVTs. Most pleasantly, the new box is spared from the howls characteristic of such transmissions, and the sound of the “aspirated” is muffled by sound sound insulation. And one more important detail: buyers can not worry about a variator resource. Instead of a rubber belt, a push-type steel multi-section element is used here.
The motor, familiar from the Renault Sandero Stepway and Nissan Juke models and localized at AvtoVAZ since 2015, is characterized by confident traction, although the settings of the continuously variable gearbox limit it to accelerate on hills and under sharp accelerations. Nevertheless, the power reserve is enough for spurt in urban traffic, and for overtaking on the highway. And in terms of reliability, this unit with a timing chain drive will not disappoint.
It remains to voice prices. The 1.6 CVT all-terrain sedan and station wagon we tested were valued at 736,900 and 866,900 rubles as standard. And yes, that’s right, for similar versions with a 1.8-liter unit and a “robot” they asked for 50,000 rubles less. But the comfort and prestige of this allowance are worth it. Moreover, the “robots” seem to be coming off the stage: as I was able to find out, they will be used only in Granta and XRAY models so far.