Lada Riva Review 2024

Lada Riva At A Glance


+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

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...

Ask Honest John

I have an old Lada Riva. It seems a pity to scrap it, but does it have any value?

"I've inherited my father's old Lada Riva 1200. It's rusty and hasn't run for 14 years, but it was owned by him alone since new and the actual one on display at the Motor Show the year he bought it. It seems a pity to simply scrap it, but does it have any value? It has an unremarkable E-reg number plate. Is that of any value and worth retaining? Thank you for your thoughts."
While the following for Lada's is getting stronger, a typical one in this condition is probably worth about £250. However, yours is no typical car and has some decent historical value. You should make contact with the Lada Owners' Club (you can find them on Facebook). They're a great bunch and I'm sure they'll agree with me when I say the car is far too important to scrap.
Answered by Keith Moody
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