New 2021 Lada Niva Legend 4x4 full review

Pubblicato il 27 giu 2021
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This is the new 2021 Lada Niva Legend 4x4. The same Niva born to the Soviet world in 1977, but slightly different. You still have to use a little key to unlock the doors, and there's still a gun rack and snow plough on the options list, but now it has a real headlining, extra soundproofing and optional AC. You can also buy it in the UK again, thanks to a small importer in London -

Jonny has always had admiration and respect for this jolly ex-communist cockroach. It has just enough comfort and utilitarian style to feel like one of the late Defenders. Albeit one with healthy turning circle and unquestionable reliability. He knew about the latter from all the stories of when one of these was posted to the Antarctica research station and Everest base camps to live. Nivas are the anti-SUV, and all the more cool for it. Left hand drive only, but they can be bought new from £12k (+vat).

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For more details on these magnificent literal legends head to

Jonny got the exclusive UK test drive of the 2021 model, and enjoyed filming it on and off road during what was Britain's hottest day of the year thus far. All was going just fine until he encountered what we now know is a fairly unfriendly puddle in the Tixover quarry offroad course. No cones or signs mentioned that what he presumed was a shallow slip way, was in fact a huge step that had claimed the lives of numerous mud pluggers. In fact, it had sunk a Unimog a few weeks previous. A UNIMOG.

Lada Niva dimensions:
Length 3740mm
Width 1680mm
Height 1640mm
Wheelbase 2200mm
Ground clearance 200mm
Approach angle 32 degrees
Departure angle 37 degrees

Suzuki Jimny dimensions:
Length 3645mm
Width 1645mm
Height 1720mm
Wheelbase 2250mm
Ground Clearance 210mm
Approach angle 37 degrees
Departure angle 49 degrees

The Lada is a strong little thing, but this was an unexpected issue. The poor Lada had just 300km on the clock. Handily no carpets - as all Nivas have hose down rubber floors.
Luckily Niva's are basically brand new classic cars, so within minutes we had the spark plugs out, spun the engine over to purge any water, then removed and tried the air filter intake system. The Niva started and ran, without a hint of smoke or steam.

Aside from the obvious human error we absolutely loved the Lada experience, like Jonny had 10 years ago when green-laning one across the UK for Fifth Gear. The new Legend Niva was a more refined ride and quieter, but still with pleasingly practical exposed screw heads, easily accessible components and excellent boot space. You can buy it in van, pick up, 4 door LWB or even Putin specs. The most expensive version is called the Bronto, and that features lifted suspension, metallic paint (camo is optional) and more tasteful alloys. Or you can keep it Eastern European, with steel wheels, flat paint and windy windows. All have keenly braked ABS and power steering.

Rasputin G-Wagons are going out of production in 2023, and we think there is nothing quite like them - especially now that the Jimny can no longer be bought (in the UK at least). Viva la Niva!

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Jonny Smith
Creative content maker, car presenter & car pervert for hire since '98
Instagram: jonnycarpervert
Twitter: carpervert

0:00 Intro
0:28 Jimny
1:25 Niva intro
1:48 Supported by Continental tyres
1:58 DIMENSIONS Vs Jimny
2:25 4 door Niva and Jimny coming
7:55 Odd optional extras
8:42 Cheap spares and servicing
11:02 Vladimir Putin spec Niva
12:00 3rd in Paris Dakar in 1981
12:50 Production ends 2023.
13:23 ABS and seat airbag
16:00 Front end design
17:48 Interior cabin design
18:14 Back seats
19:17 Rear end design and boot
20:32 Dashboard and gear sticks
25:18 Verdict
26:13 Rescue + indestructible.

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  • Jérôme Lévesque-Boucher

    Jérôme Lévesque-Boucher

    5 mesi fa

    Just have a look at the comments. Everybody wants one of these. This review alone is one of the best ad for this little beast.
    Have a look, Renault: Johnny just sold millions worth of Nivas for you. Just export them.

