The Lada Niva or VAZ-2121 (Russian: Лада Нива; Niva (нива) is the Russian word for “crop field”) is an off-road vehicle produced by the Russian (former Soviet) manufacturer AvtoVAZ. It was also marketed as the Lada Sport in Iceland, Lada Taiga in Austria, Bognor Diva in Uruguay, the Lada Cossack in Britain, and is offered since 2009 on most markets as the Lada 4×4.
It was the first mass production off-road vehicle to feature a unibody architecture, independent front suspension with coil springs, and is a predecessor to current crossover SUVs which nearly all follow this format; it inspired the Suzuki Vitara. Pickup and emergency van versions are produced by VAZInterService.
A notable Niva buyer in May 2009 was Russia’s then-premier Vladimir Putin. He flaunted his camouflage-painted offroader in the Russian media, to boost AvtoVAZ’s ‘vehicles’ sales despite the financial crisis’ – but, in January 2010, he admitted to students in Cheboksary his vehicle had a German-made Opel engine. “It turns out that it’s more powerful,” he added. (source)