1978 Lada 2103 1.5 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


A compact, but roomy car that should easily go beyond 200,000 miles - not bad for 1.5 litres


Clutch and brake cylinders needed replacement, as did water pump (all after high mileages)

Original carburettor was missing some parts and was hard to start.

Replaced driver's seat after stitching came apart (also after high mileage).

Valve grind done at 150,000 miles, when the mechanic told me the engine was otherwise like new and had no wear at all!

General Comments:

I have heard some negative comments on Ladas, but most of these are from owners of cars built in the few years after the collapse of the USSR when supplies and workmanship were erratic.

Likes the open road and long trips, and happily cruises effortlessly at 80+ mph.

Chrome work still like new after 25 years.

Very safe - passenger cell has double reinforcing in B and D posts. Door panels and roof also reinforced.

Performs and handles well, even with 4 or 5 passengers. Also tows a good sized trailer/load with very strong monoque body.

Totally reliable and easy to work on - a child could maintain it!

Original carburetor was very dodgy - tried repairing it, but ended up getting another one altogether. No further problems.

You never get tired or uncomfortable driving it on long trips.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th December, 2003

27th May 2004, 10:16

I owned a VAZ2103 (LADA 1500) produced at 1979. When I bought it second hand at 1997, it was 18 years old and about 170 000 km. I ran on it more than 70 000 km for 4 years and excluding consumptives as oil, filters, spark plugs (1 time), etc, I had to replace just few things. In my opinion that car is a very reliable, cheap-maintenance and low-costs running car. It can't impress you with any special feature, but it shows the good sides of old automotive technology - simple to maintain and reliable in all conditions of use.

1980 Lada 2103 1300DL 1.3 from Sweden


The cheapest and most reliable transportation possible


Starting motor got stuck at 50000 kilometers. Possibly because this car was used for only 47000 kilometers the first 21 years. I replaced the clutch just after purchasing the car. This happened at a low mileage. The previous owner was an old man. Old men seem to wear clutches badly. I never replaced the clutch of my last Lada 2103 during the six years I owned it.

General Comments:

Using a 23 year old car as a daily driver might not seem to be a good idea. My car is just as reliable as any brand new car.

The comfort tells a lot about the roots of this car: Mid 1960's.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th April, 2003

4th Oct 2003, 00:10

Good Car, I love this car, I have had a lada for a long time.

15th Jan 2006, 06:45

Are you high? This is possibly the worst car I've ever driven, looked at or heard of.

16th Jan 2006, 01:14

I doubt very much you`ve ever driven one. Since you don`t give any reason (s) to back up your snide remark about the Lada, I don`t accept your comment as having any substance, whatsoever. Comments like yours, are simply stupid.

29th Mar 2010, 18:26

My Dad has owned Lada Rivas for 30 yrs. He used to get jibes for driving a Russian car in the UK, as did I as a kid. But I firmly agree that this car is highly reliable, a solid workhorse and is east to maintain. It is also far more comfortable to ride in than many new cars on the road today, due to its heavy duty suspension and thick-gauge steel construction. The car is an old 1960's design, but so what? I think it is great!

1976 Lada 2103 1.6 from Estonia


Road runner

General Comments:

I can always relay on my Lada because it's made in Russia and it won't ever surprise me in a bad way.

Parts are very cheap to buy, however in 24 years of owning this car I have never done any major repairs, only just the little ones.

This car is fast for its age, even last year I was nearly having a heart-attack when I noticed that the car's speed was 170 which is very good result for even a 2 year old Lada.

The engine is very good. It started in the winter with -25 degrees Celsius. Can you believe it?

The one and the only fault in this car is its radiator. It must be replaced in every 2 or 3 years. All the rest is best. When you think I'm not writing the truth, then try it and you won't regret it!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st September, 2001

9th Feb 2004, 13:31

Well, I didn'y notice any problems with the radiator, until after 20 years it got rusty, so I had to replace it. However it has a major problem with the interior heating valve, I've replaced it million times, but it start to leak over and over again.

4th Jun 2004, 04:13

My 2103 has got the original radiator, but I share you view on the heater valve, but if you use a good anti freeze like the one from Mercedes Benz then it should be OK. It worked in my car as it's only had two valves in 25 years.

3rd Dec 2005, 00:13

Regarding your radiator - I suspect something in the water you are using and/or lack of a suitable antifreeze. I still have the same radiator and heater valve in my 2103 after 200 000 mls without any problems (I also have 2 much older cars than my Lada, both of which still have their original radiators too). You must use a good quality antifreeze and boil any water before you add it to the radiator. This removes any chlorine that is often present in tap water and which can cause corrosion.

17th Aug 2006, 21:52

My BA3 2103, acquired in 1976, has been excellent, but I suggest that the mechanism of the clutch is studied, because it is the cause of many problems. Also, the hinges of the doors loosen. Nevertheless, I consider it an excellent car.