This unassuming little notchback is the latest offering from Russia’s AvtoVaz:
Renault owns a quarter of AvtoVaz, but the Lada Granta shows little or no Frenchmobile influence. To save a few rubles, the Granta was spun off the smaller Kalina platform, so you’ll find little of the latest and putatively greatest technology: the sole engine offered at first is a 1.6-liter SOHC four with about 80 hp, stirred by a five-speed manual. (On the way: a 1.4L DOHC four with 90 hp. Still no automatics.)
Granta buyers will be able to choose between two trim levels. The first is called “standard” and carries a base price of $7,500, $400 more than Lada was shooting for when it was developing the car. For that price the Granta has to settle with black plastic bumpers, steel wheels and roll up windows.
The second trim is called “classic” and is much better equipped. For $8,500, customers get luxury features such as power steering, electric windows, ABS, a stereo, and power door locks. A GPS system, side curtain airbags and ESP are on the options list.
AvtoVaz hopes to sell 100,000 of these little boxes a year, and reportedly already has orders for 20,000. No word on any export versions, though there’s obviously no way they’d come to the States, and Lada has mostly withdrawn from the Canadian market.