    • Aaron Kuminski

      Aaron Kuminski

      20 giorni fa

      Id buy a new one of those tho

    • Piccalilli Pit

      Piccalilli Pit

      Mese fa

      I live in Bulgaria now - my neighbour stood delivery of a brand new one today - he was pealing the film of the number plates LOL

    • Marco 786

      Marco 786

      3 mesi fa

      Gotta agree he's done them a good favour! This version of the Niva seems fairly decent!

    • António Pereira

      António Pereira

      3 mesi fa

      I live in Portugal and I immediately went to see if there is a dealer here. Amazing car.

    • Никита


      3 mesi fa

      @Mandrak789 I dont think so, more like its duties for russian import, like we have almost 100% overprice for US cars.

  • Mark w

    Mark w

    7 ore fa

    Wow I didn't think they still made Lada,s I bought a new Lada Neva in 1993 for $9.000 In Canada . Nice to see they are still around

  • Roger Ivy

    Roger Ivy

    17 ore fa

    did u try to drive it out of the ditch?

  • Max Krumholz

    Max Krumholz

    Giorno fa

    Really i was born in USSR rhis is shit from 70s and stay 50 yers after ... Renault buy LADA have Duster it's better

  • Jon Chalkley

    Jon Chalkley

    2 giorni fa

    It's almost like Matt from Carwows plagerized this video verbatim....

  • 1silvervespa


    2 giorni fa

    Price is crazy .
    I can get a subaru 4x4 for same or less in Canada .
    With lots of extras in comparission.

  • Jason Smart

    Jason Smart

    3 giorni fa

    I never thought I would say it I 💕 it.

  • Chris Z.

    Chris Z.

    5 giorni fa

    In the post-Covid age, Niva will be a must :)

  • Catoom Horatio

    Catoom Horatio

    6 giorni fa

    It looked a good 4x4 30 years ago, but it is a big joke now and can be only a funny car of an entertaining center.

  • Smudge Aldrin

    Smudge Aldrin

    7 giorni fa

    I had a 94 base model for ten years . Cracking lil 4x4 . Bullet proof reliable & if it does go wrong nothing that cant be fixed with an adjustable & a screw driver. Took the back seats out once & got an FS1E in the back . Used to show motors 10 times the price up off road . Only got rid of it because the bird at the time didnt like it ( hand painted olive green with a hammer & sickle on each door). Kicking myself now ... Only draw back it needs more oomph & dont even think about towing.

  • Intbel


    8 giorni fa

    Lada rescued by a Landrover. Kinda ironic, that.
    Hope there's a R/H drive version?

  • F1 Master

    F1 Master

    8 giorni fa

    Believe it or not this is one of the first SUVs ever, it is a derivative of a FIAT 127 elongated, wider and elevated. One of the greatest colaborations between Russia and Italy at the time.
    Now Lada is just owned by Renault, so expect future models to converge as Lada and Dacias with different aesthetics. Which isn´t necessarily a bad thing, as the Bigster proves.

  • Renat Suleimanov

    Renat Suleimanov

    9 giorni fa

    You should test drive UAZ instead of this toy car😅

  • G 55

    G 55

    10 giorni fa

    Not to worry Johnny, I bought one of the Niva 1.7i models back in 1996 and it was awesome on Snow and Ice where top of the line RR's failed, There are 2 very impressive features the Niva has that never get listed 1) these Cars have the best Heater ever made and 2) the 1996 model came with a 4.0L washer Bottle that had 2 powerful washer motors, One was connected up and if it failed all you had to do was unplug one and plug in the other and swap the hoses over Job Done, I averaged 33 to 38 mpg in mine and the Cossack version came with 5 spoke alloys and the standard version I had came with 8 spoke steel wheels, Back in 1996 the Base model cost £7999.00 and the Cossack was around £9999.00 the Defender was over 16/20K at the time, Thanks Johnny for the video and I hope that Info helps.

  • Alex Mur

    Alex Mur

    11 giorni fa


  • Yaris Cam

    Yaris Cam

    12 giorni fa

    Great One...😎🇸🇪

  • juvenal adriano morais neto

    juvenal adriano morais neto

    12 giorni fa


  • mrgreatauk


    12 giorni fa

    Amazing you can still buy cars like this, I definitely see the appeal and it looks like it's good off road too. Shame it'll morph into a dacia duster, but at least that's sort of still got the same spirit, just not to the same extent as the current Niva .
    I felt the anxiety and worry after he drove into the water! Good job he managed to shut the engine off before it got damaged by the water.

