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2022 Lada Niva Gets Poverty-Spec Classic '22 Version, Simplicity Defines It

On April 5th, the Lada Niva turned 45 years old. Originally dubbed VAZ-2121, the Russian off-road utility vehicle is the world’s first series-production overlander with unibody construction. Essentially the predecessor of modern crossovers like the Suzuki Vitara, the reassuringly simple Niva sold approximately 2.5 million examples in over 100 markets.
2022 Lada Niva 7 photos
2022 Lada Niva2022 Lada Niva2022 Lada Niva2022 Lada Niva2022 Lada Niva2022 Lada Niva
Developed independently by engineers at the Volga Automotive Plant, hence the VAZ in VAZ-2121 and AvtoVAZ, this fellow combines monocoque construction with independent suspension and permanent four-wheel drive for proper off-road capability, as expected of a Russian SUV.

Succeeded by the Niva Travel, the first generation still is produced because Russia doesn’t really have a choice for the time being. The GDP per capita in the Russian Federation was nearly $12,200 last year, a far cry from the $69,230 stateside. Given these economic circumstances, as well as the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Niva soldiers on in the largest country in the world by area with little in the way of upgrades from the first generation.

In light of the sanctions applied by the western world, the Niva lineup has been expanded with a back-to-basics trim level dubbed Classic '22. Available in three- and five-door configurations, this variant is priced at 796,500 rubles in the attached press release. The online configurator says 806,900 rubles before incentives, which means $13,800 at today’s rates.

What do you get for your hard-earned money? Well, not much to be honest. ISOFIX child seat anchors open the list of standard features, together with power windows, audio preparation for an aftermarket radio, and 16-inch steelies rather than the five-spoke alloys provided by the PR department.

Under the hood, AvtoVAZ waxes lyrical about a 1.7-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine connected to a five-speed manual transmission. This lump isn’t considered good, but good enough because it suffers from timing and electrical issues. In this application, the Euro 5-compliant engine develops 82 ponies and 95 pound-feet (129 Nm) at 4,000 revolutions per minute.

As far as optional extras are concerned, the configurator says "there are no additional packages available for this vehicle." On the upside, AvtoVAZ offers a selection of seven exterior colors: a lovely red called Baroque, Borneo, Snow Queen, Coriander, White Cloud, Nessie, and Panther black.

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