As you know, Renault officially leaves the Russian market, leaving AvtoVAZ and the Moscow government, which was given the rights to the capital’s car plant, their own technologies. So, the Duster crossover will soon begin to be produced in Tolyatti. At the same time, the Moscow Automobile Plant, according to the statement of the capital’s mayor, will be transferred to the production of cars of the revived Moskvich brand.
Recently it became known that the government intends to involve the JAC company in order to return this brand to the Russian market. But there is another option for the development of the Moscow Automobile Plant. The fact is that, having left the Russian market, Renault does not take with it all the developments created. That is, the Moscow Automobile Plant could potentially return to the production of French models. In one of the previous articles, we showed how the new Moskvich Legend 2022-2023 cross-coupe, created on the basis of the current Arkana, might look like. Together with this model, the Moscow Automobile Plant may start shipping the redesigned Kaptur to the Russian market. The compact crossover will be produced as Moskvich-412 “Elegant” 2022-2023, and the domestic designer has already shown what this model could look like.
Despite the above, some experts say that the production of Arkana and Kaptur in Russia will not be able to resume due to the low localization of the assembly of these models. But if we turn to the OTTS issued for these crossovers and Duster, it becomes clear that this information is not true. The level of localization of all three French models is the same. Therefore, if Duster is planned to be assembled in Tolyatti, then why can’t this be done with respect to Kaptur and Arkana?
In this regard, the likelihood of a new Moskvich “Elegant” appearing on the Russian market is increasing. Moreover, the domestic model will differ from the French one. First of all, the engineers have to make some changes to the body configuration. The grille is expected to be redesigned. At the same time, engineers will not drastically change the appearance of the crossover. Although some adjustments in the interior design can be expected.
The latter is due to forced necessity. Today, most of the electronics that are used in the production of Kaptur come from abroad. Given the acute shortage of components and disruption of logistics supplies, the engineers of the Moscow Automobile Plant will have to revise the list of equipment for the new Moskvich Elegant in favor of domestic components. The fact that Renault promised AvtoVAZ to supply it with the necessary components will not solve the problem with the supply of parts. Therefore, the new Moskvich AZLK “Elegant” 2022-2023 should be partially unified with the restyled Lada Vesta.
In particular, the future crossover should borrow from the sedan its multimedia complex with an 8-inch screen, air conditioning and climate control equipment, which will appear in top versions. Replacing the equipment will entail the refinement of the cabin. So, engineers have to upgrade the center console so that it becomes possible to introduce new multimedia and an air conditioning or climate control unit.
When preparing the new Moskvich “Elegant”, engineers will carry out large-scale work on updating the technical part of the crossover. Kaptur, after the last restyling, acquired a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine, which was delivered to Russia from abroad in finished form. Therefore, the likelihood that the new “Elegant” will retain such an engine is minimal. Most likely, the Russian crossover will be unified with the Lada Vesta on the technical side.
To reduce the cost of production of Moskvich-412 “Elegant” 2022-2023 and, as a result, reduce the price of the basic version, this model will be equipped by default with a 1.6-liter VAZ engine with a maximum output of 106 hp. It will be complemented by a 5-speed manual transmission or CVT. It is expected that NAMI engineers, who received the rights to AvtoVAZ, will be able to adapt the 1.6-liter aspirated engine to the B0 + platform, which underlies the “Russian” Kaptur. It is also possible that the Moskvich “Elegant” will be equipped with a French 2-liter naturally aspirated engine. This motor was installed on the pre-styling version of Kaptur. Its maximum output reaches 143 hp, and it is combined with an automatic transmission with a torque converter.
Both engines will be installed on front-wheel drive versions of the Moskvich Elegant. But, like its prototype Kaptur, the Russian novelty should come out in all-wheel drive. Until recently, such a modification of the French model was in high demand in our country. However, the all-wheel drive Kaptur is now equipped only with a 1.3-liter turbo engine, the localization of which, as noted, has not been carried out. Therefore, for the new Moskvich, engineers must prepare another, no less powerful engine.
The most likely option for such a modification of the Moskvich AZLK “Elegant” 2022-2023 is a 145-horsepower naturally aspirated 1.8-liter engine, which AvtoVAZ uses only on the Vesta sports modification. This unit will also have to be adapted to the B0 + platform. But this process probably won’t take long. Recall that representatives of AvtoVAZ last year announced their intention to keep their engines on new cars, which the company planned to release in the next few years. But these models, as originally assumed, were to be built on the CMF-B platform, which Renault planned to supply to the Volga Automobile Plant. That is, AvtoVAZ has the ability to adapt its engines to the French “cart”.
Given the above, it turns out that the new Moskvich “Elegant” will become one of the most localized cars on the Russian market. But for this reason, the release of the crossover may be delayed. Perhaps the new “Elegant” will debut before the end of this year. Although it is more likely that its presentation will take place no earlier than 2023.
We note another important fact that concerns the new Moskvich “Elegant”. As stated earlier, this model will be built on the basis of the B0 + platform, a modified version of the B0 “trolley”, which formed the basis of the first Kaptur, which entered the domestic market in 2016. The Russian version of the French model differs from the European one not only in name. Another thing is more important: Kaptur with a longer wheelbase was sold in our country. That is, a potentially new Moskvich “Elegant” can be enlarged so that three rows of seats can be placed in its cabin. As a result, thanks to this transformation, this brand will be presented in several segments of the Russian market at once, satisfying the needs of different consumers.
It should be noted one more thing related to the future Moskvich “Elegant”. In May, GAZ launched a localized assembly of a compact turbodiesel engine of its own design. This motor, according to an official statement, will be used not only on cars of the Gorky Automobile Plant. The company is ready to supply this unit to other manufacturers. In this regard, one cannot exclude the possibility that NAMI or the Moscow government may act as one of the buyers of this engine. Therefore, it is possible that the new Moskvich Elegant will be equipped with such a turbodiesel engine. At the same time, GAZ has not yet announced the exact dates for the start of shipment of the motor to manufacturers.
Otherwise, the new Moskvich “Elegant” will copy the Kaptur. That is, the Russian model will be based on the same chassis with a complete front suspension (subframes and arms), which is also used on Arkana. At the rear, by default, a semi-dependent design will be placed, which in the all-wheel drive version will be replaced with a multi-link one. The preservation of the previous configuration will allow the engineers of the Moscow Automobile Plant to achieve from the new Moskvich “Elegant” the same driving performance and handling that characterizes the current Kaptur.
All-wheel drive with three modes of operation tested in our country will also switch from the French model to the Russian one. By default, it transfers all traction to the front wheels. When the second mode is connected, the built-in electronics redistributes part of the torque to the rear axle in the event of a slip. And the third is intended for off-road driving. In this case, the torque is constantly redistributed between the axles.
If Russian engineers really manage to localize the production of the new Moskvich “Elegant” as much as possible, then its price will probably not exceed a million rubles. All-wheel drive versions will cost about 1.3-1.4 million rubles.
Author: Fedor Averiev