1985 Lada Riva 1500 1.5 petrol from UK and Ireland


It is cheap, but cheerless it is reliable, but plain though simple to maintain


The starter motor was replaced a year after I received the car and again a new starter motor had to be fitted in 1996.

The seats did look frayed and tired long before the verchle was disposed.

The car was also plagued with countinuous electrical faults, which was mainly due to damp getting into the electrics.

The radiator was replaced in 1998 after the car overheated on a motorway.

The engine on a few occasions required new hoses because a few split.

The bodywork looked shabby by 1996 and the car had a few body panels replaced, and eventually failed it's M.O.T requiring considerable amounts of welding.

Other than that some tires have been replaced and a few other consumable items.

General Comments:

The car has been fairly reliable and has only broken down on one occasion.

It is also very cheap to buy and maintain and have found the costs of maintenance pitiful in comparison too many cars in terms of parts cost.

There are pitfalls it rusts and is noisy and slow it's handling is also something to be desired.

With this car however it is cheap and you get what you pay for.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th July, 2005

1985 Lada Riva 1.6 from UK and Ireland


A red skip without the sunroof


Broken front seats.

Window regulators jammed.

Brakes gone.

Exhaust blowing (but sounds good).

Boot lock is broken (replaced with a padlock).

Heater is rubbish.

Rear bumper fell off when I reversed into a row of shopping trollies.

Paint was peeling from the bonnet - then rectified by a gang of grafitti artists.

Dodgy hand brake.

General Comments:

Gauges are in Russian, but are good quality.

Fitted an old Fiat twin cam engine with twin Webber 40s so better performance. I find the best time is to drive it at night otherwise everyone at college would laugh at me (I'm only 18). Can do good burn outs now with Fiat twin cam, and can keep up with XR2's.

The equipment is very basic (can't expect much with these cars) and the gear lever is in a funny position.

The build quality is poor too and everything breaks when you breathe on it. Security is not a problem - who would nick one of these? Although some petty thief decided to 'debadge' it for me.

The quality of the body work is not as bad as you might think and can take a beating.

Not bad for £30 though.

Maybe Lada could have made some money by selling surplus Rivas to the Ministry Of Defence for target practice, or putting them in city centres for kids to skateboard over and paint with spray cans.

Don't get one unless you are skint or someone gives one to you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th April, 2001

22nd Sep 2001, 13:21

The fiat model is tonnes better. Its worth paying a bit more for better quality.

30th Sep 2002, 15:57

I don't agree with that comment, in Poland a Lada Riva costs twice as much as the almost equivalent FSO Fiat 125p because the Lada is much more reliable.

25th May 2003, 14:21

A Fiat 124 may be better, if you can find one that hasn't rusted away.

6th Dec 2003, 01:15

Fiat better than Lada? - only in another time-space continuum... I have several friends with Fiats - not one had a good word to say about them - one told me he had more trouble with his 124 than his other 5 cars combined - and I got the distinct impression he wasn't exaggerating! Anyway, surely 99.9999% of 124s rusted away years ago...

25th Oct 2004, 09:41

Fiats are better than Ladas, but not by a huge amount. But my Dawes bicycle is also better than a Lada.