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10 Russian Cars You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Russia is not the first country you think of when you think of cars, but these 10 ones you probably never heard of come from Mother Russia.

One of the largest, most powerful countries in the world has a fascinating history of automobile production. In the past century, Russian automakers have created beastly 4x4s equipped to handle the harshest winter conditions, unique new sports cars, dangerously ill-equipped knockoffs, and even electric cars! As companies like Skoda and Lada begin to increase their international presence, it’s time to start paying attention to the Soviet segment of the market. Here’s a quick look at the best, the worst, and the strangest vehicles that Russia has to offer.

10 Lada XRAY

Made by Russian automaker AvtoVAZ, the Lada XRAY is a compact crossover with Renault heritage. Production of the XRAY began in 2015, and the car has become popular both inside and outside Russia. Contrary to the general public opinion that Lada produces low-quality cars, several reviewers have suggested that the company is no longer a name to be laughed at.

There’s a lot to like about the XRAY, including its price tag, performance, and compact size. Buyers have their choice of a 1.6L 4-cylinder gasoline engine or a 1.8L diesel engine, and the car is available with both a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift. The XRAY isn’t yet available in the UK or the EU; however, this little crossover’s commercial success may still be the facelift that Lada’s international reputation needs.

9 Volga GAZ-24

The Volga Gaz-24 is a classic Soviet-era car that was very popular in Russia and several international markets despite being fairly lackluster compared to other vehicles at the time. Similar in appearance to the Ford Falcon, the Gaz-24 was sold from 1970 to 1985 as a luxury saloon that quickly became a status symbol for Soviet families.

It wasn’t just desirable as a sedan, either- the 24 had various incarnations, including taxi versions, station wagons, pickup trucks and even ambulances! Though production eventually ceased in 1985, the GAZ-24’s legacy carried on with a successor, the GAZ-24-10, from 1986 to 1992.

8 Moskvitch 2140

If the Volga GAZ-24 was the luxury saloon of its time, the Moskvitch 2140 was at the opposite end of the ‘posh’ spectrum. This little sedan was produced by Soviet automaker AZLK. It was sold as an affordable family car from 1976 to 1988. One of the most popular “people’s cars” at the time, the 2140 came in several variations to appeal to a wide variety of Russians.

While the 2140 might not win any awards based on its appearance, it’s a popular choice among Russians for racing modifications even today (though perhaps not as popular as Lada sedans of a similar era). Like many other Russian vehicles, the 2140 had several incarnations- throughout its lifespan, it was also sold as a station wagon and a van for consumers requiring more utility of their car.

7 UAZ Hunter

Believe it or not, this is a brand-new car. UAZ is famous for its long history of producing tough military vehicles, and this model, the Hunter, showcases the best of the company’s proud history and technological advances. The Hunter is a rugged SUV built to withstand anything rural Russia’s extremely harsh climate can throw at it.

UAZ emphasized the focus on simplicity and functionality by styling the Hunter like its older Soviet military vehicles: the dashboard design and interior are about as bare-bones as vehicles come. What the Hunter lacks in upholstery, it makes up for with heavy-duty equipment. Though it may not be as luxurious as many other SUVs on the market, the Hunter is still a popular choice in Russia as well as most of Europe, Asia and Central America.

6 Lifan 320

No, it’s not a MINI Cooper: The Lifan 320, also known as the Lifan Smily, is a Russian subcompact made to mimic the ever-popular MINI Cooper. Much to the rest of the world’s dismay, Lifan has been producing the 320 since 2009. The car comes equipped with a tiny 1.3L 4-cylinder engine and can reach a blistering top speed of 96 miles per hour.

The Lifan 320 is notorious for being one of the lowest-rated cars on the Russian market in terms of safety- it earned a zero star safety rating in 2014 from the Latin NCAP, who cited the car’s lack of airbags as an extremely concerning lack of basic safety equipment. Despite this, the Lifan 320 is sold in several countries besides Russia, including Brazil and several Caribbean nations.

5 Avtokam 2160

Also known as the Ranger, the Avtokam 2160 is another peculiar Russian utility vehicle with a dull name and spartan interior. Outside of Russia, not much is actually known about the 2160, but the vehicle was sold under many names including Velta-21631.

