Lada Urban 4x4

An old and noble Russian machine

"Standard 4x4 Urban: four-wheel drive with lock and reduction - for  $13,900 USD on the road."

"Like the old Niva, the Urban is as uplifting as it was some decades ago. It even smells the same," said Issam.

"The Lada Urban has been given a selection of improvements, claiming that it has been modernized."

To many Lebanese off-road experts, Lada has been their ultimate choice. To others it has been a noble machine that was used for agriculture purposes. Lada is a marque of cars manufactured by the Russian car manufacturer AvtoVAZ, based in Tolyatti, Samara Oblast. It was originally the export brand for models sold under the Zhiguli name in the domestic Soviet market after June, 1970. Lada cars became popular in Russia and Eastern Europe during the last two decades of the Soviet era, particularly in former Eastern bloc countries.

The original Lada was widely exported in sedan and station wagon versions, and, with over 20 million units sold before production ended in mid-2012, it had become the highest-selling automobile to be produced without a major design change. The Lada badge depicts a shallow-draft river sailing ship (a form of Viking longship) known as a lad'ya in Russian.

RYMCO, official distributor of Lada vehicles in Lebanon, has acquired the dealership quite recently. To surprise you even more, if you want a Lada Niva 4x4 or Lada Urban 4x4 you have to wait at least three months, which shows the high demand for the cheapest SUV in the Lebanese car market.

I took my demo car over a weekend to check out if the Lada 4x4 is the same as the old one. I took my professional friend with me, who actually owned one a couple of years ago. It was a 1989 Lada Niva. Some SUVs are too fine, some too sensitive, others too cultivated, and are all too expensive. But wait! We know someone who is never modest. And it doesn’t cost too much money. The Lada 4x4 Urban costs $13,900 USD on the road. As standard with all-wheel drive, electrically-operated windows, air conditioning, Pioneer radio AM/FM, power steering - and even a seat heater.

For you out there who want my honest opinion, I can shout out loud that it is still the same old top machine from the Russian forces. But my concern is that you have to buy it and take it immediately off-road and then keep it in your mountain house in the wild - and don’t drive it every day, as you will be having foot problems due to the traffic in Beirut, and it shakes like a milkshake above 100 km/h. But, the price tag makes it worthwhile to get one in your exquisite garage!

Pros: Excellent off-road capabilities, power windows, heated seats, heated side mirrors, power steering
Cons: Shaking cockpit above 100 km/h on the highway, no automatic transmission available, small fuel tank (in terms of liters)
Rivals: No other car competes with such a low price tag
one word: noble
3 stars

1.7 L inline-4 cylinder, 83 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 127 Nm @ 3,200 rpm
5-speed manual transmission, AWD with differential lock
0-100 km/h: 17 sec, top speed: 142 km/h, fuel consumption: 10 L/100 km
Weight: 1,285 kg

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