If you regularly follow our website, I don't need to tell you that we love looking for cheap SUVs all over the world and, on that list, there's no shortage of the legendary Russian Lada Niva, 'locked out' in its home country by the trade ban following the invasion of Ukraine and the pollution emissions ban. 

But did you know that the Renault Group was going to develop a modern Niva for European markets? Unfortunately, the war put an end to this project, as the French multinational sold its stake in AvtoVAZ (Lada) and left the Russian company to its fate as punishment. 

Render Lada Niva 2024

No shortage of gearboxes

The idea was to create a 4x4 aesthetically close to the original Niva and also with the same compact dimensions as its predecessor. It would, however, have rear doors to increase its versatility and be designed for a much more everyday and family use. 

It would normally have retained all-wheel drive and a reduction gearbox, as in Russia it is quite common to use cars fully on all types of roads, not for fun, but as a need for mobility. The platform could have been the CMF-B used on models such as the Renault Captur or the new Dacia Duster

Gallery: 2020 Lada 4x4 (Niva) FL

Powertrains

In terms of engines, it could have inherited familiar Dacia powertrains, such as the turbocharged petrol 1.0 TCe with 90 and 110 PS, or even the bi-fuel (petrol and LPG) 1.0 ECO-G with 100 PS, not forgetting the non-plug-in hybrid system with a combined 140 PS. 

The digital Niva you can see in this article, created by specialist Nikita Chuicko, seems to us to be a perfect vehicle to pay homage to that legacy. What's more, it's based on a teaser that was released and which you can see below - damn the war that killed the project!

Low price

But suppose this car were to reach the European market, how much would it cost? Can you imagine it costing around €25,000 (approx. £21,500)? Given its Renault 'genes' and the success of Dacia, it would certainly go in like a knife through butter.  

Sadly, barring a complete turn of events, there's nothing to suggest that this car will ever become a reality. So, at £17,295, we still have the Dacia Duster (2023.5 MY) as the cheapest SUV on sale in the UK.