It was another Russian vehicle built to be tough, and it was very similar in style to an international favorite, the Suzuki Jimny. It was produced for only a few years, from 1991 to 1997, and for a short time in 1999. Short and long-wheelbase options were available to buyers, but there is little evidence available to suggest how popular (or unpopular) the 2160 really was.

4 Skoda Kodiaq

Though Skoda is not well-known in America, the Russian Automaker has been turning heads and establishing themselves in several Asian and European markets lately. They are quickly becoming a more popular choice worldwide thanks to unexpected but high-quality new releases like the Kodiaq, a well-priced SUV with a range of options and engines to offer.

The Kodiaq can be purchased with either a 1.5L gasoline engine or a 2.0L diesel engine, as well as an automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission. AutoExpress UK reviewed the Skoda Kodiaq and gave it an overall score of 4 out of 5 alongside such competitors as the Kia Sorento and the Hyundai Santa Fe.

3 Marussia B2

The Marussia B2 is a Batmobile-like sports car developed by the now-defunct Marussia Motors. Marussia was the first company in Russia to ever produce a sports car, and they debuted with both the B2 and a mechanically similar, but very odd-looking, model called the B1.

The mid-engine marvel made international news and even appeared in three different Need For Speed titles. The B2 was produced and sold briefly in 2012 and came equipped with either a 3.5L V6 or a 2.8L turbocharged V6. Only around 500 units were produced, and the eye-watering sticker price was just over $130,000. Sadly, Marussia Motors shut down in 2014, and the B2 is considered an exceptionally rare collector’s car today.

2 Lada Niva

Few vehicles exemplify Russian craftsmanship as well as the Lada Niva. This car is a Soviet favorite that has been in production since 1977. It’s an off-road vehicle designed to perform well in the farthest reaches of Russian wilderness, and has often been described as a cross between a Land Rover and a Renault 5.

The Niva has only ever been available as a 4-speed or a 5-speed manual transmission, and engine choices over the years have been limited to a 1.6L, 1.7L, or 1.8L gasoline engine- or a 1.9L diesel engine. It’s simple, utilitarian and rugged- Russian engineering at its finest. The Niva, also known as the 4×4, is exceedingly popular in Russia as well as several other countries such as Brazil and New Zealand.

1 Kalashnikov CV-1

Russian gunmaker Kalashnikov, the same company that manufactured the AK-47, has been dabbling in the production of electric vehicles recently. In 2018, they introduced their prototype of a car called the CV-1 at the International Army Forum in Moscow. The color choice and styling evokes memories of Soviet classics from the 1970s while also incorporating modern design elements.

According to Kalashnikov’s website, the strange “concept electric supercar” will go from 0 to 60 mph in just under six seconds, and its range is expected to be an impressive 217 miles. As of right now, the Kalashnikov CV-1 is just a concept car, but rumor has it the company is interested in breaking into the automotive scene and possibly even competing with Tesla.

Russia is not the first country you think of when you think of cars, but these 10 ones you probably never heard of come from Mother Russia.

Russian autos

For sale, Buying, barter of antiquarian (classic, retro, oldtimer) automobiles and motorcycles in Russia (“Classic cars and motos Shop” in Lomakov cars and motos museum).

(Attention – is machine translation. Sorry.)

We are authorized by Government of Russia to authorize for export (or import) of ancient (classic, retro, oldtimer) cars and motorcycles from Russia. To take out from Russia the ancient automobile or motorcycle – it is necessary to receive the sanction of Ministry of Culture of Russian Government. “Lomakov`s museum of ancient automobiles and motorcycles ” is authorized to do(make) a preliminary expert examination for it. Only our museum is authorized to do(make) these documents.We are authorized by Government of Russia to authorize for import of ancient automobiles and motorcycles for Russia.Also our museum is authorized by Government of Russia to release(exempt) especially valuable ancient automobiles and motorcycles from the customs duties completely (up to zero). We in Russia not have problem for import or export old cars and motorcycles. Contact to Mr. Dmitry Lomakov and Lomakov`s cars and motorcycles Museum (Moscow, Russia): Contact

– The engine for a Mercedes Benz 540K 1934-1945. 8-line cilinder.

– The engine for a russian Government car ZIS -101 1936-1939. 8-line cilinder.

