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Lada Riva (1981 - )

Last updated 31 July 2013

Roomy, cheap - if you can find one - and endowed with lots of classic appeal despite not actually being that old
Styleless, heavy to drive, stolid handling, if you don't get them - you really don't get them
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The Lada Riva might have been new on the UK market in 1984, its origins were origins were firmly rooted in the 1960s. Known as the VAZ 2015 and 2107 in its home country, and Lada Nova in the rest of Europe, the Riva was a reskin of the original 1200-1600 series that had been on sale in the UK since the mid-1970s. The square-rigged styling, and simple mechanics were old hat when launched, but the bargain basement prices meant that through the tough years of the 80s, these cars found a significant following in the UK.

They were derided by the chattering classes, for their poor build, stodgy driving experience and duff styling, but Ladas were fundamentally reliable, simple to work on and utterly rugged. By the mid-1990s, sales started to drop off, but it was actually EU emmissions requirements that forced the Riva out of the UK market in July 1997. The Riva was built until 2012 in the giant Togliatti factory in Russia, and are still built in Egypt. The Riva has a loyal classic following in the UK - quirky classic driving experience and ostalgie are probably the reason for this...

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