1997 Lada Riva L 1.7
Glad I had it, but not as good as the older versions
Gearbox: jumps out of 3rd gear when coasting, won't go into 2nd gear from 3rd gear and jumps out when coasting. Have to hold it in gear if I want to engine brake in either of those gears.
Electrics: wiper motor has some kind of fault which causes the battery to drain flat. Solved by unplugging the wipers unless they are needed.
Engine: oil filler cap works loose. Once the smell of burning oil reaches the driver, it's time to pull over and tighten it again.
Steering: it's a late export model, and the steering has been geared to make it much lighter to park in comparison to the older cars... however, it has also become very jumpy at high speed; you could almost be in a 1940s film with all the corrections you make trying to keep it in a straight line on the motorway!
Bodywork: another late export model problem - it has been fitted with liners inside the wheel arches to slow the inevitable spread of rust from within. However, these have been taken off the Niva and cut down to size, rather than designed from scratch. At the rear, not a problem. At the front, when turning the inside tyre catches on the liner and makes an awful noise.
It's fun, but not as fun as the older cars with heavier steering. You can't quite trust it to do what you want as there is no feel from the steering. The power is insane for the car, and the top speed is miles beyond what the brakes are capable of dealing with in an emergency. If I get another Lada at some point in the future, I'll go back to a 1980s car with the 1.2 engine, it's easily the best of the lot.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 30th August, 2016