Brilliant concept that reflects a REAL 4x4!
The gearbox was noisy, due to a faulty bearing. The car had a 3 month warranty, and the dealer rectified the problem.
Original electronic ignition module failed, and was replaced with a Bosch unit.
Headlight beams needed re-adjusting - too low.
Rear stop light - in one tail-light - was not working.
Steering was quite heavy. Previous owner had fitted wide alloy wheels, plus steering adjustment nut had been set too tight.
Plastic trim alongside clutch pedal was cracked and had broken away. There is not much clearance between this side panel and the pedal - on a R.H.S. drive Niva.
A number of small niggling problems like rattles from the plastic interior trim panels - which I fixed myself by inserting small strips of double-sided tape into the crevices where the panels were not flush with the bodywork.
Apart from some minor faults, the Niva is extremely well made.
It is a strong, "no frills", go anywhere vehicle - in other words, a true 4x4! It is not pretentious nor is it loaded up with unnecessary gimmickry.
The Niva has incredible torque, and when in 1st. gear, in low range, and with the diff. lock engaged, it will literally "walk vertically up a tree" - well, almost.
On the open road, the Niva will cruise all day in 5th. gear, in high range, at speeds of up to 120-130km./hr. However, it does get quite noisy at these speeds, and some extra sound-proofing should have been a consideration in the design.
The Niva is inexpensive to run and service, and above all, it is extremely reliable. Not a car for everyone, however. More suited to buyers who have some basic mechanical knowledge and skills. Most Niva owners do their own maintenance and servicing. Parts are accessible and cheap.
My current car is a later model Niva (1.7L), and has been thoroughly reliable.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st October, 2006