The Lada Vesta is a compact family car made by AvtoVAZ. It was designed by Steve Mattin, the designer behind some recent Volvos and the SLR McLaren. He also designed all S, SL, SLK and M-Class Mercedes models made between 2003-2005 so quite how and why he ended up doing this, I don't know.

The Vesta was first introduced at the 2014 Moscow International Car Show (I have some qualms about the "international" part) and production started in September 2015 in Izhevsk, not too far from the Urals. Apparently, this is one of the best selling cars in Russia, and Putin likes it, too. He's a bit biased, perhaps.

Technical stuff

The Vesta is built on what AvtoVAZ/Lada call the "Lada B" platform, which is basically a second-hand Renault Mégane and that's because AvtoVAZ is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. So what you're driving is essentially an old Renault, which is good because the old Mégane wasn't all that bad.

It is available with two different engines, both of them petrol, a 106 HP 1,6 and a 122 HP 1,8 coupled with a standard manual or a single-clutch 5-speed automatic. It is longer than a Golf and it weighs 1300 kg.

Geek stuff

Inside, the Vesta is rather unremarkable but it is at least practical. There's some techno-geek stuff here and there but nothing to wave your arms about. It has something called EBD, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control, hill start assistant and, but this is an optional extra, a 7-inch screen infotainment system is available. It's touchscreen and comes with all the whats and whatnots, like AUX, Bluetooth connection, etc. Mind you, I don't think AppleCarPlay is available.

Racing (what?) stuff

Amazingly, the Vesta has a presence in motorsport. It's competed in the FIA World Touring Car Championship with Robert Huff, James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy at the wheel. It even got a pole position in Argentina.

The Vesta is Putin-approved

The Vesta is Putin-approved

Verdict

All in all, we all know this is a car that only really makes sense in Russia. It is very cheap to buy by our own standards (746k rubles, that's about £8,6k give or take) but that's just about average in Russia.

Which brings us back, I guess, to the title and to the reason why I've decided to call this new biweekly column "cars nobody cares about". It's because, well, nobody really cares about the Vesta anyway. Sorry, I may have wasted your time. See you in two weeks, with more cars nobody gives a rat's a*s about.

Next car in two weeks (Sunday, January 20) : A car from India.

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