James May drives the new Lada Niva
The Soviet workhorse is back from the dead. We send a nice chap called May to drive it
Posted: 22 Feb 2011
A bit of a recap. The Niva, launched in 1977, was the first Lada not to be a mere knocked-off Italian saloon. While much of the underbonnet stuff remained Fiatski, the drive system and bodyshell were Lada's own glorious work. It gained a reputation for durability, achieved some success in off-road racing, and found favour with land-owning toffs and other people with no sense of irony.
Today's Niva has been updated in line with the times and now features fuel injection for the 1.7-litre petrol-only engine, modern instruments and "more aerodynamic front indicators". And that, I think, is it, although there is a nebulous claim that the seat upholstery has been improved.