Can You Buy a Lada Niva in the USA?

Recently, the Russian Lada Niva received a much-needed update. For the first time since the 1970s, the Niva SUV was significantly changed to help it handle modern life. But, the old Niva is still being sold under the name Lada Niva Legend. Because the Niva is such an old nameplate in the Lada brand, some models are eligible to be imported to the United States. Although, there is not currently a company that is working to import new Lada models stateside. 

A yellow Lada Niva sits on a beach terrain showing its ability to go off-road.
Lada Niva | IFCAR

The Lada Niva is not legal in the United States to buy new, and that is probably new for many reasons. We can’t imagine that the new Niva has great emissions or meets US safety standards. That is not to say that the Niva would not be successful if it were sold here. This Russian 4×4 SUV is seriously affordable. Especially when compared to things like the Jeep Wrangler that are sold in America. 

The new Lada Niva has a starting price of under $25,000. And for the utility and simplicity that it offers, that is an affordable price. On the global market, the Niva competes with models like the Suzuki Jimny and other small off-road vehicles. 

Can you buy a Lada Niva?

A red Lada Niva shows off its off-road capability as a 4x4 SUV on a dirt road.
Lada Niva | Игоревич

Although you cannot buy a new Niva in the United States, you can purchase one that adheres to the 25-year standard for imports. According to Motor1, the Niva was sold in Canada for a bit. And, there are likely some Russian car enthusiasts who work to import these vehicles. So your best bet is probably to keep an eye on classic auction sites in order to find a Lada Niva. 

We probably would not recommend buying the Lada Niva for a daily driver. But for a weekend off-roader or something for cars and coffee, it’s certainly an interesting vehicle. Plus, because it has remained unchanged for so long, tracking down parts from places this vehicle was sold may not be all too difficult. 

What is a Lada Niva?

The Niva is a tried and tested off-road vehicle designed to handle life in rural Russia. But, it has done much more than that. As a four-wheel-drive truck, it was the first wheeled vehicle to spend over a decade in Antarctica. If that is not proven capability, we do not know what is. 

With the Lada Niva Legend, buyers in available markets can get an old-school vehicle for a fairly cheap price. This model was first built in 1977, and the Legend model is essentially the same vehicle that was made in the former Soviet Union, now known as Russia. 

One notable fact about the Niva is that it was the first mass-produced off-road vehicle with unibody construction. A throughline could be drawn to show that the capability of this Lada led to the popularity of the modern unibody SUV and truck. So, while you cannot buy a new one in the United States, it may be worth looking for a used option. If you do, you are unlikely to see another one on area roads.

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