1986 Lada Riva 1200L 1.2L from UK and Ireland


A car for adventures... not necessarily in the slow lane!


Had to have the floor welded up, but not a single mechanical problem in 24000 miles.

General Comments:

A wonderful car - took it with me from England to the Czech Republic, then on to France. Importing a Lada into France is not the work of a moment (try 4 months of bureaucracy!), but it was worth it in the end. Went back and forth across Europe several times (top speed 150kph, but happy to cruise at 130kph for hours on end), and also used the car for a Paris-region daily commute for a few years.

The fuel consumption was much lower than the published figures after I got the engine tuned by a Russian mechanic in Prague, I'd recommend searching yourself out one if you get a Lada!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th March, 2015

1986 Lada Riva 1200 1.2 from Russia




Heater won't turn off so windows have to be open whenever its warm. fuse board needs occasional taking apart and putting back together otherwise things stop working.

General Comments:

Lovely. we call her bessie which seems to fit.full of character. the children were horrified when she came home, but now shes part of the family.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th May, 2006

1986 Lada Riva L 1.2 petrol from UK and Ireland


Cheap work horse for the seriously under funded!


Alternator required minor work.

Drivers seat broke (back would not stay in place)

Water collected in head light.

Wiring connection to rear lights tended to come off.

General Comments:

This was my second car and as a student I could not afford to purchase anything expensive, giving me the choice of an ancient western car or a reasonably new Lada Riva. My previous car had been a 7 year olf Ford Escort that rusted away on me so I bought the Lada.

The car was quite roomy and had very comfortable seats. She was no racing car, but did the job and was cheap to insure for a 19 year old.

With the exception of the drivers seat which broke the car give me very little trouble. I was able to buy a seat from a scrap dealer which give no further trouble.

The slightly irritating connector for the rear lights was fixed with an elastic band.

All in all it was a good buy for someone on a tight budget. I owned another Riva after this which again give good service and a Samara which was very unreliable.

I regret that Lada is no longer available in the UK. Not that now that I am an earner I would buy another one, but it is a shame that people now no longer have a truly budget option into the world of motoring.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st October, 2003

1986 Lada Riva 1.2 from UK and Ireland


Tongue in cheek fun for peanuts


Carburettor idle diaphragm split, took ages to diagnose.

Clutch went (at least it went slowly)

Front wings rusted right through.

Floor rusted through, due to design fault - the chassis outriggers fill with mud.

Clutch hydraulic system needed complete replacement.

Heater water valve jammed on "cold"

Heater fan made a tremendously bad noise.

Famous flat spot.

General Comments:

A good fun car, if you are a fast driver a slow car like this means you can have fun and stay alive. However, you have to up-rate the suspension first.

Very cheap parts, through specialist mail order. Almost everything can be fixed by the side of the road.

Almost becoming a classic (with plenty of irony). Mine is lowered, resprayed, bumpers removed etc. I get some looks (!)

It is a reliable car, all the faults above are normal for a 16 year old car, it will do 70 on the motorway, and is roomy enough for a small family.

An acquired taste for people who don't take them selves too seriously.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th November, 2002