Lada Niva Review 2024

Lada Niva At A Glance


+Brilliant off-road, chunky and good fun

-Not many of the original ones left in the UK, but you can still buy them new

The Lada Niva was an interesting arrival on the UK market when it went on sale here in 1979. It offered much of the ability of a Land Rover, but at two-thirds of the cost. And it pretty much had the market to itself. And viewed exclusively as a bargain-priced off-roader, there was little to touch the Lada Niva. Thanks to the efforts of Mark Key, it's the classic you can still buy new (see 'Buying').

It was described by its designers as a “Renault 5 placed on a Land Rover chassis. It was Lada's first non-Fiat based model. Some of its mechanicals are carried over from the Fiat based Lada models, though the body, four-wheel drive system, and front suspension were exclusively designed by Lada.

The Niva quickly picked up a useful market share despite initially only being available in left-hand drive form. As the ‘80s progressed, right-hand drive arrived, further equipment was added and the engine was upgraded in an attempt to keep up with the Japanese opposition. But the Niva’s strongest suit – the capability of its Russian-developed 4WD system in poor conditions – could not be disguised despite the UK importer’s attempt to turn it into ‘posh-roader’ with versions such as the Cossack.

Ask Honest John

What's a suitable way to sell my 1988 Lada Niva?

"I have a Lada Niva car which my grandfather gave me. It has 0 miles on it, it was stored in a family garage and I recently cleaned it and I am looking to sell it. It has all its interior and exterior original components. I wanted to know around how much is the suitable price for it and who my target buyers should be?"
You do not say whether this is a UK market car or not but if it has zero miles and is essentially a new car then it's a very specialised thing - believe it or not, Ladas have a strong following in the UK. We'd consult a specialist auction house for a valuation, such as Historic or Anglia Car Auctions, but would estimate that your Lada is worth upwards of £10,000 if it's as new.
Answered by Craig Cheetham
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