The Lada Niva Returns To The UK
By James Grahame
It's been 15 years since the Lada Niva was last imported into the UK, but that's suddenly changed with the introduction of two new versions of this classic Russian 4x4. The first, a utilitarian van, sells for £8695 and features delightfully stark metal panels where the rear windows should be, while its fancier family friendly stablemate retails for £10,974 and actually has rear seats and portholes for your darling sprogs to gaze out of.
Both feature a 1.7L 4-cylinder engine -- now mercifully equipped with Bosch fuel injection -- and the same delightful rubber interior flooring that almost dares you to clean it with a garden hose. Apart from that, not much has changed.
With zero to 60 times in the 16 second range, this isn't the ideal motorway cruiser. But that's OK, because carrying on a conversation over the road noise would be a definite challenge at 70 mph, anyway. One last minor detail: they're all left-hand drive.
I know it's crazy, but I want one. In bright orange.
Autocar's First Drive of the Niva 1.7 [thanks, Peter!]