The Lada Niva is built by AutoVAZ, 900 kilometers south of Moscow at Togliatti, a giant vehicle plant employing more than 130 000 people and turning out over 2000 units every day. Currently the factory exports over 140 000 vehicles every year and of these, 60% are Nivas. No other Soviet vehicle has found the following that this truly unimpressive vehicle has and it is testament to the strength of the four-wheel drive market throughout the world that the only widely exported Soviet passenger car should be a four-wheel drive.
The Niva is a very mobile, effective off-roader and pretty awful on-road: Noisy, slow, underpowered and they keep breaking down. Reliability problems and its total lack of parts back-up continue to be the most serious drawbacks of the Niva wherever it is sold
The Niva has a live rear axle and independent front coil spring suspension, which has excellent articulation and permanent four-wheel drive with a lockable centre differential. The interior is reminiscent of a 1975 Fiat 124. Current models have a 4-cylinder 1700cc engine. Models available include the Standard, Safari, Cub, 5-door s/wagon, single cab and double cab pick-up. Advanced option packs include alloy wheels and sunroofs. The Niva is the ideal vehicle for someone who wants to trash their vehicle off-road and then fix it themselves. Otherwise, it is very easy to find something better.