Despite being originally introduced back in 1977, the immortal Lada Niva is still a popular choice among purists looking for an affordable off-roader. What happens though if you want the absolute best? Setting aside the factory-spec Bronto flagship variant that can cost up to ₽994,900 ($12,768) in Russia, there is an even more extreme Niva offered by the German tuner Zubr which is currently listed on eBay for €44,000 ($49,018).
Paying that kind of money for a Lada Niva seems absurd since the same amount could buy you a brand new Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler. We should note however that this is no regular Niva, since it has plenty of visual and mechanical modifications, prompting Zubr to give it the “Monster” name.
Starting with the exterior, a simple comparison with a stock Niva is enough to show that the Monster is designed for serious off-roading. First of all, the 16-inch alloy wheels are shod in beefy Hankook Dynapro M/T tires, with a special mount needed for the full-size spare. To cover the wider stance Zubr added bolt-on fenders with additional extensions, matching the off-road front and rear bumpers. The custom paint is courtesy of Raptor which makes it resistant to scratches and corrosion. There is also a custom grille making the round LED headlights look more aggressive, additional intakes on the bonnet and C-pillars, a winch, a snorkel, dual exhaust pipes, and side steps. The latter is needed because this Niva sits so much higher from the ground that getting inside the cabin requires some effort.
Speaking of ground clearance, the Monster sits 150 mm (5.9 inches) higher than a regular Niva which has a 235 mm (9.25 inches) ride height. It also has extensive chassis modifications including a bespoke suspension designed for extreme off-road use, plus extra underbody protection for the mechanical components. Surprisingly, the tuner kept the ancient 1.7-liter petrol engine that produces only 82 hp (61 kW / 83 PS) and 129 Nm (95 lb-ft) of torque. Power is transmitted to all four wheels through the stock five-speed manual gearbox and the standard permanent 4WD system.
Inside, the Monster has received leather upholstery that is not so visible from outside because of the heavily tinted windows. This model is based on the recently updated Niva so equipment includes air-conditioning, heated seats, electric mirrors, remote locking, USB audio system, 12-volt outlets, and cup holders. While this is far from what we call luxury and technology features, it sounds good enough for most people that would be interested in such a vehicle.
While the pictured vehicle is ready to be delivered, you shouldn’t feel limited in terms of options. Additional features can include a selection of roof racks, ladders, LED bars, bullbars, and more, at an extra cost. Zubr says you can order your personalized Niva with a production time of approximately 12 weeks.