  • Adan Saez

    Adan Saez

    13 giorni fa

    Entonces cual es tu prueba, esa cuecada de dejarlo hay ataCao

  • t b

    t b

    13 giorni fa

    No aircon and the back windows don’t go down it will be really bad in summer,electric windows in any 4x4 is the worst idea and small kids will love playing with the little Handel to open the back door as your burning along

  • Life Psycle

    Life Psycle

    13 giorni fa

    This, and Suzuki Jimny, are a few of the genuinely basic affordable 4x4s out there anymore. Land Rover put their middle finger up to farmers, utility workers, builders, adventurers, the masses. Lada and Suzuki are smart enough not to do same. Well done Lada and to Suzuki for keeping 4x4 real and long may it continue.
    PS: the quarry soundtrack is great!

  • Colin Whelan

    Colin Whelan

    13 giorni fa

    You were blessed Johnny.

  • Sen Seo

    Sen Seo

    14 giorni fa

    There are not many real 4X4 these days, and this surely is one of them.

  • Amar Dave

    Amar Dave

    14 giorni fa

    I want the police spec pickup with the rear mounted cannon, LOL! :-)

  • overmind06


    14 giorni fa

    I want the Jimny, I WANT IT! I wish every one of those sons of ches who ordered it before me has a heart attack so i could get my car THIS year, not 2022 or 23, this is ridiculous.

  • Jelena Fishman

    Jelena Fishman

    15 giorni fa

    Does it come in automatic transmission? I think not but I would def buy it if it does.



    15 giorni fa

    love that consitency of design (in dream),(sfx) moan... sory mate but what year is it?

  • Alan Davies

    Alan Davies

    15 giorni fa

    I think I would enjoy a car like this when I retire in a few years. I’ve got a company VW Golf at the moment and it’s great, but, I never use 90% of it’s features. I’ve said for a few years now I just want a car I can drive. I was also considering the Dacia as that too is a very basic vehicle…but I think I like this Lada more…would just have to convince the wife 😂🇬🇧

  • geoffluck


    15 giorni fa

    Great little car, but your review shows a lack of 4x4 experience, no time spent explaining the 4x4 system, ie, which diffs lock, permanent or selectable 4wd, this 4x4 setup is the very heart of the vehicle, you were too busy singing stupidly to even review the vehicle properly.
    Your off road driving had so many faults it would require a book to list them, this review made a fool of you, and did not present us with important specs of the vehicle, from mpg to drive configuration.

  • Alouis Schäfer

    Alouis Schäfer

    16 giorni fa

    Russia, please never discontinue the Niva. In fact export more of them. The world needs to relearn what a cheap and functional car really is.

  • Golo1949


    16 giorni fa

    He says he is on his own! then who is filming? Love the car though.

  • FS E

    FS E

    17 giorni fa

    always take two russian cars with you - just in case one breaks

  • zaheer Hussain

    zaheer Hussain

    17 giorni fa

    “I would definately order this with a rifle rack” 13:40 🤣🤣🤣

  • Artur Amatuni

    Artur Amatuni

    18 giorni fa

    Dont Worry , Just Start The car and Back up.

  • John Smith

    John Smith

    19 giorni fa

    The bonnet reminds me of a mk1 fiesta

  • Paulthorpe


    19 giorni fa

    You have turned it into a periscope 🥴 Drove an original around Devils pit in Barton le Clay and no other 4 X 4 could keep up incl Range Rovers, Defenders, G Waggon, Suzuki thing and I'm a pretty shit driver off road !

