1995 Lada Riva 1500E 1.4 petrol from UK and Ireland


Cheap and OK so long as you know what to expect


Not having had the car long, it became apparent that a few jobs needed doing, noteabley a wheel bearing and full service, both jobs an absolute doddle that I did myself in a very short time. parts are dirt cheap too.

The heater fan makes a screeching noise sometimes, that's a job for the future as the car still runs fine without it.

In common with a lot of eastern block cars the paintwork had faded to a a chalky colour, an hour with T cut rectified this.

General Comments:

As you would expect from a car in this price range fit and finish is not the best, the dash and interior look and feel like what they are, designed in the 60's. It doesn't drive as bad as you would expect, handling is acceptable if you respect its limitations, performance is adequate, it runs out of steam at around 85mph, but is happier at 65-70. Lack of torque and the aerodynamics of a breeze block limit its speed rather than running out of revs. it's comfy enough to drive providing you don't have too far to go, I can't seem to get very comfortable in it and the steering wheel and pedals are offset to the centre of the car.

Fuel economy is not too bad bearing in mind this vehicle has a catalytic converter which "strangles" the engine, it never being designed for a cat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd November, 2004

1995 Lada Riva Saloon 1.5 petrol from UK and Ireland


Faster than...erm...walking


When I bought it for a cheap temporary hack, it already had well-established corrosion to both front wings. This was not a major concern as image was the last thing on my mind (It's a LADA!!!). A bit of mesh and fibreglass did a passable job on a non-MOT problem.

Ignition switch developed an intermittent fault, refusing to start on occasions. A reasonable simple fix for the DIY'er with an hour to spare.

Heater fan bearings gave up, although the racket from the engine bay more or less drowned out the screeching fan.

General Comments:

It's a car. You get in it and go to your destination. You stop. You get out. That's what it's made for, that's what it does. Nothing more.

I notice on the example comments "this car... handles like it's on rails". Well, this is partly true of the Riva. Unfortunately, the rails this car is on are of the British Railways standard, so expect a derailment on a regular occasion!

Trim is very basic, but what more do you expect? Rattles and squeaks aplenty. Switchgear is basic, but functional, the controls are sloppy.

On the plus side, if you want to save money on gymnasium fees, buy one of these cars - the steering will give you the upper-body strength of Mr Universe after a few weeks! = But don't be too eager to spend those saved gym fees on extravagances - you'll need to fill this car up regularly as it is thirstier than George Best!

But maybe I'm being unfair. After all, it makes no claim to be a sports car. It's a people and luggage carrying box on wheels and that is all. And it does have a big boot, even if the rear suspension is not strong enough to cope if you actually fill it up!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 20th September, 2003

29th Sep 2003, 13:27

Rear suspension is prone to failures on these old Ladas, especially if your car is fixed to run on propane gas and you're carrying a gas tank in the boot. You'll be rewarded with a happy clunk-a-KRUNK sound from the trunk while driving over the bumps, maybe after a year or so.

25th Jan 2004, 05:54

I bought my Lada 18 months ago needing something to take me to work (I work in forestry and live on a farm). I have found the car very robust and and handle country lanes and forest roads very well. I find the seats comfy and the large boot very useful. I don`t go over 65mph because it then starts to weave. Also the steering is very heavy making parking a nightmare. fuel consumption is not bad though, 50mpg on a run. It tends to rust a fair bit too. We took it to Holland last year for a holiday and had no problems. Not a bad car if only the steering was better.

14th Apr 2004, 08:36

What is a Lada Riva??

I have never heard of one, and after all I live in Russia... Probably, it's one of the Russian models that was renamed for export (why on Earth they did that I can't imagine), but I have no idea which one...

21st Dec 2012, 18:33

I think it's the Vaz2107 that was renamed the Riva for the UK market. The car is based on old FIAT 124 designs. I like them actually.