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
Off-road, the Niva starts to make sense as a no-nonsense utility tool kind of thing. It's a very simple car, and looks as though it could be stripped and put back together in an afternoon. It has permanent four-wheel drive and no locking hubcaps or any of that nonsense. There are separate levers for high/low range, and locking diffs à la old Land Rover, and no ABS or anything clever. It's completely mechanical and utterly understandable. You can buy a tow bar, a winch, a snorkel, a lift kit and so on, and you could spend a happy afternoon bolting them on yourself.