2002 Lada Niva 21214 1.7i from F.Y.R.O. Macedonia
Perfect off-road vehicle!
1) Smelled of fuel since brand new.
2) Idle engine speed erratic.
3) Water pump failure.
4) Screen washing fluid canister leakage (serial problem).
5) Heater switch-valve failure.
6) Short lasting catalytic converter (12000 km max).
7) Headlights replaced after 4 years.
In 2005 I converted the engine to LPG (liquid petroleum gas). At first it didn't like it, but after I changed the catalytic converter, the spark plugs and electrical power distribution box, everything was back to normal. I had a computer-controlled direct injection LPG system, so I didn't lose much power and the consumption didn't go up much (less than 10%).
Unless you really take care of the car, it may start to rust quickly. I recommend washing it thoroughly after each and every off-roading in mud or snow, protective-paint the black strips at the footsteps under the doors and the undercarriage. Another good idea is to put protective plastic insertions under the fenders.
All in all, I'd say it is a maintenance intensive vehicle compared to most high end SUVs of today. However, you don't have to work on every day, and what you do have to fix every now and then is a very small price to pay if you are into major off-roading. This car is one of the best off-road vehicles ever built. And it loves cold weather (amazing heating!) and snow! That is its natural habitat.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th May, 2008
How versatile is the Lada Niva! The other day I needed to move some bulky furniture. Instead of hiring a removalist to do the job (expensive), I decided, with the help of a friend, to do the job myself, using my `97 Niva. In a couple of minutes I had removed the front passenger seat (four bolts). The rear seats had been removed previously. In several short trips we moved all the furniture items, including two double beds, chests of drawers, T.V. stand, coffee table, dining table and four chairs etc. The items simply slid in, occupying the full length of the vehicle right up to the dashboard. The longer tailgate, and therefore lower sill, on post `95 Nivas, made the job an absolute snack. It was like having the use of a small pick-up truck! And the bonus was that all furniture items were under cover and not exposed to the weather. The whole job was done in a few hours, and I saved many hundreds of dollars by doing the job myself. The Niva is an absolute delight to own. I`ve had mine for just over six years, and in that time, it has been utterly reliable. To own one of these remarkable 4X4`s, is to know how great they are!