From Yerevan past Ashtarak, through Spitak and Vanadzor to Dzoraget, and from there to Noravank. The mere enumeration of points on the route excites the imagination – it rumbles like a rockfall, makes noise like a mountain river.
The poet Andrei Bely, who visited Armenia, wrote that “Obviously, Čiurlionis worked on the outline of the area (composer and artist of the early twentieth century. – Ed.) … the rhythm is volcanic; lava pressed from volcanoes like liquid paint“. And although there is not a single active volcano in modern Armenia, the corresponding origin has formed a unique harsh image of the country.
Suzuki SX4: non-stop
It seems that it will not be so easy to move around this mountainous country, where, according to the apt expression of Bely “mountains have sat down and are looking for an excuse: to fall down”, but you have to go a total of more than 700 km. However, in reality, everything turned out exactly the opposite. It is worth breaking out of traffic jams within Yerevan, as the roads are rapidly emptying. More often you will see flocks of sheep lazily crossing two-lane highways than an oncoming car.
The editors of Quattroruote chose the Suzuki SX4 crossover to travel around Armenia. It is not easy to find the features of the previous version in it: the grille, optics, hood and front bumper have been updated so much. New elements added elegance to the interior, so that it became more pleasant to be behind the wheel, although before the driver did not feel deprived here in terms of comfort and had no reason to complain about ergonomic miscalculations.
The SX4 crossover is offered not only with a 1.6 atmospheric gasoline engine with 117 hp, but also with a much more fun 1.4 BOOSTERJET turbo unit for 140 “horses” (both engines are made in Japan). It was the version with the last of those named that fell into the hands of the Quattroruote editors. On the road, she proved to be comfortable and pleasant to drive – the car has excellent balance and performance, and the engine, although modest in volume, is generous in return.
In addition, on a long journey, you should not discount the intelligent ALLGRIP 4WD four-wheel drive system with four driving modes, a good supply of free space on board and an optimistic average consumption of just over 6 liters per 100 km. Quattroruote specialists especially appreciated the latter quality, avoiding frequent stops to replenish gasoline supplies during the trip.
There is no such situation when traveling, when the interior of the Suzuki SX4 would cause you complaints: the driver’s seat is comfortable, the ergonomics are well thought out. And let’s not forget about the trunk: from 430 to 1269 liters, taking into account the class, is almost a record.
The national currency of Armenia is the dram (AMD), 100 Armenian drams is about 12 rubles. Bank cards are not accepted for payment everywhere: the exceptions are large hotels, restaurants and tourist complexes. If you plan to climb away from large cities, we advise you to take care of the exchange of money in advance.
Suzuki SX4: Martian Chronicles
Having traveled the country from south to north on the first day of the trip and spent the night in Dzoraget, on the morning of the second day, our friends from Quattroruote went to the southeast of Armenia – to Lake Sevan, and then to the Noravank temple complex.
Sevan is the second alpine lake in terms of water reserves, surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges. In ancient times it was called the sea. For Armenia, this lake means more than Baikal for Russia. Sevan even has its own day on the calendar – since 1999, it has been celebrated in Armenia on the last Sunday of August.
The main wealth of Sevan is ishkhan, the so-called species of freshwater trout living in the lake. Back in the twenties of the last century, as Andrey Bely writes in the essay “Armenia”, up to 20 million fish were caught here annually, some were weighing a pood.
In the gorge of the Arpa River, near the city of Yeghegnadzor, one of the true treasures of Armenia is located – the 13th-century monastery complex Noravank. The road to it winds around red rocks, and even an experienced traveler sometimes thinks that he has already crossed the border between earth and sky: the surrounding beauties evoke descriptions of Martian landscapes read in childhood in science fiction novels. And, willy-nilly, you begin to believe in the miracles that travelers from ancient times attributed to the Armenian land.
Any of the engines available for the model, atmospheric or turbocharged, can be docked with a classic hydromechanical 6-band automatic transmission. Add all-wheel drive and a clearance of 180 mm – and here it is the perfect car for those who lead an active lifestyle.
Suzuki SX4: like behind a stone wall
Country roads, gravel roads, gorges. According to the editors from Quattroruote, the main companion on this journey – the Suzuki SX4 crossover – throughout the entire journey never made one complain about a trifling flaw. This car seems to have been created for those who have big plans for life, who obviously cannot sit still and want to get the most vivid impressions from life. And the SX4 itself is one of those experiences.
The designers obviously tried even to bring the spirit of adventure into the appearance of the crossover, so that the body came out harmonious and moderately “muscular” – a drop-down roof, a rounded hood and neat roof rails. The interior is laconic, but not Spartan at all: the steering wheel is adjustable for both tilt and reach, seats with pronounced lateral support. The high seating position, rather thin pillars and large exterior mirrors give an amazing view.
And as befits a touring car, a lot of attention was paid to safety – both passive and preventive. The SX4 crossover has cruise control, a speed limiter, a stabilization system and several braking assistants. And seven airbags, regardless of version – not all classmates can boast of this.
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