2021 Auto News RAV4 SUV Cars

The 2021 Lada Niva Is Really a 20-Year-Old SUV With the Face of a New RAV4

The Lada Niva is a Russian off-road vehicle that began production in 1977, quickly gaining a reputation for being a tough-as-nails solution to conquering the Russian countryside. One of the few Soviet-era cars that could be considered actually good, the Niva was exported all over the world, being especially popular in mainland Europe. Fast forward to 2020, and there’s a new one Lada Niva–and it looks a lot like a Toyota RAV4.

Is it really a new Niva, though? Well, it depends on how you look at it. The original, hardcore Niva is actually still in production, however, back in 1998 GM created a joint venture with the Niva’s manufacturer, VAZ, to produce a more modern version of the car. It had a lot in common with the Original Niva. It received new body panels and an updated interior, making it much safer than the original. It was sold as the Chevy Niva or Lada Niva II until 2020 when Lada bought out GM’s stake in the VAZ deal. Now, they’ve re-designed that ca®lr, which is the RAV4-looking machine we’re seeing today.

This new machine has only been seen in a few photographs, so there’s not much information about stuff like the interior. However, the front-end bears a striking resemblance to the new Toyota RAV4, a car that costs nearly three times as much in Russia. Seeing as the RAV4 is a big seller worldwide, it makes sense that Lada would want to imitate the design. What’s–unfortunately–a bit more difficult to imitate is the RAV4’s performance.

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