Lada Niva review: utilitarian Russian off-roader driven

Lada Niva design

The Lada Niva was first introduced in 1977, and you can tell it hasn’t changed much since then. That said, the protruding bumpers look, boxy silhouette and round headlights give the Niva a utilitarian charm.

Lada Niva interior

Step inside, and the Lada Niva transports you back to a simpler time. Gone are the big infotainment screens of modern SUVs, and there isn’t a touch-sensitive button in sight.

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The whole cabin is finished in hard but durable plastic and it all feels well screwed together. There are some luxuries such as air conditioning, an aftermarket stereo and even heated seats, but that’s your lot.

Lada Niva engine and driving

On the road, the Lada Niva isn’t going to set your world on fire. Its 1.7 litre petrol engine has just 85hp and 130nm of torque, but performance isn’t what the Niva was built for.

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Head towards the rough stuff and it will take on more or less anything you throw at it thanks to four-wheel-drive and high ground clearance.

Lada Niva verdict

If you want a quirky, back-to-basics car to tackle some green laning, and you want to stand out from the crowd, the Lada Niva may fit the bill well.

It’s quite expensive for a toy though, You can import one from Russia for £17,595, which is similar money to a mid-spec Dacia Duster.

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