Driver Reviews - Lada

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Lada Samara
Reviewed 12 Dec 2007

1991 Lada Samara
Reviewed 21 Mar 2006

These cars are laughably cheap if you can find one in Ireland (most have now gone back to Russia to be stripped out for parts). It's a very basic car, but all the essentials are there, including a very powerful heater for dealing with Moscow mornings. Yes, there's no power-steering, aircon, electric windows, central locking or the like, but Lada owners look at this from a different perspective: there are no silly gimmicks that only give trouble in the long run and are impossible to fix when they break. It's not bad to drive either. Visibiliy is good and despite the body roll, the car handles fairly well, and you can have a bit of fun on corners and roundabouts. I will admit that the gearbox is a bit stiff and the brakes can be spongy and a bit jerky, though the steering is light and fairly direct, which helps the handling. The engine, though harsh and noisy, is always willing once fully warmed up and the car easily manages to hold its own on the open roads. Comfort isn't the best. The seats are a bit hard and the ride rather bumpy, though there's plenty of room and no shortage of space for carrying good in. Unlike so many more modern budget cars which end up being more expensive in the long run, the Samara is just as cheap to run as it is to buy. The insurance is a virtual giveaway (a big bonus here in Ireland), and DIY servicing is very straightforward (just as well considering that ther are no dealers left in Ireland). New spare parts are a long way away, but there are plenty of old bits and pieces lying around in scrapyards and the like, should you ever actually need them. This is my first car, and I certainly got my 300 euros worth. Yes, it may be basic and rather outdated, but it makes a whole lot of sense if you want something that you can look after yourself and keep for a very long time (so long as you're not too concerned about impressing everyone else). P.S: I always have the last laugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1989 Lada Riva
Reviewed 21 Apr 2005

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