  • Aaron Kuminski

    Aaron Kuminski

    20 giorni fa

    See the closest I ever came to truly affording a decent car never had enough for a new car even working in the hospital er I was able to buy a 2 year old z24 cavalier and I did look at new cars but the payments were way different so I bought used will never buy new my mother bought new ever 2 years until 2012 then decide to hold on to her car and so did my father and half the people I know the reason they went to look at new cars and screens and tech everything they were worried about the repairs and said f that ill keep by basic jeep and basic Ford fusion

  • Aaron Kuminski

    Aaron Kuminski

    20 giorni fa

    All cheep us designed cars are junk if they are cheap and good but to expensive

  • Aaron Kuminski

    Aaron Kuminski

    20 giorni fa

    See in the usa political aspects made it so we can't have cheap cars and now our nation car fleet is old as hell and they keep adding more bs can't wait til fleet is 20 years old and we only gave foreign cars then they will be like there parent the uk having ruined there car industry with labor, management and government I say this because I'm against socialist and want to say I told you all 5 to 10 years from now

  • John Manuel

    John Manuel

    20 giorni fa

    Renault please bring this to India ... I will definitely buy one... Classic ...

  • Nicholas Adams

    Nicholas Adams

    22 giorni fa

    I had one about 25 years ago, I loved it…… real go anywhere , don’t give a sh*t motoring!

  • Kismis Perang

    Kismis Perang

    24 giorni fa

    I wish Lada coming to Malaysia market, I am the person that like simple stuff, I hate modern car with nonsense look and feature. A car as long it serve it purpose and cheap to maintain should be good...

  • paul smith

    paul smith

    25 giorni fa

    what a plum

  • Mobile Entertainment

    Mobile Entertainment

    26 giorni fa

    I have three original Defenders. My wife is going to kill me because I am now going to get one of these as well.....

  • That Welsh Man

    That Welsh Man

    27 giorni fa

    Big shame there no right hand drive version for the UK.

  • Rusty Robot5

    Rusty Robot5

    29 giorni fa

    I think id rather get a used Jeep. 😄
    But, for a Rusian car, it looks pretty cool.

  • silly oldbastard

    silly oldbastard

    29 giorni fa

    Optional built in russian gearbox whine and OHV

  • Sagradamoly


    29 giorni fa

    The Niva isn't "FIAT derived".

    • The Late Brake Show

      The Late Brake Show

      29 giorni fa

      Engine was.

  • John T.

    John T.

    Mese fa

    Why not just drive out of that wading pond?

  • puma


    Mese fa

    one of my favorite cars since I was a teen and discovered one in the dusty roads of the Bolivian Amazon (1981)! If I would have the right amount of pocket money I would certainly buy one! No electronics, super simple, light, cheap, capable... why should I need something else? I hope Lada will continue to build this car for a long time exactly as it is!!!
    Why do car manufacturers insist that we all buy exactly the same crap everyone else is offering and every idiot around the corner is willing to go after? Apart from security considerations I do not need nor want "modernity", the so called "luxury", nor "style" (and remember that the Niva still looks quite nice and modern after 45 years without changing much!) I do not need electronics, nor an "infotainment console", nor carpets that match the color of the external mirrors... I hate "domesticated" versions of real 4x4's. I am perfectly happy with the basic Lada, why should I want and pay for "plastic bumpers the same color as the car" ???? the only option I would tolerate is a Bronto with a winch!

  • Vraca


    Mese fa

    As the Russians are saying for such misunderstandings: We wanted the best, but it turned out the same as always...

  • Robert Heinrich von Seyfenstern

    Robert Heinrich von Seyfenstern

    Mese fa

    some 20 - 25 years ago I had a Niva. Great little car!

  • Looker


    Mese fa

    What’s wrong with the urban!! Come again; I didn’t catch it.

  • Θεόδωρος Μεντεσόπουλος

    Θεόδωρος Μεντεσόπουλος

    Mese fa

    ποιο αχρηστο αυτοκινητο δεν εχω οδηγησει στην ζωη μου



    Mese fa

    You make mistake about meaning of LADA ...

  • Bob Bates

    Bob Bates

    Mese fa

    If it was sold in Canada I think I would buy one. I remember when they were here and it was not great but now I think I would go for one

  • aguage99


    Mese fa

    Hi Jonny, I liked your video about Lada Niva but I'm sorry about your opposition to the Urban model.
    I have always been fascinated by the Lada Niva. Finally, from December 2020, I drive my first one. It's a 4x4 Urban, bought new.
    It gives me great satisfaction. The Niva are very very rare in Italy and many people look at it with interest.
    I love this car for its immortal design, because it is solid, without useless gadgets, no frills, it is possible to move well inside, it has large windows, etc, etc, and it goes everywhere!
    Thank you. Ciao!



