GM’s Hatchback Concept Will Stomp Sand & Save Fuel

Chevrolet’s outfit in Russia, a joint venture between GM and AVTOVAZ, is almost ready to release the next iteration of their hard-to-kill and easy-to-afford 4WD hatchback called the “NIVA.” To celebrate, they’re bending the throttle on one extra-intense version for the Moscow Auto Show.

The current Chevy NIVA sells for the equivalent of about $13,000 in Russia, and is incredibly popular for its frugal fuel consumption and off-road equipment. On this concept GM-AVTOVAZ is accentuating the wacky ruggedness of the little car with a lift, Mud Terrain tires, a winch, skid plates, snorkel, and inclinometer nestled in an aggressive interior.

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The production version slated for 2016 may not end up looking quite so menacing, but make no mistake– the NIVA is more capable than it looks.

After the redesign, the NIVA will hang on to the 4WD system and two-speed transfer case with high and low range it’s built a reputation on, and get a solid 30% torque increase from a new 1.8 liter gasoline engine.

GM-AVTOVAZ Managing Director Jeffrey Glover says; “The final street vehicle, which comes to market in just under two years, will also have a level of refinement and versatility to make it every bit as welcome in urban environments and big cities. This will be a truly all-in-one car that is designed to be practical in day-to-day-life, yet provides drivers off-road capabilities to allow an escape to realize their passions and hobbies far beyond city borders.”

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That may be a dose of marketing static, but it sounds like the company is committed to enhancing the NIVA’s rough-n-tumble abilities rather than water them down. The off-road accessories on this thing look pretty polished; the snorkel’s even got a “CHEVROLET” stamp on it. Maybe some of these parts will make their way into GM accessory catalogues.

Or better yet; perhaps GM-AVTOVAZ will homologate this lifted showpiece for the Dakar Rally to go toe-to-toe against the X-Raid MINIs and really prove it’s off-road worthy!

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Images: GM-AVTOVAZ