– Russian oldtimer cars GAZ 21 “Volga” 1959 – 1969 for sale 1500 – 6000$ (it complect but for restoration condition and cars in original lak-paint).

– for sale Opel Kadet 1938 = 3500$

– Automobile BMW-321 of a sample of 1939, (assembly of 1947). All spare parts native (i.e. original factory) – 95%. For restoration. By feature given the auto is complete absence of corrosion! The machine on sale only because is present second. The engine is removed(taken off) (lays beside), and is removed(taken off) the plating of interior – but all is present and in safety. It is necessary only all to screw on a place. Colour of the machine grey, wings and headlights black. There is a working technical passport. Ideal hobbi for the solvent clever and skilful person! The price: 20 000 Euro

– Oldtimer russian Government car ZiM (GAZ-12) 1954 (USSR). Original. For restoration. Price: – 20 000$!

– We have for sale Spare parts for Russian oldtimer cars: GAZ-21 – 22 Volga, GAZ- M20 Pobeda, ZiM (GAZ-12), GAZ-13 Chayka, GAZ-14, ZAZ-965, Moskvitch – 401, -402, -407, -403 (MZMA) (ZMA) etc.

– Russian oldtimer cars GAZ M20 “Pobeda” 1956 for sale 1100 – 3000$ (it complect but for restoration condition).

– Russian oldtimer cars Moskvich 401. 1949. (Russian Copy Opel Kadet 1939 but 4 door). Original 90%. For restoration. Price: 2000$.

– Russian oldtimer cars ZAZ 965. 1962. (Russian Copy FIAT-500 1955). Original 100%. For paint. – Sold!

– Russian 4×4 military car GAZ-67b 1943 (WW2) . Original complekt – 90%. Running. – Sold!

DKW Zonderklasse 1938 for sale. Not original engine and bridge. 2000 $.

All cars for sale in “Classic cars and motos Shop” (in Lomakov cars and motos museum ) – Russia, Moscow (metro station “Lublino”) Krasnodarskya str., zemle-vladenie 58. “Lomakov`s oldtimer cars and motorcycles museum”.

1. Automobiles and motorcycles till 1945 (type Horsh, Mercedes, Maybah, BMW, Zundapp, Indian, Russo-Balt, “Iozef Stalin”, IJ-1, ZIS -101 and others), Also we shall get governmental limousines let out after 1945 (type ZIS -110, -115; ZiL -111, -111 G, -114, -115, -117; GAZ -12 (ZiM); GAZ -13, -14) —- condition of offered automobiles and motorcycles can be different (in any case all offers will be considered). Price: let’s consider offers wishing to sell.

2. Book, manual, directories, maintenance instructions, catalogues, posters for ancient automobiles and motorcycles. Old samples the technical passports and rights.

3. Back bridge either half-axis or cog-wheels of the back bridge for a ZIS -110 .

4. Panel of devices, devices, engine, bridges, etc. – for Opel Admiral 1939 of issue .

5. Buy Tyres with whitewall (new and use) – 15, 16, 17 inches.

6. Eight cylinders (in line) engines from automobiles of German and soviet manufacture till 1950 of issue .

7. Disks of wheels on SEVEN pins for a Mercedes – Benz -320 1939 years . It is possible disk or on spokes. 17 inches or 16 inches. Rubber on 17 inches for such wheels . Devices, seat for a Mercedes till 1945.

8. We buy all Russian (and Soviet) automobiles and motorcycles 1896 – 1930 .

We have for Barter:

1. Motorcycle BMW-R35 of

1941-45 In a complete set 97 %, without corrosion. On Zundapp till 1945 of issue.

2. Russian oldtimer cars ( Volga GAZ-21, GAZ M20 Pobeda, Moskvitch-401 – 403 -407, ZiM ) barter for all cars 1896-1959 (maybe Ford, Cadilak, Buick, Shevrolet, Rolls-Royce, Bugatti etc. etc., all conditions, and use).

Contact to Mr. Dmitry Lomakov and Lomakov`s cars and motorcycles Museum (Moscow, Russia): Contact

You can help to a museum – place the pages address on a Museum and Russian Club on your pages!

Russian autos For sale, Buying, barter of antiquarian (classic, retro, oldtimer) automobiles and motorcycles in Russia (“Classic cars and motos Shop” in Lomakov cars and motos museum).