In wise driving conditions and over brief distances, although, it’s not half as arduous and exhausting to pilot as you may anticipate. There’s energy steering, electrical home windows, air con and even self-cancelling indicators (how very bourgeois), so when you’ve received over the ever-disorienting sensation of shifting along with your proper hand and the ever so barely off-centre pedals, it’s a wonderfully enough runaround. Simply get used to smiling and waving. Lots.
In case you’ve ever pushed an immediately recognisable traditional just like the Volkswagen Beetle, a once-commonplace relic such because the Morris Marina and even one thing as hilariously misplaced because the Hummer H2 on British public roads, you’ll recognize simply how a lot pleasure such automobiles carry to different highway customers and passers-by. Park, say, an FSO Polonez behind a Lamborghini Aventador in Knightsbridge and see which one attracts essentially the most consideration. It’s the identical with the Niva: for each grimace-inducing thump from the suspension, steering column creak or graunchy gearshift, you’re rewarded to your sacrifices with a van stuffed with beaming builders, a thumbs-up from a jealous tree surgeon or a nostalgic gaze from a one-time Lada proprietor.
Rarity will try this to a automotive, after all, however when that exclusivity is paired with virtually unparalleled accessibility, it’s a recipe for an actual people-pleaser. And boy is the Niva accessible. Key’s imported examples are priced from £12,495 earlier than taxes, which makes the Russian off-roader about as costly as a base-spec Citroën C3, should you’re within the temper for a tenuous comparability. A extra apparent different is the Duster 4×4 from fellow Renault Group model Dacia, however even that wishes £19,245, whereas a Suzuki Jimny – with simply two seats – prices greater than £20,000 after tax.
Within the pursuits of full disclosure, the Terra Brown-painted Luxe mannequin you’re taking a look at right here prices £17,795 (by advantage of its far jazzier alloy wheels, electrical home windows and aircon), which is about what you’ll pay for a 2007 Land Rover Defender 90 in two-seat industrial kind.
The Niva might present its closest-priced rivals a clear pair of mudflaps on the tough stuff, too, with the not insignificant profit that you simply gained’t be so nervous about dings and scrapes. Hell, a battered previous 4×4 appears to be like 10 instances extra purposeful and properly used than a pampered instance, so get it mucky.