A documentary producer and a journalist took a road trip from Moscow to Sochi to see the Olympics. Their rented vehicle was a Lada Niva, a car selected because “it is the closest thing to an automotive version of the Russian soul.”
With its snub nose and mile-apart headlights, the Niva looks like a dimwitted but scrappy puppy, and the ride is about as comfortable as a minor earthquake. When driving at highway speeds, the wheel squirms in your hands as if you’ve offended it. Gear changes are about as smooth as eating a spoonful of hot gravel, and the gas pedal might as well be made of soft cheese. The Niva is as drafty as a paper bag and about as fast as you’d expect of a Russian car that originated, for all intents and purposes, while Elvis was alive.
Along the way, they attended a wedding and an Orthodox Christmas celebration, but the star of the story is the Niva, a tough little car that can be reliable if you are good with a hammer. –via Metafilter
(Image credit: Paul S. Amundsen)