    Mese fa

    The best is new LADA NIVA TRAVEL,

  • AV VA LA

    AV VA LA

    Mese fa

    Hi ! Can we get the new LADA NIVA TRAVELin Britain? I feel in love with this car, the NIVA Travel got a face of a bulldog and that is says all about that car that’s need to came to Britain.🇬🇧🤙

  • marian totelecan

    marian totelecan

    Mese fa

    You really did the best moovie!

  • Michael Hastings

    Michael Hastings

    Mese fa

    Loved the old Niva i would love the new one ! And did you try reversing out with the diff locks in ?

  • Sand Twogo

    Sand Twogo

    Mese fa

    But why oh why is it not pink?

  • Jack Worth

    Jack Worth

    Mese fa

    Look, guys, get real, this car does not have official support and warranty in the UK so any fix will be at your risk and cost, no automatic gear option sadly, wheel is on the left side only to drive in the farm fields. No proper aircon, no insulation. So if you are into Defender 90 then maybe but for everyday safe drive, it is a no no. At least one thing - if they would issue right hand side wheel for UK roads, then YES it would worth having a fun.

  • Sameer Singh

    Sameer Singh

    Mese fa

    why not to set up a manufacturing facility in india.?

  • Dzmitry Pasrednik

    Dzmitry Pasrednik

    Mese fa

    for 17k (base Niva) you definitely can buy a much better and reliable car

  • vincent mefflet

    vincent mefflet

    Mese fa

    Best water level test ever !!!! Best of youtube

  • Uditha Indunil

    Uditha Indunil

    Mese fa

    Russian engineering. Simple, reliable and durable.

  • Random guy

    Random guy

    Mese fa

    2021 or 1995😂😂

  • Paul Wilkinson

    Paul Wilkinson

    Mese fa

    Hi Jonny.
    I was pleased to see reporting the Niva was available again having owned a battered one in the 90's with Fiat Mirafiori twincam fitted.
    Personally I would like to see the double cab and pickup models imported.
    I'd love to convert one to an EV (basic tech so simplish) to make it the ultimate low maintenance 4x4.

  • Cameron Dawe

    Cameron Dawe

    Mese fa

    I need one of these 🤝

  • Rusich


    Mese fa

    up to 120-200 hp, all Lada engines can be boosted using different turbines

  • cyclopath


    Mese fa

    Stop polishing that russian xtra long gearknob all the time dude. We get it.

  • grochomarx2002


    Mese fa

    If they sold them here in the states I would buy a pair of them.



    Mese fa

    It's a great cheap car
    This is a great car and it makes people happy
    The design is iconic
    If the 2023 model doesn't do well, there is always an option
    Go with this version
    I can't wait to buy one after i pass my drivers licence



    Mese fa

    I love them New NIVA LEGEND and NIVA BRONTO Camouflage new paint , they are marvellous

  • Jan Pamuła

    Jan Pamuła

    Mese fa

    14.00 we treat them like that in a lot of ex eastern block states the same way uaz both buchanka an normal and in some ways gaz-69

  • RFF


    Mese fa

    Vlad spec is a must

  • Alexander Antonov-Ghudushuri

    Alexander Antonov-Ghudushuri

    Mese fa

    Perfect video, perfect story!

  • Victor Ortiz

    Victor Ortiz

    Mese fa

    The design is just perfect. I've seen quite a few of these Ladas Niva in Colombia.

  • David Lockley

    David Lockley

    Mese fa

    When we had them in Canada we called them a lada junk

  • steve finch

    steve finch

    Mese fa

    Watching an old fifth gear o. Dmax earlier, had old Johnny on it and vicky butler Henderson driving a brand new range rover through a sizeable wadeing pool at speed.

