Lada Niva

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The Lada Niva or VAZ-2121 (Russian: Лада Нива, Niva (нива) is the Russian word for "crop field") is an off-road vehicle built by Soviet/Russian automaker AvtoVAZ. The car is very popular in its home country. It is also popular in Canada (though withdrawn from sale in 1998), South America, Europe, and other regions where the terrain requires a robust and tough car for a reasonable price. In Australia, popularity is limited as the vehicle is manufactured for a very different climate and as such items such as air conditioning were omitted from the specifications, limiting its appeal.

The car was also called the Lada Sport in Iceland.

It was one of the first mass production off-road vehicles to feature a unibody architecture, independent front suspension and coil suspension, and is a predecessor to current crossover SUVs which nearly all follow this format. Before it was introduced to the UK, it was referred to by some in the motoring press as the 'Russian Range Rover'.

Contents

History

The Niva (2121) was Lada's (VAZ/AvtoVAZ) first non-Fiat based model. Much of its mechanicals are carried over from the Fiat based Lada models, though the body, four-wheel drive system, and front suspension were designed by Lada. Production began in 1977 and continues today (as of 2010) with only minor changes to the engine, rear hatch design, and interior trim levels.

In basic form, the Niva has a carbureted 1.6-litre overhead cam four-cylinder petrol engine producing 54 kW (72 hp) and 126 N·m (93 ft·lbf), a four- or five-speed manual transmission, and full-time four-wheel drive. The four-wheel drive system employs three differentials (centre, front and rear), similar to manual-transmission Toyota FJ Cruisers. There are no locking hubs. The transfer case involves an high/low range selector lever and a central differential lock lever. Low range can be selected with the centre differential locked or unlocked. The original Niva has a maximum speed of around 130 km/h (80 mph), and can cruise at 90 km/h (56 mph) while consuming petrol at 8.25 L/100 km (34.2 mpg-imp; 28.5 mpg-US). Its towing capacity is rated for up to 860 kg (1900 lb).

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