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Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  #1  
Old 28 Jul 2019
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Lada 4x4 (Niva) for overland

Hello,

in a few years we plan to travel from Europe through Africa to Caucasus and Kazahstan. We have limited budget we can spend on the car (c.a. 10-12.000 EUR). You can buy a brand new Lada 4x4 from this money here in Hungary. So our initial idea is to buy one and make the journey with it. Do you recommend this? Does somebody has already experience with the Niva? Thanks!


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  #2  
Old 29 Jul 2019
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No, you will have no support in Africa for Lada. Better to get a secondhand, low tech Toyota, Land Rover or even Nissan.
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  #3  
Old 29 Jul 2019
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I take it you mean one of the new Chevrolet co-produced Nivas?

They are not really comparable to the original. I have briefly driven both and the new Niva feels much less rugged.

For your budget you could easily pick up a nearly new Rav4 or Honda CRV which are similar to the new Niva. But with a bit of effort and preparation you could easily get a proper 4x4 with that money, something like a Toyota Prado (Landcruier 90 / Colorado), a Land Cruiser 80 or a Land Rover if you are a competent mechanic.
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Old 29 Jul 2019
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Thank you for all your replies. Actually I was thinking about the “classic” Niva, which called 4x4 today: https://www.lada.ru/en/cars/4x4/3dv/about.html.
But I assume your advises still stand.  I will check the RAV4. I have been informed that Land Rovers have been eaten by rust. I just thought that it might be a good idea to have a new Lada 4x4 instead of having an old Toyota, but it seems that this is not true.
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  #5  
Old 29 Jul 2019
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Old Nivas are pretty good off-road vehicles, very well sprung. But you mention 'we'; this car is pretty small and not designed to carry weight! For two people I think it's a poor choice unless you plan to travel very light.
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  #6  
Old 30 Jul 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erdei82 View Post
... I have been informed that Land Rovers have been eaten by rust...
You have been informed incorrectly. Land Rovers are mostly made from aluminium and withstand rust much better than most. I have been driving Land Rovers for 20 Years and can vouch for that.
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Old 30 Jul 2019
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All old vehicles are prone to rust if they have not been garaged their whole lives. Land Rover chassis are made from iron just like other cars. I would use rust as a criterion for selecting a specific used car, not as a way to judge between brands.
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Old 6 Aug 2019
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I don't know about Hungary, but prices are getting a lot higher for Defenders in recent years.
They are made of aluminium but the old ones have some weak spots where aluminum and iron can rust away very fast when water is getting involved. (inside of doors)
As said it still features a ladder chassis frame like most old skool 4x4s which is always a risk.
(be careful when buying a Nissan, some of them have breakage in their chassis)

So when it comes to poorly maintained vehicles, I would choose a unibody RAV4 over a Defender. But a Defender is better in offroading of course.
As said, other options are Landcruiser and Nissans.

But I would check how much offroading you really want to do. If you just want to be prepared for bad road quality and only take an occasional dirt track (which locals usually take with a normal car) the RAV4 is a pretty good choice.
The locals (at least in Asia) use it as well so parts are available. It is reliable, more comfortable than a real 4x4 and you will get a lot newer car for the same money.
Just don't overload it. If you're gonna take lots of heavy stuff, the 4x4s come with much higher load rating.
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Old 6 Aug 2019
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Thank you for all your comments! We plan to travel light and don't want to go hard offroading. So it seems that I will pick a few years old RAV4.
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Old 6 Aug 2019
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Just take a spare of all filters with you, perhaps also spare ignition parts and auxiliary belt, and go.
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Last edited by Lovetheworld; 6 Aug 2019 at 19:48.
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  #11  
Old 9 Aug 2019
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I would take the Lada. They are truly awesome off-road.

Buy a clutch kit as well as usual service items to take with you.

They are so basic any mech can work on them and if you need parts get them posted in.

I had a Rav and it’s AWD layout is poor.
If you want a soft roader Subaru symmetrical is far better.

There is a vid on YouTube that shows it.


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  #12  
Old 9 Aug 2019
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I agree, but the RAV4 is as servicable as the Lada in the countries where he is going. In fact, at times I saw more RAV4s than Nivas. Subaru is much less present than RAV4 or Lada Niva.
In the end I think the RAV4 will be more reliable and much more comfortable on long distance, for the long driving days.

He is also mentioning Africa. I don't know how to incorporate that in his route at this moment, because it is not easy to make a combination right now.
But I would never recommend doing Africa with a Lada Niva.
Although everything is possible in the end :P
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Old 9 Aug 2019
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Thank you! I was also considering the Toyota 4runner. Is this then a better choice than RAV4?


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Old 10 Aug 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovetheworld View Post
I agree, but the RAV4 is as servicable as the Lada in the countries where he is going. In fact, at times I saw more RAV4s than Nivas. Subaru is much less present than RAV4 or Lada Niva.
In the end I think the RAV4 will be more reliable and much more comfortable on long distance, for the long driving days.

He is also mentioning Africa. I don't know how to incorporate that in his route at this moment, because it is not easy to make a combination right now.
But I would never recommend doing Africa with a Lada Niva.
Although everything is possible in the end :P
I appreciate what you are saying however the Lada Niva is a proper and very capable 4wd. The Rav is AWD and not capable.

I am trading ability off against serviceability.
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Old 10 Aug 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erdei82 View Post
Thank you! I was also considering the Toyota 4runner. Is this then a better choice than RAV4?


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I have a 1996 Hilux Surf (4Runner) and think it's an excellent car. Not quite as tough as a Landcruiser or Hilux, but the build quality is the same.

Here it is at -40 degrees on the Kolyma Highway last winter



The trouble you will have is that cars of this age will need mechanical preparation, which gets expensive if you're not a somewhat experienced mechanic.

There are newer models, but very rare in Europe and I dare say not as well made.

EO
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Last edited by eurasiaoverland; 10 Aug 2019 at 07:32.
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