The Lada Niva Makes It Into Its Sixth Decade With Only Minor Changes

Illustration for article titled The Lada Niva Makes It Into Its Sixth Decade With Only Minor Changes

I’m a big fan of vehicles that can continue to sell without major updates for many years. You see this in motorcycles a lot: the Yamaha TW200, the Honda XR650L, and the Suzuki DRZ400 have all been going on unchanged for a long time. You see it in cars and trucks, too, like the 16-year-old Nissan Frontier, or Dodge’s entire lineup. But Lada is on another level.

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One of the longest-running vehicles globally is the Lada 4x4. Formerly the Lada Niva, a Russian word meaning “crop field”, the 4x4 has been produced by AvtoVAZ since 1977. There have been changes, mostly to the powertrain in the form of fuel injection, more powerful engines, and better transmissions. But the basic design has been the same since its inception back when Vladimir Putin was still a fresh young face at the KGB.

Illustration for article titled The Lada Niva Makes It Into Its Sixth Decade With Only Minor Changes
Image: Alden Jewel (Flickr)
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For 2020, the company is updating the car ever so slightly, while still maintaining the same design and architecture. The updates include new sun visors, better sound insulation, more comfortable seats, a new climate system, and an emergency response system activated by the airbag. Also cup holders.

Illustration for article titled The Lada Niva Makes It Into Its Sixth Decade With Only Minor Changes

It looks a bit like a ’90s Kia inside, but that likely won’t deter any buyers. If you want a 4x4 with legendary off-road prowess, and you have half a million rubles to spend, this is the one you want.

Matt Brown is an automotive engineer, writer, and builder of unconventional things. Mostly vehicles.

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DISCUSSION

atcgnome
The Stig's Chamorro cousin (Chamorrovirus)

That’s nada lada changes.