1998 Lada Niva 1.7i from Australia and New Zealand
Basic but dependable
Water pump failure (twice), but you get plenty of warning, and it's cheap to buy and easy to install.
A non-standard alternator was fitted by the previous owner, and I've had several issues with charging and belt tension.
Rear brake lockup and vibration - solved by replacing the brake shoes, which were well short of worn out.
Bad driveline vibration - solved by greasing the splines on the tail and intermediate shafts.
Bad oil leak from transfer case - needed new seals.
Diff lock disengages itself and needs to be held on. I've heard this problem goes away if you use it more.
Driver's seat padding has shifted. It's not bad enough to make me fix it.
LH window winder is stiff, and the handle consequently broke.
This car has been a gem. It was cheap to buy and it's cheap to own. The fuel economy is not great (averages 10 l/100km), but every other aspect of owning it is cheap.
I do most of my own servicing, because it's so simple and easy. You don't even have to jack it up to change the oil.
While some things have worn out, it's never broken down and left me stranded. Barring battery issues, it starts first time, every time.
I haven't taken it off road a great deal, but when I have, it's obviously very capable.
It's not very powerful, but generally keeps up with around town traffic. Compared to some small 4WDs (with leaf springs), it's quite comfortable and handles well.
Except for the heavy steering and cramped footwell, it's easy to drive. I even taught my sons to drive in it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 2nd April, 2012