The collapse of the USSR hit all enterprises hard. ZIL eventually went bankrupt, although it resisted until 2016. And GAZ managed not only to stay afloat, but also to develop, becoming a leader in the production of medium and light trucks. It is the latter at the enterprise that are called "breadwinners" - this is the "Gazelle" in various modifications.
The legendary line of medium-duty trucks also continues. "Gazon" is still being produced, and the current model has received this name officially - GAZon Next.
How did you get to the next generation?
The last Soviet medium-duty truck of the Gorky Automobile Plant was the GAZ-3307. This model was put on the conveyor in 1989, when the country needed reliable and economical equipment.
The patency of the GAZ-3307 is wonderful. Photo: Youtube.com
It was planned to initially equip the GAZ-3307 with a diesel engine, but they did not manage to develop the engine on time. Therefore, the car began to be equipped with a V8 from the GAZ-53.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it became clear that the GAZ-3307 was too expensive for a private owner. Not at the cost of the car itself - it turned out to be somehow economically inexpedient to operate it. For the city, trucks were needed lighter or with less appetite.
It was just that foreign-made light commercial vehicles began to appear on the market. Small business switched to them. The Gorky Automobile Plant quickly got its bearings in the situation and released the Gazelle and the diesel GAZ-3309.
This helped to raise sales, but after 2005 it became clear that the modernization of the lineup did not help, and sales were falling. GAZ trucks lose to foreign counterparts. And only in rural areas there were no replacements for the GAZ-3307/09. Not a single foreign car could provide the same cross-country ability.
Finding a GAZ-3307 in this condition is now difficult. Photo: Youtube.com
But the GAZ-3307 platform was hopelessly outdated - it critically lacked loading volumes. So in 2014, Lawn Next appeared.
Features of the new model
The latest generation truck is seriously different from its predecessors. From GAZ-3307, he received a frame that was modernized. It was decided not to change this element constructively, since for several decades it has shown itself only on the positive side. The frame was made of better quality metal and reinforced.
The gearbox is also an old model, but its stuffing was thoroughly shaken up, putting imported components in the most problematic places. Now, when access to a number of parts is difficult due to economic sanctions, spare parts have been replaced with similar Russian and from friendly countries.
But everything else is new. The most important thing is the engine. Gasoline power units were prudently abandoned, arguing that they were too voracious. Under the hood of the Lawn Next, the non-alternative motor YaMZ-5344 "registered".
The cabin is almost light. Photo: Youtube.com
At one time, this power unit was developed with the help of Austrian specialists, and then successfully mastered. At first, foreign components were widely used in the assembly process, now they do without them.
Since the GAZon Next was developed as a competitor to foreign cars, initially a number of foreign components were used in the design of this car. There is nothing strange in this - this is what most world manufacturers do.
The GAZon Next design included units and parts from companies:
✅ Dana Spicer
Due to economic sanctions against the Russian Federation, a number of supply chains were interrupted. Most companies have ceased to cooperate with the Gorky Automobile Plant, but the production of GAZon Next continues. The missing components were replaced with domestic and / or Chinese ones.
Separately, it is worth talking about the cabin of a new generation truck. It is unified with the GAZelle Next line and also lost the main drawback of the previous model - low corrosion resistance. Yes, now the GAZ truck is not that constantly rotting "monster" for which through rust was, if not the norm, then a matter of life.
The dashboard is also lightweight. Photo: Youtube.com
Wings GAZon Next received plastic, metal body panels - double galvanized. Yes, and they started painting the cabs on the same conveyor with Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibuses. Of course, there are no Mercedes now, but the line has remained, as well as the technology. Although, the German "beads" - this is clearly not the ideal that you need to be equal to.
8 years have passed since the first sales of GAZon Next - there are no complaints about the quality of cabs and paintwork. And this means that the manufacturer has reached a new level.
The only thing that some do not like is the preservation of the bonnet layout. Of course, such cars look more brutal, but this long “nose” only interferes with operation in dense urban areas.
How does it work?
The GAZon Next cab is undeniably comfortable for the driver. The seat is comfortable, sitting at the "steering wheel" is easy, regardless of build. The review pleases - not only do you tower over other road users, but also the glazing area is much larger than that of the GAZ-3307.
An empty car is harsh. Photo: Youtube.com
There is one claim to the cabin. Behind the seat is an unused space where special compartments for storing tools and various things necessary for the driver could be placed.
The dashboard has nothing to do with the GAZ-3307 - it is similar to the GAZelle Next, that is, passenger. But the gearshift lever gives out the old design - this is such a "poker" that is dear to the heart of an experienced driver.
There are no complaints about the side mirrors at all - they are huge and give wide viewing angles. You don't even need to customize them.
The new engine is initially annoying with a noticeable vibration at idle. Until you take the steering wheel and the gearshift lever, however, she does not show herself. The box was designed for petrol V8s, hence the vibrations.
Cars come in different configurations. Photo: Youtube.com
On the move, the GAZon Next impresses with easy handling. Of course, the chassis is rigid - it's a truck, but it brakes and turns the car perfectly. The maneuverability of the car in urban conditions is also much better than that of the GAZ-3307.
The owners of GAZon Next, who have worked on these cars for several years, note that the cab in the “long-range” is comfortable and in the region of 500-1 km you can drive without getting tired. Thanks to the sprung seat. On bad roads, the cabin lacks rigidity - this is a minus. Some even complain about windshield cracks because of this.
The version with the largest sleeping bag. Photo: Youtube.com
The engine is uniquely tuned for traction and loading - it does not like high speeds. On more or less steep ascents, you have to actively work with the gearshift lever.
The box itself does not want to part with its glorious past and reminds of the roots with a roar when switching, especially under load. Although, maybe this is such a self-diagnosis mode? If the driver has an ear for music, it seems that the shades of sounds of each gear differ.
In general, the GAZon Next is an excellent medium-duty vehicle, perhaps the best of the new ones in its price category. It was like this even before the introduction of economic sanctions against Russia. Now there are simply no alternatives to GAZon Next.