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
This may have been because it was actually quite good. But we'll deal with the on-road stuff first, where the Niva is rather unremarkable. The old-school gearchange is nicely mechanical and the 80bhp engine is reasonably willing and fizzy, although 0-60 takes some 17 seconds of searching for the gearstick. The windscreen wipers are a bit pony. It's fun in the way that driving an Austin Maxi is fun, but it's difficult to shake off the urge to wear a massive coat and speak in a silly Bond-villain accent. In fact the heater works well, but I suppose it would.