2016 Lada Niva Review – Exclusive!

Check out our Middle East exclusive review of the 2016 Lada Niva now on sale here

By Shahzad Sheikh

Click below now to watch our Middle East Exclusive review of the 2016 Lada Niva.

Yep, the legendary little Russian 4×4 is now on sale in the region. Brought in by Danaks Motors – based in the Ajman Car Souk, you can pick up a brand new Niva from just AED35,500 ($9,500) or AED37,500 ($10,000) if you opt for the six-month warranty. Yep you read that right, six months only. You might as well save the two grand and go for the lower price. And there are service centre in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman.

2016 Lada Niva review

Electric windows and mirrors, power steering and ABS brakes, as well as air-conditioning are standard on this ‘Urban Sahara’ model that is adapted to the Middle East with better cooling.

2016 Lada Niva review

They also modify the cars, and the one we drove had extended wheel arches, a snorkel, and steel front bumper with room for a winch. All cars are full-time 4×4 and come with a five-speed manual transmission. Plus levers for diff-lock and hi and low ratios – proper old-skool off-roaders!

2016 Lada Niva review

They are powered by a 1.7-litre four-cylinder putting out 92bhp (now with Bosch fuel injection), in a car that weighs only about 1200kg, though our car with its mods was probably slightly heavier.

2016 Lada Niva review

That’s all the figures I have, but I’d guestimate about 100lb ft of torque, and a 0-100kph time in about a quarter minute and a top speed of barely knocking on the door of 150kph despite the optimistic 200kph dial on the instrument panel.

2016 Lada Niva review

Having said all of that though, this car seemed to have plenty of real-world go as you can see in the video above, and certainly wasn’t one to embarrass itself. Once I got used to the slightly slippy clutch (probably unique to this well-used only demo car) it never felt sluggish or slow.

2016 Lada Niva review

Best of all was its performance in a bit of sand in what appeared to be the local dump site that we tried it on. Sure it’s been raining lately, but that just meant we didn’t have to deflate. The little Niva happily scampered all over the place like a mountain goat, and all of it in a surprisingly wide second gear band well able to access all the torque at hand.

2016 Lada Niva review

With the power steering and reasonable light control, this was no way near as harsh or heavy to drive – I imagine tractor-like controls – as I was expecting. In fact only the slightly notchy gear change needs a bit of a firm hand, otherwise anyone can drive it. And being tall, narrow and compact with excellent all-round visibility, this would make an easy companion around town, with all the ability you’d need if you want to go adventuring.

2016 Lada Niva review

And for the money – you don’t have to be too precious about it. Plus, don’t forget it’s designed to take and shrug off abuse. You get the sense it’ll put up with anything you can throw at it, as long as you sneak a glass or two of Vodka into its petrol tank. Er… Don’t really do that of course.

2016 Lada Niva review

Frankly a fun-to-drive and bash-proof little runabout that is simply too hard to argue against given the money you’re spending on it. It’s a toy, it’s your daily-driver, it’s a workhorse. Get it. Love it!

4 responses to “2016 Lada Niva Review – Exclusive!”

  1. Abdulkarim says:

    Great review thank you very much.

    please let me know if the car can handle the hot weather here and what about the A/C performance?

    also does it have only rear or rear/front diflocks?

    thanks again for the great review.

    • admin says:

      It’s got an uprated Nissan A/C now, and we’ve already seen a couple driving around this summer – beyond that we can only based our experience on the short drive we had in the car, and it felt pretty robust.

  2. tony says:

    does it overheat in a hot weather country … ?

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