Lada Granta

It's not every day that Lada comes out with a new car. In fact, the Samara – which the model you see here is set to replace – has been on the market pretty much unchanged since 1997. (And that's not even their oldest model: the Niva 4x4 has been out there since 1977.) So the launch of the new Granta is a bit of an occasion for the Russian automaker and its parent company, AvtoVaz.

Based on the Kalina hatchback, the new Granta sedan is about as bare-bones as they come. For the equivalent of about $7,500, buyers born under Soviet rule get steel wheels, manual windows and... little else. A higher trim level with power steering, locks and windows, plus a stereo and ABS, goes for about $8,500. GPS, stability control and side-curtain airbags are options. Either way, it's got an old-school eight-valve 1.6-liter four that drives the front wheels through a five-speed manual, though a 16-valve 1.4-liter is on its way.

A competition version is also set to take on the World Touring Car Championship. You might be inclined to laugh, but if a Dacia can take on the Andros Trophy and Pikes Peak....
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