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2021 Lada Niva Travel Has Toyota RAV4 Vibes, Off-Road Version Flaunts a Snorkel

Not to be confused with the original from the 1970s, the Niva II rolled out in 1998 as the VAZ-2123. When AvtoVAZ agreed to enter a partnership with American automaker General Motors, the mini SUV was renamed Chevrolet Niva although there’s hardly anything Chevrolet about it.
2021 Lada Niva Travel 17 photos
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After the biggest of the Big Three dissolved the joint venture one year ago, the Russian automaker decided to switch back to the Lada brand. This gets us to the Niva Travel, which is pretty much the same thing as the standard model except for the looks that have been obviously influenced by Toyota.

From the headlights to the design of the front grille, I can’t blame anyone for calling this fellow a RAV4. As far as the oily bits are concerned, the Niva Travel doesn’t compare to Toyota’s crossover because of a 1.7-liter gasoline engine that rolled out in 1993. Yes, it’s that old under the skin.

Rated at 80 horsepower and 127 Nm (94 pound-feet) of torque, the free-breathing motor is connected to a five-speed manual transmission that leaves much to be desired. For starters, the 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) takes a staggering 19 seconds from a standstill. And secondly, the Niva Travel can’t do better than 87 miles per hour (140 kph).

Manufactured at the Lada West Togliatti assembly plant alongside the regular model, the newest member of the Niva family features permanent all-wheel drive with an open differential, a transfer case with high and low range, and a manual central differential lock. In other words, this thing is considerably more capable off the beaten path than the Toyota RAV4.

Two trim levels will be available at launch, including an Off-Road specification that stands out with the help of a snorkel, unpainted plastic cladding, and chunky rubber. Expected to go on sale next spring, the Niva Travel doesn’t have a price tag for the time being. In all likelihood, AvtoVAZ will charge more than it does for the regular model, which retails from 726,000 rubles in Russia or the equivalent of $9,600 at the current exchange rates.

Editor's note: 2020 Lada Niva also pictured in the gallery.

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