Despite the ongoing crisis in the Russian car market caused by European sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, state-owned Avtovaz continues to upgrade its offerings which are reserved for the local population. The latest example is the upgraded LCV variants of the Lada Niva Legend which is available in single-cab and dual-cab box vans in different conversions.
The most important modification on the LCVs is the stronger frame which allows for greater cargo-carrying capabilities. Lada engineers applied similar reinforcements to those found in Niva-based fire trucks and rescue vehicles. Thus, the load capacity of the commercial vehicles is now ranging between 640 kg (1,411 pounds) and 800 kg (1,764 pounds), representing an increase of up to 185 kg (407 pounds) compared to the previous versions.
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The lineup includes several different bodystyles with boxy load compartments with a capacity between 1-3.5 cubic meters (35.3-123.6 cubic feet). As we can see from the official photos, some Niva LCVs have two seats with a larger box at the back, and others have five seats with a smaller cargo area made of fiberglass. The company also offers refrigerators, vans with insulated cargo areas, or special models equipped with heavy-duty suspension for rougher terrains.
Interestingly, all of the pictured variants have two doors, despite being longer than the five-door Niva Legend. Speaking of the footprint, independently of the configuration, the wheelbase of the LCVs is identical at 2,850 mm (112.2 inches) and the total length is 4,440 mm (174.8 inches). Due to the different available shapes of the cargo boxes, the height varies from 1,770 – 2,000 mm (69.7 – 78.7 inches), while the ground clearance is either 205 mm (8.1 inches) or 240 mm (9.5 inches) depending on the suspension configuration and the diameter of the wheels (15-inches or 16-inches).
All of the Niva LCVs are powered by the same naturally aspirated 1.7-liter four-cylinder petrol engine producing 82 hp (61 kW / 83 PS) and 129 Nm (95 lb-ft) of torque. Just like in the regular Niva Legend, power is transmitted to all four wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox with the help of locking differentials. Likewise, the spartan interior is carried over from the passenger off-roader.
The commercial vehicles are manufactured in Russia by an Avtovaz subsidiary called “PSA VIS-AVTO”. Pricing, which has obviously been affected by the financial crisis and the sanctions, starts from ₽1,153,400 ($16,660) for the cheaper LCV trim and goes all the way up to ₽1,719,900 ($24,843) for the most expensive refrigerator.