“We are preparing the future of Lada” says Lada Director of Design, Steve Mattin. That’s the task the 4×4 Vision Concept faces after its debut at the Moscow Motor Show. The Russian company is roaring into the 21st century with a concept car that – we hope – previews the next Niva.
There are hints of Ford Ranger and Range Rover in its snout, combined with the stature of a Defender and the blistered wheelarches of a Dacia Duster, all while staying within the dimensional footprint of the latter. The distinctive ‘X’ graphic at the front and sides, however, is trademark Lada.
Inside, it’s not very Niva-like at all, with funky orange accents, a crisp retro-futuristic instrument binnacle and a smart infotainment screen. Everything looks chunky and retro-modern – enjoyable but a bit gimmicky.
The car features an automatic gearbox with high and low ratios, as well as good ground clearance and tight overhangs. That gives it potential for serious off-road chops.
“With the 4×4 Vision, we demonstrate the potential of a unique, expressive, bold and energetic design in a new SUV, drawing inspiration from the legendary Lada 4×4 Niva”, said a spokesman.
The original Lada Niva has been around in some shape and form since 1977, so it’s well due a replacement. Yet, like the incoming Defender successor, whatever replaces the Niva has big, rugged shoes to fill.
That’s not to mention the task Lada as a company faces. Now a part of Renault Group, a staple SUV will be no small part of an ongoing recovery plan. It aims to climb back above 20 percent Russian market share.
Although Lada has big export ambitions, there are no plans for the marque to enter the UK market. If a production SUV comes out that isn’t too far from the 4×4 Vision, that’ll be a great shame.
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