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Lada Niva five-door production to end

After 28 years, Lada will shut the order books on its long-wheelbase Niva 4x4

8 Nov 2021

LADA will discontinue production of its five-door Niva from December, the iconic Russian four-wheel drive to solider on in three-door form until an all-new model arrives in 2024.


The long-wheelbase Niva joined its short-wheelbase sibling in 1993, a 500mm-longer floor pan and rear doors giving back seat passengers an additional 125mm legroom. The remainder of the vehicle – including its 63kW 1.7-litre petrol engine – is unchanged from the three-door model, which has been produced in Russia since 1977.


Lada has produced more than three million Nivas over the past 44 years, but only 100,000 examples of the five-door were built, the go-anywhere rival to Suzuki’s Jimny proving popular in countries where all-terrain ability and no-nonsense mechanicals account for more than high-end driver assistance technologies and safety equipment.


Exclusively 4x4, the Niva three-door retains ‘classic’ design elements including worm and roller steering derived from the Fiat 124 on which it is based. Design of the model began in Soviet Russia in 1971 and was intended for use by “ordinary people in isolated areas”. 


The Niva has largely avoided hi-tech inclusions during its lengthy production run and scored a zero-star EuroNCAP crash rating when tested in 2002.


Lada’s diminutive off-roader is built in numerous facilities across the globe including Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Romania, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Russia.


It has spawned numerous variants over its lengthy production run, including single-cab utility, three-door van, two-door ambulance, police vehicles, and even a five-door ‘carryall’. 


Three-door versions of the Lada Niva were sold in Australia until 1998.


The Niva is expected to be replaced by an all-new – and considerably more modern – compact off-roader in 2024. 


Under the ownership of Renault, Lada’s new Niva is expected to maintain the utilitarian styling of its legendary predecessor, including the distinctive front fascia with its indicators set above the headlights.


The new model will likely be offered with a five-door variant, sketches released earlier this year showing a distinct rear door line with concealed handles. 


It is understood the model will ride on Reanult’s CMF-B modular monocoque architecture and is one of four new models to be released under the Lada nameplate by 2025.


“In the scope of the newly announced Groupe Renault ‘Renaulution’ strategy, AutoVAZ brings its strong business model and competitiveness to the newly introduced Dacia and Lada Business Unit,” the French company announced earlier. 


The launch of the all-new Niva in 2024 will definitely mark an important date for Lada in Russia, but will also open new horizons for the brand,” said Autovaz Group CEO Yves Caracatzanis. 


Lada says the ‘Renault-isation’ of the brand will reduce complexity of the current line-up, with four new models to come from one platform, and 18 body types reduced to 11. 


It says the new models will be “fully fledged international brands” that will garner interest outside of their current markets, the new Niva promising to remain a vehicle “built to defy the most extreme climates and road conditions”.

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