U.S.S.R. and communism historical discussion.
[ Active ]
[ Login ]
Log-in to remove these advertisements.

Lada Niva

Soviet cogitations: 589
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Post 13 Feb 2014, 11:02

Anyone ever own one of these? I’ve heard great things about this 4x4 and how ironic that in the last years of the USSR they finally build a good car for the masses.
If you did own out how did you find its performance on and off-road? Was it affordable for the average worker? I take it the car was actually build to be driven in off-road conditions and not to pose in driving around the town.
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 1032
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Aug 2011, 22:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Party Member
Post 14 Feb 2014, 02:06
We owned three "Lada 1500sl" models in early 1980. Lada Niva was quite affordable in SR Slovenia back in 1980s, my uncle owned one.
I think it was a good car.
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 4512
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 14 Feb 2014, 10:20
The Soviet system wasn't oriented toward the mass production of automobiles for internal consumption the same way as say the US, but there were vehicles produced for those from among 'the masses' that wanted or really needed a car for personal use. Cars were affordable if you were willing and able to save up from your earnings of the course of many years to make the purchase. There were no incentive programs, as far as I'm aware, again because the system was designed to attempt to meet existing demand, not to create new demand via credit, leasing, etc.

The Niva was among these cars for the masses, and probably among the best in terms of durability and practicality. You can still see plenty of actual Soviet Nivas (distinguished by their rear headlights) driving around Russian cities, though not so much in Moscow. You're right Yami that they were designed for offroad conditions, and a few owners I've spoken to have told me that they're not as comfortable to drive in the city. They all had positive recollections of the car, especially the guy that lived in a mountain village with poor roads. One guy did say his car had its problems, though most of them were covered under warranty. He thinks it's because it was built on a Monday (just as with the Big Three in North America, Soviet cars built on Mondays and Fridays seemed to share the problems of laziness/sloppiness component installation).

What amazes me about the Niva is that even today it remains probably the best mass-produced offroad vehicle out there, even if it's not luxurious, like many of its contemporaries. There's many a video on youtube showing Hummers and Range Rovers getting stuck in conditions that Niva easily passes through. The simplicity and durability of the design, like much of Soviet production, is what seems to bring admiration for the Niva.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Soviet cogitations: 589
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Post 14 Feb 2014, 23:06 ... /lada-niva

I have to concur, it looks like the best value for money 4x4 out there.
Seriously I don't think anything would stop this baby!
I love it's 'anti' designer style. It really had a charm of its own. It's a basic, cheap no frills unstoppable motor.
I'd love to own way and wave as I passed Land Rover drivers who were stuck off-road.
Soviet cogitations: 1
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 01:29
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 16 Jul 2014, 01:44
In the 90's brazil have imported lots of Ladas. A friend of mine had a Niva. Nice car indeed.
Alternative Display:
Mobile view
More Forums: The History Forum. The UK Politics Forum.
© 2000- Privacy.