People say these days that no brand new car is rubbish. I admit that too, but while many people ignore the Lada Niva is still on sale, I don't.
Born in 1977, the Lada Niva (aka Autovaz Niva and Vaz Niva) was a little amazing offroader of its time. It brought car features like unibody architecture, front independent suspension and coil suspensions to the off road market. Using Fiat technology and some original Russian engineering, communists finally made a good car people could own.
34 years in the car industry is a lot of time. Almost every car on sale today has been redesigned 5 times or so since 1977. However, the Lada Niva stays on the same roots. Anaemic power, disgusting looks and horrible ergonomics were there when the car was released, and no one has cared to fix anything in this period. In fact, the Lada Niva has experienced less evolution than the Mercedes-Benz G-Klasse or the Land Rover Defender, probably the eldest cars in our roads (apart from Morgans).
Are Nivas useless? no, of course not. If you are a hardcore offroader and you are on a budget, a second hand Niva can be found for less than two grand. Or maybe you are into guns, and fancy a new target. Or you've always wondered how long does it take for a car to sink. Get a stopwatch and a Niva. Sure, different cars will have different sinking times, but you'll get the idea. Personally, I would like to grab four crash dummies, put them in a Niva and perform a crash test at 85 miles an hour. It would be scientific, wouldn't it?