This is the new 2021 Lada Niva Legend 4×4. The same Niva born to the Soviet world in 1977, but slightly different. You still have to use a little key to unlock the doors, and there’s still a gun rack and snow plough on the options list, but now it has a real headlining, extra soundproofing and optional AC. You can also buy it in the UK again, thanks to a small importer in London –

Jonny has always had admiration and respect for this jolly ex-communist cockroach. It has just enough comfort and utilitarian style to feel like one of the late Defenders. Albeit one with healthy turning circle and unquestionable reliability. He knew about the latter from all the stories of when one of these was posted to the Antarctica research station and Everest base camps to live. Nivas are the anti-SUV, and all the more cool for it. Left hand drive only, but they can be bought new from £12k (+vat).

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For more details on these magnificent literal legends head to

Jonny got the exclusive UK test drive of the 2021 model, and enjoyed filming it on and off road during what was Britain’s hottest day of the year thus far. All was going just fine until he encountered what we now know is a fairly unfriendly puddle in the Tixover quarry offroad course. No cones or signs mentioned that what he presumed was a shallow slip way, was in fact a huge step that had claimed the lives of numerous mud pluggers. In fact, it had sunk a Unimog a few weeks previous. A UNIMOG.

Lada Niva dimensions:
Length 3740mm
Width 1680mm
Height 1640mm
Wheelbase 2200mm
Ground clearance 200mm
Approach angle 32 degrees
Departure angle 37 degrees

Suzuki Jimny dimensions:
Length 3645mm
Width 1645mm
Height 1720mm
Wheelbase 2250mm
Ground Clearance 210mm
Approach angle 37 degrees
Departure angle 49 degrees

The Lada is a strong little thing, but this was an unexpected issue. The poor Lada had just 300km on the clock. Handily no carpets – as all Nivas have hose down rubber floors.
Luckily Niva’s are basically brand new classic cars, so within minutes we had the spark plugs out, spun the engine over to purge any water, then removed and tried the air filter intake system. The Niva started and ran, without a hint of smoke or steam.

Aside from the obvious human error we absolutely loved the Lada experience, like Jonny had 10 years ago when green-laning one across the UK for Fifth Gear. The new Legend Niva was a more refined ride and quieter, but still with pleasingly practical exposed screw heads, easily accessible components and excellent boot space. You can buy it in van, pick up, 4 door LWB or even Putin specs. The most expensive version is called the Bronto, and that features lifted suspension, metallic paint (camo is optional) and more tasteful alloys. Or you can keep it Eastern European, with steel wheels, flat paint and windy windows. All have keenly braked ABS and power steering.

Rasputin G-Wagons are going out of production in 2023, and we think there is nothing quite like them – especially now that the Jimny can no longer be bought (in the UK at least). Viva la Niva!

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Jonny Smith
Creative content maker, car presenter & car pervert for hire since ’98

0:00 Intro
0:28 Jimny
1:25 Niva intro
1:48 Supported by Continental tyres
1:58 DIMENSIONS Vs Jimny
2:25 4 door Niva and Jimny coming
7:55 Odd optional extras
8:42 Cheap spares and servicing
11:02 Vladimir Putin spec Niva
12:00 3rd in Paris Dakar in 1981
12:50 Production ends 2023.
13:23 ABS and seat airbag
16:00 Front end design
17:48 Interior cabin design
18:14 Back seats
19:17 Rear end design and boot
20:32 Dashboard and gear sticks
25:18 Verdict
26:13 Rescue + indestructible.

#ladaniva #newladaniva #2021niva #nivalegend #newjimny #nivaextremeoffroad


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