Possibly the most durable car ever made
Not a lot considering the mileage - now into its third time round the clock. Changed the clutch pressure plate once, the fuel pump twice (an easy job and the last one lasted 17 years), all the brakes and brake seals, changed one of the valves after we went to lead free petrol (and never got the timing adjusted), the thermostat, one or two things on the carbie and the radiator electric fan and sensor. Other than that, the only thing that has ever actually broken on the car was the boot catch and I bought a new one for $10.
In all that time, the amazing thing is I have never had to add oil to the diff and only recently topped up the gearbox with a cupful. That was the first time it has taken oil in 20 years of running!
Very hard to fault. I hear jokes about Ladas, but they must be from people who have never owned one or know nothing about them as this car will still be going when all other cars have collapsed. The lada likes the open road and does 90 mph (its not supposed to according to the handbook, but there you go...) Happily cruises at 80-85 on long trips. The car got flooded in a carpark after a big storm and the water went right through the cabin. All other cars in the park had to be towed out - Lexus, BMWs, Nissan Laurels - none of them could go under their own steam, but the Lada started first turn of the key and I drove out after bailing the water out of the passenger cabin. Rust has to be kept at bay, esp in the sills and front guards, but if it's not too bad the metal is so thick you can just sand it down and paint over it. The turning circle is very wide for a small car, so you soon learn to put it on full lock for doing 360 turns.
The gearing (4 sp) is excellent and the twin barrel carb and twin chain drive OHC motor performs more like an 1800 than a 1500, esp on long hills where it leaves others in its wake. It also rides really well over rough roads even full of passenegers.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th March, 2007