  • Andrew Daley

    Andrew Daley

    Mese fa

    Weird, the Russians want western cars and we'll buy their communist era cars.

  • Fatih


    Mese fa

    Can lada be turbocharged or upgrade the engine for higher power and torque

    • Fatih


      Mese fa

      @Don.BALAFRE thakyou for the information

    • Don.BALAFRE


      Mese fa

      Yes especially new LADA NIVA TRAVEL

    • Fatih


      Mese fa

      @Rusich ok ,does the engine need to be modified to match turbo and is it simple to do,thank you.

    • Rusich


      Mese fa

      up to 120-200 hp, all Lada engines can be boosted using different turbines

  • anderson boy

    anderson boy

    Mese fa

    Could you get out of the water?

  • chitavagio


    Mese fa

    the price of a NIVA in Russia starts from 6,500 British pounds

  • Peter Robierto

    Peter Robierto

    Mese fa

    For hill climbers not social climbers.

  • khankrum1


    Mese fa

    I now live in Bulgaria and would have one amy day of the week. If I had some money.

  • Walter Berndt

    Walter Berndt

    Mese fa

    This test was as good and honest as the Niva itsself. Bravo!



    Mese fa

    If you could stay calm and don't panic. You could actually at least drive back immediately because that is the FUCKING NIVA!

  • B Rose

    B Rose

    Mese fa

    We need to get Boris and Bald n Bankrupt to do a review.

  • Miko Komunist

    Miko Komunist

    Mese fa

    take my money I want one!

  • Алексей Яголковский

    Алексей Яголковский

    Mese fa

    I'd rather buy heroine

  • Just a guy

    Just a guy

    Mese fa

    Soviets mass produced cheap shit that lasted for ever lool. That goes for everything from AK-47 to Lada to the Soyuz rocket to their trams. Gotta love it.

  • Dust Driver

    Dust Driver

    Mese fa

    Nice but the Daster its better

  • Jan Hagge

    Jan Hagge

    Mese fa

    At least it might not smell rubbery anymore.

  • Jordans bikes

    Jordans bikes

    2 mesi fa

    That would look so good slammed with some nice rims

  • Chris Channon

    Chris Channon

    2 mesi fa

    Is it available as a "Cossak" version?

  • Vlad Bolboaca

    Vlad Bolboaca

    2 mesi fa

    Is it 1980s yet?

  • yavuz alpay

    yavuz alpay

    2 mesi fa

    I've owned a 93 Niva 1.600cc carburated model, for 3 years between 2011-2014, used it in stock condition, for fun & off-road trips and some serious ones. Had no issues at all, it had never let me down. I had to sell it due to life-changing decisions.
    Then I got another one, in 2018. I went for a 2011 1.700cc injection model, with the idea of buying a younger, fresher Niva and use it as both a daily car and fun car. I was planning to have more fun by upgrading it. Tuned the Ecu, gone for bigger tires, upgraded the suspension with new coils and shock absorbers, changed the final gear ratio, went for locked rear diff, installed comfy seats, upgraded the sound insulation etc.
    When I was at the verge of installing A/C, I ended up selling it..
    My conclusions were,
    1) I Don't know if the newer ones are crappier, but the more complicated, is the worse for these kinds of simple design machines. Modifications (except the suspension upgrade) didn't pay off for me, they didn't upgrade the car even half as much as they cost, compared to the car's cost. The performance/price ratio of the stock car was so high, that by any modifications I just decreased it...
    2) It's a cult design, but don't be too optimistic (like me) to think It would be cool to use it as a daily car. It's just out of date, and it hits you back sooner or later. Thinking of it as an ATV with a closed cabin, would lead to more accurate decisions.
    3) This car is very capable and great fun in stock and simple condition..
    I just wish, I didn't have to sell the simpler and more reliable carburated version...
    All in all, I don't regret any of the two. I had good times with both, I recommend it to anyone who is thinking of buying one, but just make sure to manage your expectations well before buying.

  • aj binam

    aj binam

    2 mesi fa

    This car is totall garbage 👎👎👎

    • Don.BALAFRE


      Mese fa

      Are you from Ukraine ?

    • Rusich


      Mese fa