With the departure from Chevrolet and therefore General Motors (GM) from a number markets, Lada has taken ownership back of the iconic Niva moniker, albeit not for the long running Soviet era off-roader known as the 4×4 since 2006.
Instead, parent company AvtoVAZ has restyled what was known as the Chevrolet Niva to resemble to the Toyota RAV4, while also replacing the bowtie badges with the sailboat-like Lada logos.
Officially called the Niva Travel, the revisions include new headlights, the RAV4-inspired grille, a redesigned front bumper with an integrated skidplate, flatter bonnet and shoulder-line, LED taillights, new wheel arch moulds, a selection of optional off-road accessories consisting of a snorkel, black plastic wheel arches and all-terrain tyres, an updated rear bumper and a new spare wheel cover. No images or details of the interior were revealed.
Aside from the fog lamps and rear-view mirror, the Niva’s biggest carryover is the drivetrain made up of the long-serving 1.7-litre petrol engine and five-speed manual gearbox. Producing the same 62kW/129Nm as the unit in the 4×4, the Niva is also only available with four-wheel-drive with low range being selected via a second gear lever as opposed to buttons or dials.
In Russia, sales are expected to commence early next year with pricing to be revealed at a later stage. Although offered in South Africa in original guise for a short period after the turn of the century, the Niva Travel is not expected to make a local market return any time soon.