Plenty of rattles, but indestructible!
Old rubber parts were a mess, especially those exposed to elements:
-Rubber gas inlet hose leaked.
-Rubber hose from the cooler leaked intermittently.
-Rubber membranes in the reed valves have disintegrated, rendering windscreen washer pump defunct.
Handbrake grew difficult to operate due to rust.
Rear brake pads have worn out at 134000 km, and were promptly replaced.
Undefined grunting noise from the trunk while cornering, which mysteriously cleared after my car was rear-ended by a drunk driver!
Telescopic suspension of the tailgate failed. Promptly replaced by a state of the art Broomstick (tm).
Previous owner didn't take good care of the dashboard, and it became all crispy from exposure to the sun.
Plastic fittings on the doors had a tendency to rattle at certain speeds.
My car has had a hard life - its left side was struck by a speeding streetcar, I ploughed head-on into a snowdrift, and the car was ultimately rear-ended by a drunk Ford Escort driver. As a result, my poor car looked like it has been to hell and back - several times. Mind you, I'm surprised at how well it survived all those collisions - Ladas are indeed built like tanks and they just keep on ticking even when other cars would give up altogether.
The car always started immediately on the first crank, even in the coldest mornings. Also, Samara never left me stranded by the roadside.
Mechanically, the car was nothing short of seamless. Previous owner had replaced parts of ignition and a battery, but no real work was otherwise evident in the engine compartment.
Rust was not a major issue; there were rusty spots on the tailgate and around the rear wheels, but nothing out of the ordinary for a car of that vintage.
Interior was in a pretty good shape, apart from the dashboard plastic which crackled in a happy random pattern. Seats were reasonably comfortable and in a surprisingly good condition.
Electrics and ignition weren't an issue, but some plugs and connections had a tendency to work themselves loose. In most cases, the only thing required to "repair" a failed part was a hearty punch using an Annoyed Driver's Fist (tm).
The only real problems I had were caused by aging rubber parts; leaky rubber hoses. Then again, you can't expect a rubber hose to last more than 15 years, can you?
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 30th November, 2004