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Lada Niva 1.7i

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      28.09.2000 19:15
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      Lada Niva Cossack I know, laugh all you will, but I am proud to own my little Lada. Russian, the lowest end of the all terrain market, but a cracking little off road car. Three doors, 4 wheel drive, and a sunroof!!! Since buying our Lada Niva Cossack early last year, we have had very few problems. Although initially put off by the standing jokes regarding Ladas, financially it was the only option available to us at the time. Our little car was offered at the knock down price of £800, it is L reg, had almost a full MOT, service history and tax. And most of all it would do the job in hand. This vehicle is capable completing the toughest obstacle course, or is almost okay as an around town car, however the juicy 1.6 engine makes it a little too uneconomical on fuel for everyday driving, and stopping and starting just seem to suck the fuel out of it. The oversize wheels provide high ground clearance and allow the passengers to sit up above the other traffic affording an uninterrupted view and the feeling of being at ease. Deceptively spacey inside, the Cossack is fitted with 4 seatbelts, and it is registered as a 4 seater, it has fold down rear seats, and great headroom, and boot space However, it is difficult to squeeze a baby seat into the middle of the rear seats, and nearly impossible to fit a baby rear facing car seat in any of the seatbelts. The legroom in the back leaves a lot to be desired. The car is basic in every aspect bar two. There are adjustable wing mirrors that can move from inside, and a sunroof!! (Which I add is slightly leaky.) The quarter light windows in the front are great in the middle of summer as it is easy to direct the cool air rather than open the standard window and blast the children. There are no opening windows in the back, which has its advantages and disadvantages. Far from being a comfortable drive on the road, everything that you have heard out them, heav y steering, clunky gearbox, etc is true, but the vehicle more than makes up for it by the superb off road handling and extra features. Our Lada was fitted with a substantial set of bull bars both front and back, there are also runners along the sides providing all over impact protection, and a feeling of security and safety for all of the occupants. There are handles in just the right places to grab hold of as you lunge and tilt. The back bull bar also holds the spare tyre, which cheekily sits on the boot of the car. Overall it has been transformed from a rather unattractive boxcar to a sporty fun looking jeep. I have every confidence in my Lada, as having been built in Russia, it is more than geared up for Siberian climates, so when frosty mornings come and my car starts first time, and everyone around me is having problems, who is the one laughing now? We have been able to acquire a spare care for parts, as although cheap and cheerful to buy, they are extortionately expensive to repair when things go wrong, as we found out when we thought we would fix the heater. Gasp, a new heater matrix was £300 fitted. We were able to buy a non runner from a farmer who had abandoned it ages ago for the princely sum of £40, so spare cars are out there, don’t be fooled into buying a new part before you have consulted with the farmers in you area. It seems that they were very popular for a while, and as things went wrong in true farmer fashion, something that might be useful is never thrown away. Our Lada has gone up steep saturated embankments that have been rained on constantly for over a week, without so much as a wheel spin, a cough, or a splutter, the very same route that our Landrover had constantly failed to conquer. My husband has relished in the fact that in his year and a half of trying to get it stuck, so far he has failed, but he will carry on trying. This car has been able to access places previously out of bounds to all vehicles apart from the kids quads and motorbikes. I would recommend the Lada Niva Cossack for all off roading, but would hesitate if you were only going to drive it on the road, as it is very cumbersome, and bulky. However the capabilities and usefulness of this vehicle render it a sound buy if you don’t expect too much for your money, it is relatively cheap to insure, rarely goes wrong, and is fun.

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