Be Still Andre’s Heart — There’s An Updated Lada Niva Bronto: Here’s What’s New

It's not a huge change, as some of you can imagine — but it does have an updated interior

Lada Niva Bronto
(Images: AutoVAZ)

Check out the newest update for the iconic Lada Niva.

For the uninitiated, this Lada Niva has been running since 1977 without too many seismic changes. Now, though, Russian manufacturer AvtoVAZ updated the Niva Bronto (or 4×4 Bronto in Russia) — the most hardcore version of its rough-and-ready, rugged off-roader. TFLtruck and TFLoffroad managing editor Andre Smirnov squealed with delight on seeing this car in our office. It’s a shame you couldn’t hear it, but you’ll just have to trust me on that one.

From the outside, the Niva rocks similar styling to the Niva Legend — the one with its roots firmly planted in the late 70’s and early 80’s. There is technically a “new” Niva called the Travel, though that version has been part of a joint venture between AvtoVAZ and General Motors and called the Chevrolet Niva until just recently. Underneath, folks who can buy this Niva Bronto still get an archaic 1.7-liter gasoline engine. 82 horsepower and 95 lb-ft of torque makes its way to all four wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. What specifically sets the Bronco apart from a standard three-door Niva Legend are front and rear locking differentials, a toughened rear axle and upgraded suspension. Overall, the Lada Niva Bronto packs 9.4 inches of ground clearance.

Lada Niva Bronto
This is a slightly older representation of the Niva Legend — but its interior hasn’t changed that much in the past few years.

There are ‘Luxe’ and ‘Prestige’ versions, too

Lest you think the Lada Niva should have just stayed in the 20th century, you do get some modern features if you pick the Luxe or Prestige packages. The Lada Niva Bronto Luxe offers such features as steel bumpers and rails, as well as wheel arch extensions covering the 15-inch wheels wrapped in mud-terrain tires. Step up to the Prestige, and you get “massive” (their words) plastic bumpers, a bespoke grille, plastic wheel arch linings and fog lights.

The Niva Bronto also gets an updated interior panel with new climate controls, heated seats, and modern interior lights. AvtoVAZ also claims it’s worked on an “imprvoed noise and vibration package”, as well as other unspecified technical tweaks. In other words, this Niva should be a bit more livable daily driver than versions past, for all that’s worth.

While it pales in comparison to, say, a Jeep Wrangler, at least the Lada Niva Bronto should be cheap. Mind you, it’s not going on sale in the U.S. However, those who can put their name in the order books should be able to pick one up for no more than about 725,000 rubles (around $10,000 U.S. dollars) at the high end.

Sadly, we haven’t had a Lada Niva in the TFL fleet just yet. That said, we do have some experience with quirky old off-roaders