Ever hear of Lada? Canadians may be familiar with the Russian car brand, but most Americans probably aren’t. Most Ladas were rebadges of old Fiats, although the Niva mini-SUV was the first Lada designed from a clean sheet of paper. These days, in post-Soviet Russia, the nameplate lives on as the Chevrolet Niva, the result of a joint venture between General Motors and AvtoVAZ. The current Niva is (quite) a bit long in the tooth and is due for an update, which is exactly what Chevrolet has up its sleeve, having released some teasers for a concept that will make its debut at the 2014 Moscow Auto Salon in a few weeks.
While the current Chevrolet Niva surrounds a relatively modern body around the archaic underpinnings of the Lada Niva, the new Niva hints at a more contemporary SUV for 2016. According to AvtoVAZ general director Jeffrey Glover, “The design of the new car will be much closer to our new line of Chevrolet models. At the same time, the concept’s tougher appearance and characteristics suggest that it will continue to be a ‘real’ [emphasis ours] Niva.”
The new Niva is expected to cradle a new Peugeout-sourced 1.8L 135-horse engine under its hood, replacing the current model’s pre-historic 1.7-liter 80-horsepower motor. The redesigned model is also expected to grow in length by roughly ten inches, while offering an all-new exterior design and a redone cabin.
During the 2014 Moscow Auto Show, GM will also show a surprise Opel model, the new Chevy Tahoe, as well as new the Silverado, Traverse, and Tracker. And though the Chevrolet brand is pulling out of Europe, thereby leaving Opel/Vauxhall to handle the mainstream car market, the Bow Tie will continue unaffected in Russia and the CIS.