Viewed exclusively as a bargain-priced off-roader, there was little to touch the Lada Niva when it arrived on the scene in 1979. It quickly picked up a useful market share despite initially only being available in LHD form. As the ‘80s progressed, RHD arrived, further equipment was added and the engine was upgraded in an attempt to keep up with the Japanese opposition. But the Niva’s strongest suit – the capability of its Russian-developed 4WD system in poor conditions – could not be disguised despite the UK importer’s attempt to turn it into ‘posh-roader’.
Price at launch: