Selling your classic car? It's FREE to list your car on Honest John Classics | No thanks

Lada Niva (1977 - )

Last updated 31 July 2013


Buying Guide


  • Lada's 4x4. Dates back to the 1970s, but quite good if your need is for a tough, basic 4x4.
  • 12' 2" long by 5' 6" wide and 1,210kg to 1,550kg.
  • 79bhp 1.6 engine. 5-speed gearbox with high and low range transfer box.
  • Usual Lada full tool kit supplied.
  • Low range gears, short wheelbase and diff lock made it very good off road.
  • Later cars had Suzuki-like front. Some have been fitted with aftermarket PSA XUD diesel engine. Should be next to nothing cheap. 
  • Revived in 2011 by Mark Key. Two models available: a van version, at  £8,695 plus VAT, and a car version at £10,974. LPG conversion £534, but takes up load space behind rear seats. Optional snowplough.
  • All left hand drive.
  • Engine 4 cylinder petrol, 1,690cc,  now fitted with Bosch fuel injection and E5. Power 80bhp at 5000rpm; Torque 95lb ft at 4000rpm; Gearbox Dual-ratio 5-spd manual.1.7-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine.
  • Dashboard replaced with a new VDO instrument pack.
  • Very basic, hose washable rubber floor mats.
  • Very noisy.
  • Top speed 91mph; 0-60mph 16.3sec; Economy 33mpg; C02 225g/km.
  • More at: , including used Lada Nivas, everything you need to know.


  • Very noisy, slow, thirsty and dated. Quite a small cabin (looks like a Fiat 127 on stilts).
  • Trim not up to the job. Horrible to drive on the road (swaps ends in the wet).
  • Obstructive gearbox.
  • Imports ended in 1996, but were revived in 2011 by Mark Key.


  • Make all the usual working 4x4 checks as these aren't bought for status and are bound to have been hammered off road.
  • Look for leaking gaskets and seals in the axles, gearbox and transfer case.
  • Check the hub bearings and steering bushes carefully.
  • Look for rock damage to sump and axles. Expect the seat trim to have fallen apart.
  • Expect some rust. If there are holes on the surface panels, check the structure very carefully with an old screwdriver.
  • Be highly suspicious of fresh underseal
Back: Introduction