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The world’s first crossover? Test drive Lada Niva Legend

Legend? Discreet, but deserved. It seems to me that the look of this classic Niva is as familiar as the look of the UAZ Hunter. You can say canonical. Niva has gone through a lot in its 44-year history. At one time, it was even called “4×4” when Chevrolet left the Niva brand.

But everything returns to normal. Today “Niva” is in demand, popular among those who understand why they need this car. And also has its own fan base – though fans prefer the old reincarnations. Plus, it’s cheap and maintainable.

Meet another most honest car on the Trashbox.ru test – Lada Niva Legend in the Urban version.

Characteristics:

  • 1.7 liter engine, gasoline, 83 hp s., 127 Nm;
  • 5-speed manual gearbox;
  • permanent four-wheel drive;
  • average consumption during the test drive – 9.4 liters per 100 km;
  • traveled 1611 km.

Outside and inside

Classic in the details

Taking a glance (at not the most interesting color in the palette), you may not immediately notice what is new here. It’s all in the little things. Front and rear plastic bumpers in body color, plastic radiator grill with a large logo of the Togliatti company. Good old round headlights and foglights in the bumper. By the way, the bumpers are what distinguish the Urban version from the Classic.

Behind everything is a classic—vertical headlights, which the old horizontal ones have long replaced. Matte plastic bumper, for a more relaxed load, so as not to worry about minor scratches on the paint … and that’s all. Unlike Niva Travel, there are no diodes in the lights here.

The most striking discs in Legend are discs. They are generally cute but in extreme contrast to the familiar look. Oh yeah, there is also a cute hello from the past, flat door handles. They were still on the VAZ 2101. Straight nostalgia.

The cabin is also a mix of old elements and modern amenities. Pay attention to the thin levers behind the wheel. From modern moments: electric window lifters and air conditioning. In the stamping of the door cards, there is a groove for a mechanical handle.

The Niva Legend did not get the multimedia screen, so it is replaced by a 1 DIN radio tape recorder from Pioneer with two speakers. Alas, there is no rear parking sensor here either, although it could have been added. One cannot fail to note the generally comfortable ergonomics, not invented today, but functional. And, of course, no-touch surfaces!

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Three handles rule the ball in the center: gearbox control, differential lock, and downshifting—all the necessary arsenal for adventure. The Legend steering wheel came from the latest versions of the “classic” “Zhiguli” and the tidy mows under Vesta. In general, I would like to note that, in place of Lada, in this classic “Niva,” I would have made a version with an old tidy and an old steering wheel (it is still here without AirBag). And people who remember past models noted the absence of the classic ceiling upholstery “in a hole.”

Finally, I will note the presence of as many as three cigarettes lighter sockets, one of which is in the trunk, which is convenient. Also, there is no Bluetooth in the head unit. But the radio itself is optional so that you can put your own.

What are the results? The interior is as utilitarian as possible. It seems to me that it can be washed almost from a hose. Ergonomics are good. Visibility is also good. “Conde” available. The only thing missing is the height adjustment of the seats. With my height of 173 cm, I’m a little low. At the back, with a height of up to 180 cm, you can sit down without any problems. By the way, you can climb into the second row both on the left and right. The rear passengers even have a shallow cup holder, though I didn’t check it.

Let’s go

What is it like on the road?

I have already mentioned that, with my height, I am a little low in the seating position. I love it when the hood is visible, especially in a clearly designed car for an exit from asphalt. The steering wheel is huge. Although there is a hydraulic booster, this size is no longer particularly justified, but it did not cause discomfort. It would be best to stretch a little to the gear stick, especially when you turn on the fifth gear. And also, under the heading “if you didn’t know,” the tailgate is opened from the passenger compartment with a handle behind the driver.

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With all these nuances, I still managed to sit comfortably. The almost vertical back of the seat became the key to success. The pedals have a very long stroke, but there were no difficulties with the gearbox and shifting.

Lada as a whole is rarely scolded for steering, and given that there is already an outdated power steering, this very steering can only be praised. It is also very nimble and maneuverable, thanks to the short wheelbase. Even despite the sweeping steering wheel, you generally understand where the car is going and what’s under the wheels. And how gloriously she drives on the bad road! Where glamorous SUVs slow down at a hummock, the Niva passes easily, with a slight buildup.

I can complain about a very gluttonous engine. I already wrote about this in the Niva Travel review. They have the same engines. The transfer case is noisy here. The sound of turn signals is not even particularly audible and has a decent flow rate. The three-door “Niva” has an important point: only 42 liters in the tank, so the power reserve is very modest. On my weekend trip, it was decided to take a canister. To calm down.

The world's first crossover?  Test drive Lada Niva Legend - Let's go.  four

The Legend also has few dynamics, but still, this car is not about it, 100-110 km / h top speed, comfortable for communication in the cabin. And then you have to raise your voice.

But it is worth noting that you forget about everything described above … when you leave the asphalt! This is where the full potential of the Togliatti hard worker is revealed. No wonder this car is so loved in the mountains and forests. Narrow, compact, and walkable. Yes, not the most lifting one (you can put a roof rack), but what a perky and courageous one.

It is worth warning, of course, that standard tires are more in the city / off-road balance, but with the replacement of tires, the potential of Niva will also grow. The same can be said about the ground clearance. In the base, it is 200 mm, but many increase it to 250 mm or more, which also increases the off-road potential.

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The world's first crossover?  Test drive Lada Niva Legend - Let's go.  five
The world's first crossover?  Test drive Lada Niva Legend - Let's go.  6

Feedback

What’s the bottom line?

Lada Niva Legend is a contrast car. In the city, its outdated solutions and the engine that need to be whipped up to drive at the pace of a modern city are striking. And off-road, everything changes. There is excitement, cross-country ability, and agility appear. In it, you really want to overcome difficult areas and climb into the depths of our beauties.

And I want to repeat the thought that I have already voiced in previous reviews. “Niva” today is the most honest and simple car, and this is its thrill. Yes, if you wish, as it is now done, you can find many flaws and inconvenient moments in it. But at the same time, it is very close to old and simple vehicles, in which, yes, it is not super comfortable, but everything is simple and clear. And you are not afraid to go further.

The world's first crossover?  Test drive Lada Niva Legend - Review.  one

More from everyday moments. The trunk is small, only 265 liters, enough for a weekend trip, but for more, you already need to think about the roof rack. Also, the air conditioner does not have enough power, and in a traffic jam in the heat, it does not really cope.

In general, “Niva” is a mood and a unique case when there is still such a model on the market. Recognizable, customizable, and maintainable. Or do you think that a foreign car will not break down on the road? The main thing is emotions, and every time you get behind the wheel outside the city, in nature, you smile.

Pros:

  • almost everything you need for basic comfort is here;
  • cross-country ability;
  • compactness;
  • great scope for modification.

Minuses:

  • in the city, it is unlikely to please you;
  • noise;
  • trunk volume 265 liters.

May not like:

  • lack of seat height adjustment;
  • small area of ​​work of wipers.

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