1991 Lada Niva Cossack 1.6 petrol and LPG


Buy a new one, they're cheap enough


On the day I bought it I burned out the coil, by sitting in the cab with the engine off, but ignition on, trying to work out the dash gadgets. By the time we could smell smoke the $120 sports coil was toast. Japanese cars don't do that!

It would never start on LPG, had to be on petrol. Mechanic told me it would need an original Lada air intake to be modified, as the after-market intake it had was the problem. Never got around to fixing that.

One wheel bearing had to be replaced and the cost was horrendous. Any parts and labour at the Lada dealers cost an arm and a leg.

General Comments:

Driving the Lada, once it was up and moving, was great fun, with the full-time 4WD, the retro interior, sunroof, stereo, 5 speed. At slow speeds it was like a tractor, if there was ever a car needed power steering it was this. I was told that low-profile tyres can make steering easier, but you sacrifice off road ability.

Off road ability was amazing. Anything a Suzuki jeep can do, the Niva can do just as well, and has better suspension and more comfortable long distance.

This would be a great car if it weren't for the general unreliability! If you replaced everything that could be replaced, i.e. built yourself a new car, it might be quite good for a while.

There are diesel converted Nivas running around down here, I think they use a Toyota 2L. That could be a really good combination.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th December, 2003

30th Apr 2005, 22:17

2 liters diesel? You've got it. This is just what I'm driving at the moment. 1996 Niva with Toyota 2 liter motor. Can't fault it. Gets me wherever I want to go, never left me stranded, also fuel economy is very good. Important when converting to diesel: pay particular attention to the quality of alignment of drive train, as some bell housings are less than perfectly machined and assembled after conversion. This is my second Niva, first one was 1984 1.6 liter petrol, and the one I'm driving now leaves the first one for dead.

1993 Lada Niva 4WD petrol


Very expensive in the long run


Head gasket, drive shafts, loose bolts everywhere, electrical - just about everything that can go wrong did.

General Comments:

The only good think is that Niva in an incredible off road vehicle. On it is just bad in every way.

At the time I could not afford Hilux so I bought cheap Niva which in the end has turned out to be more costly than hilux due to constant repairs. Apart from that It was a great fun 4WD which goes anywhere so I have some good memories, but would never buy one again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 5th December, 2003

26th Sep 2005, 09:39

Shame everything had to be so expensive. But then I suppose if I called out for a plumber every time a tap washer had to be changed in my kitchen or bathroom, I too would be complaining about the amount of money I was spending.

5th Dec 2005, 23:40

I think it`s interesting how certain "reviews" seem to have an agenda, which is to do nothing, but criticise a vehicle, with sweeping (and always) negative generalisations- but never anything specific. This appears to be one of them. The reviewer has probably never even driven a Niva! He claims literally EVERYTHING was wrong with the car- but doesn`t really tell us anything in any detail. He buys a 1993 model in 1993 with 70,000 miles on the clock? That`s strange. What is even stranger, is that in Australia, the odometer is calibrated in km. NOT miles!

If he IS genuine, (highly unlikely), then he`s a pretty hopeless owner, who obviously is devoid of even the most basic mechanical skills, and the BEST thing he did was to step out of the Niva, and pass it onto a more conscientious and caring owner. If he reads some of the other reviews, he might realise how many satisfied Niva owners there are out there- and at least their reviews are genuine.