Table of contents:
- I am sure that if the PS concern in Russia were doing well, we would not have written the Peugeot Traveler 4x4 test soon. Not because our market does not need such minivans - they are needed, albeit in modest quantities. And the car itself is quite interesting … The point is different: the French themselves would not have reached the hands of actively promoting such niche cars soon. And even more so before they are assembled at the company's Russian plant
Video: With A Viscous Coupling For Life: Test Of The Peugeot Traveler 4x4 Minivan
I am sure that if the PS concern in Russia were doing well, we would not have written the Peugeot Traveler 4x4 test soon. Not because our market does not need such minivans - they are needed, albeit in modest quantities. And the car itself is quite interesting … The point is different: the French themselves would not have reached the hands of actively promoting such niche cars soon. And even more so before they are assembled at the company's Russian plant
Why does a minivan even need four-wheel drive? In Europe, it can be useful in the mountains or in the outback - for transporting tourists or workers on bad roads. That is why the demand for such machines in European markets is modest. So much so that Peugeot and Citroen do not produce them at all, but only … sell them. The French entrusted the production of 4x4 versions to Dangel, their "court studio". They take a ready-made front-wheel drive car and install new components for an all-wheel drive platform.
In Russian conditions, all-wheel drive is much more in demand, and PS sales in Russia are still much lower than desired. And so the French decided on a bold move - to launch the production of four-wheel drive minivans right on the main conveyor in Kaluga!
Structurally, “our” Peugeot Traveler 4x4 is no different from the European one: the same components are used to turn a minivan into an “off-road vehicle”. Four-wheel drive is simple here: a power take-off gearbox is docked to a manual gearbox, the moment from which is transmitted to the rear wheels through a three-section propeller shaft with a pair of intermediate bearings, a viscous coupling and an inter-wheel differential. In France, Dangel can also install a rear axle lock, on request, but we are not offered it yet.
Viscous coupling and all other units are manufactured by GKN. Structurally, the viscous coupling, of course, is already outdated, and its main drawback, in comparison with modern electronic systems, is its slowness. Because to block it, a significant difference in the speed of rotation of the wheels of the two axles is required: the wheels on the front axle begin to slip, the temperature of the fluid in the viscous coupling increases, the fluid thickens and the moment flows to the rear wheels. And to put it simply, you can get stuck on a machine with a viscous coupling before the rear wheels start to work.
But the unit also has advantages - simplicity of design, reliability and relatively low price. And in the case of the Peugeot Traveler, there is also the ability to implant four-wheel drive with minimal interference with the electronics. After all, the only thing that makes it different from the Traveler 4x4 is the different ESP settings.
In addition to the new transmission, the minivan also received a "package for bad roads": the ground clearance increased by 20 mm (up to 200 mm), and only with the help of spacers - above the springs and shock absorbers and between the body and the front subframe. The steering shaft was also lengthened to accommodate the new geometry.
This option allowed the French to do without costly fine-tuning and chassis readjustments. The body is raised, but the heavy components of the all-wheel drive transmission under the floor have kept the center of gravity practically at the same level. All-wheel drive itself, complete with additional underbody protection, added only 85 kg of curb weight to the car. In general, a Traveler 4x4 should drive on asphalt like a regular minivan. Moreover, here you can forcibly turn off the drive to the rear wheels: to the left of the steering wheel on the panel there is a washer for selecting driving modes, and in the Eco position in the power take-off gearbox, a compact cam clutch opens, disabling the propeller shaft and allowing you to save a glass or two of diesel fuel on a good road …
The washer is generally the only thing that distinguishes the interior of the all-wheel drive version from the usual one. In Russia, the Traveler 4x4 is offered in the only Active configuration, with eight seats and two body options - standard or extended.But this is not the most luxurious version - for example, it does not have navigation, leather upholstery or panoramic roof. But what is available is quite enough for traveling and simply transporting large companies - the salon is spacious and easily transformed.
Although the ergonomics in general can not be called ideal. If we take the Volkswagen Multivan, which is popular with us, as a reference, in a French car the driver's seat is installed lower, the steering wheel is more vertical, and in general, the landing is not such a bus. It's good. However, the profile of the seat itself is less comfortable - not all backs will withstand a long trip. The speedometer is according to the French tradition with "odd" digitization, and the mirrors are just tiny by the standards of minivans.
On the highway, the influence of all-wheel drive is not felt, and the A / T tires installed on the test Traveler 4x4 do not fully assess the handling. They make more noise and probably blur the reaction of the car to the turns of the steering wheel, and make the ride harder. But even with them, the minivan leaves quite a pleasant experience! The rolls in corners, despite the raised body, are moderate, understeer is tolerable and insufficient - at the entrance to the bend Peugeot does not rest, willingly changing direction. The steering response is average, with a slightly blurred "zero", possibly again due to the tires.
In general, the aforementioned Multivan is more interesting to drive, but the Traveler is noticeably softer and more comfortable - it does not have to brake to the floor in front of every speed bump.
But off-road, the four-wheel drive works. And it works well. The test track was laid right through the fields overgrown with weeds. And after the next winter thaw, this is an insidious coating. The top layer of turf is easily peeled off by the wheels and very quickly the track turns into a mud mess, cut by ruts. But the Traveler 4x4 confidently crawls forward and climbs the slopes more willingly than other crossovers suffering from overheating of transmissions. Of course, off-road tires help out in these conditions. And even if the car suddenly starts to bury itself in the muddy soil, then you just need to stop in time, turn on the reverse and back it up. It is more difficult on descents: the minivan does not have an electronic assistant, and you have to slide down the hill on it like on a sled, with locked wheels.
Delays in the actuation of the viscous coupling, if any, do not interfere on soggy soil. The main thing for the driver is to choose the right pace and gear in the box. So that both traction was with a margin, and wheel slip was not too strong. This is not an easy task: the Traveler 4x4 is equipped with a 150-horsepower engine, which at its peak has as much as 370 Nm of torque, but a narrow diesel operating range. The “wadded” lever of a mechanical box with long strokes and fuzzy shifting adds to the difficulties. The clutch pedal, by the way, also requires a habit - the discs close sharply. This would be an "automatic" … However, the automatic transmission on Traveler & Co is made by Aisin, and it will be too difficult and expensive to try to dock the French four-wheel drive with the Japanese gearbox.
After all, an all-wheel drive Traveler 4x4 is already worth a decent price - almost three million. More precisely, from 2,699,900 rubles for a car with a standard body or from 2,749,900 rubles for the Long version. This is 300 thousand more expensive than similarly equipped front-wheel minivans with automatic transmission (with "mechanics" in Russia they sell only 95-horsepower cars).
Expensive? In comparison with seven-seater crossovers - not very much. As well as in comparison with direct competitors. The simplest all-wheel drive Volkswagen, not even the Caravella, but the Transporter Combi, with a similar level of equipment, confidently overcomes the three million mark. Hyundai H-1 in Russia is sold only with rear wheel drive. It turns out that the Peugeot Traveler / Citroen SpaceTourer pair is the cheapest four-wheel drive in this class so far.
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