To the poster who wrote:
"I got a Suzuki X-90 4x4 with all the options, in great running shape that only needed a fender, mirror, and basic maintenance for 2000."
That's great, but the problem here that you've saved $500 while putting yourself in driver's the seat of a Suzuki X-90. Almost nonexistent off-road ability aside, this is a vehicle whose looks will cause bystanders to burst into fits of hysterical laughter while questioning your sexual orientation every time you get behind the wheel.
Nivas are so ugly they're cool. The mechanicals are pretty unburstable, provided you follow the maintenance requirements. If you go off-road, it won't get stuck in the first mud puddle you run across. More space inside than a Suzuki Samurai (good little 4x4s, incidentally) without the footprint of a Wrangler; this is a bonus on tight trails. Squeaks and rattles? You betcha. It was, after all, a product of Communist-era quality control - but really, it's no worse than most other basic 4x4s.
Of course, where the X-90 comes out on top was that each and every one came straight from the factory with a copy of Aqua's 'Barbie Girl' loaded into the cassette player. The fact that you couldn't actualy eject the tape and replace it with something more macho (like, say, Abba or Erasure) was irrelevant since it would give the driver something to primp to while waiting for the friend with the RAV4 to come drag them off of the wet grass.
The last comment was just fantastic - I've just come back from Malta where I rented a Niva (and a Samurai, as it happens) and both were terrible vehicles to drive, but ultimately pretty endearing. I took both of them off road, and although noisy, uncomfortable and crude, they both gave the impression that they'd carry on forever on a rutted, 1 in 2 gradient stream bed, whereas I can't see the x-90 cutting the mustard in the same circumstances. Well, just look at it...
ROFLMAO - Tony Lees.
The NIVA originated in the late 1970`s and is uniquely Russian in concept and design. Unlike other models in the VAZ range, which borrowed heavily from FIAT, the NIVA is unique. It was the first 4x4 in the world, to have a unitary body design- later copied by RAV-4 and CRV. It was also innovative in the design of it`s all-independent coil suspension system- later copied by RANGE ROVER and others. The NIVA is the best value 4x4 vehicle in the world for the price- get one now, whilst they`re cheap- and before too many people wake up! I am on my second NIVA, and apart from normal maintenance items, have not had any major problems. As far as looks go, the NIVA is really great- I`ve had nothing, but complimentary comments over the years- notwithstanding the fact that the design is now over 25 years old! It looks like a REAL "jeep"- solid and rugged, and it`s body strength is legendary.
I like them. I just sadly taken my Suzuki Samurai off the road, but came across a deal I couldn't pass up... Had been looking for another Sammy or a Niva, but Leprechauns are more common than these 4x4's around here...
The deal I couldn't pass up. An X90 in mint condition for $2500 Canadian ($47.50 US approx). It's a wicked little machine! After I got the window's tinted so nobody could see me driving it, I threw on a set of 215/75 R15's. They raise it a few inches, improve the handling and 'man-it-up' a bit. The seafoam green paint and pink stickers (any idea why they didn't sell?) will be traded for Tremclad flat black paint ASAP. After that I'll be proud to drive it.
Niva's and Samurai's are great. Still use my Samurai for logging (low range = logs removed) and on the quad bike trails while my neighbour does the same with his Niva. Not the kind of work you would/could do with the style-first SUV's that proliferate.
There's SUV's and then there's 4x4's...