1992 Lada Niva Utility 1.6 litre


A good budget four wheel drive


This Car is typical Lada.

The wiring and electricals could be better.

Overall fit and finish very average.

No major faults.

General Comments:

Lada's are not for people wanting to get places fast.

They require mechanical participation on the part of their owners to keep them running well.

Having said that they are easy to work on with the only major hassles being access to some components.

They are for people that want a good and rugged four wheel drive on a budget. To use as a four wheel drive.

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

Review Date: 16th October, 2003

1997 Lada Niva GL 1.6 carburettor petrol


A fully enclosed farm tractor with radio


The rear bench seat would unlock and fold forward if I braked too hard.

The car would smell strongly of petrol when entering the car.

The "fuel empty" light would light up when turning a corner.

The headlights would flood with water when crossing rivers.

General Comments:

The Lada Niva was a mountain goat off road. It's good ground clearance and attack/departure angles meant it could handle very rough ground easily.

On road comfort left a lot to be desired. The original off road tyres were extremely noisy at any speed over 20km/h.

Acceleration was below par when compared to most cars built in the 1990's.

This car may be OK for a second car purely for off-roading, but don't purchase it as a family car, as the rear seat issue would be a death trap for children even in a minor accident.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 27th June, 2003

16th Oct 2003, 04:26

A very accurate description of the Niva. Exactly the same experiences as I've had with mine.. But a great car for the money.. Thousands of dollars cheaper then any other "real" 4WD.

19th Mar 2004, 08:29

A very cheap 4WD, and a good off road car. That's the whole idea.

27th Jan 2005, 04:03

I had a Niva when my kids were teenagers. I never had a problem with the back seat, but the anchorages for the front seats were a bit flimsy. Yes, my headlights filled with water too.

I bought it for its off-road ability and I was constantly impressed. The low gearing, long suspension, large tyres and small overhangs were amazing in the rough stuff.

Its lack of power steering was a pain at parking speeds on the road, but I had two sets of wheels which worked well. I used the standard wheels and tyres for weekends away and wider wheels with street tyres during the week. With the wide rims it handled well on the road for a 4WD.

I look back on it as the most fun I ever had in a car despite its poor build quality when compared with Japanese offerings. I guess I appreciated the driving experience so much I put up with the build quality.