1997 Lada Niva from North America


Fun on four wheels


The cylinders flood on the highway, but idles just fine???

General Comments:

Awesome fun, and economical. Just like driving a recreational vehicle to work everyday.

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

Review Date: 7th April, 2009

25th Jun 2015, 13:27

Please help. I cannot find the source of my Lada vibration problem.

1997 Lada Niva Bushman 1.7 injected from Australia and New Zealand


Good car so far, great offroad


Does anyone know why my Niva has got a vibration in 5th gear when traveling between 100-120km/h?

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

Review Date: 12th September, 2006

9th Oct 2006, 10:11

Remember the gearbox & transfer case are TWO separate items that have a rubber drive link between them. That rubber item can deteriorate over time causing excessive vibration. Plus you are heading to the plateau of speed for that unit too! Also, watch out for the backing out of the nut on the end of the engagement fork for the 5th gear, usually indicated by "jumping out" of 5th gear (a tear-down fix of the gearbox). I hope this "helps."


Calgary, AB Canada.

11th Apr 2007, 22:25

5th gear problems may also be due to insufficient lubrication. The manual states 1.35L for the 4 speed box, and 1.55L for the 5 speed box. I advise 1.8 - 2.O Litres transmission oil in the 5 speed box. The car will also run quieter. You can tilt the car to one side, using a ramp under the front wheel, in order to accomodate the extra oil. Use a large syringe with a plastic tube attached, to fill the gearbox (using the top inspection/filling hole). Easy.

What is VERY important, is to adjust the camshaft timing chain - every 10,000kms. Only takes a couple of minutes. Loosen the cap nut (size 13mm.) on the front side of the motor, and then crank the motor over (manually) using a crank handle (clockwise), a couple of times. Make sure the car is in neutral. Then re-tighten the cap nut tightly. Don`t attempt to crank the motor over using the starter motor - as adjustment to the timing chain will not occur properly. Once done, the car will purr along with less vibration and valve noise - and will also have significantly more power.

Happy Motoring to all NIVA enthusiasts!

22nd Nov 2007, 00:57

If 5th gear is used frequently at speeds under 80 km./hr, especially under load, it will start giving problems. It was designed purely as an over drive gear for open road touring - with fuel economy in mind.

Also, if the trannie or the gearbox had at some stage been out of the car, when re-fitted they may not have been aligned properly. This is a common problem- easily adjusted. Best done with car on hoist, in neutral, and engine running. They mate up beautifully when refitted. Cheers.

1997 Lada Niva Hussar 1.7i from UK and Ireland


Just get one and fall in love


Nothing that matters.

Put new tailgate struts on, as the old ones died, but a broom handle did the same.

Soon to change the ball joints and track rod ends, but that's just wear and tear.

Had to put a fuel vapour tank thing in, as mine was missing, strange things previous owners remove LOL.

General Comments:

It's slow and rusty, it smells very odd, it shakes and rolls, and it's thirsty, but I love it so much.

It has charm, is easy to fix, parts in England are cheap at Lada UK Ltd.

When it really breaks, it is very easy to fix.

Great off road and it has a very cult classic style.

If you're poor like me, or want a cool car, buy one. They're dead cheap - mine was £450!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th July, 2006

13th Jul 2006, 20:04

Good review! The Niva is developing a cult status throughout the world as a unique car. It is cheap to buy and maintain, and is fun to drive. It is also VERY safe in case of a collision. The Niva has military origins - its like driving a small tank, that can handle virtually any terrain.