Some elements of the 1990s have aged well. Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, for example. Or The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Britpop is maturing rather nicely, too.
Others are best left in the 90s. Madonna’s cone bra; ‘The Rachel’ haircut; the Spice Girls – file them in the archives and bolt the door. Before setting fire to the closet.
This is the Lada Granta Sport. It wasn’t built in the 1990s – it’s very much a product of the new millennium. But trawl through the specification sheet and check out the photos and you’ll discover the Lada is as 90s as a Baywatch red bikini.
Take the styling. The Lada Granta Sport manages to make the compact saloon look vaguely alluring. Could this be the first genuinely appealing sporting Shatchback since the Renault 19 16v Chamade? Dare we suggest it’s like some kind of Eastern Bloc Impreza?
It gets better. The figures on the spec sheet would have warmed the hearts of young petrolheads in the early to mid 90s. A 1.6-litre 16v engine developing a 90s-tastic 118hp, enough to propel this hunk of Eastern promise to 62mph in 9. 5 seconds. Top speed: 122 mph.
To kids who have grown up on a diet of 200 hp+ hot hatches and turbocharged performance saloons, the Lada Granta Sport will sound a bit Limp Bizkit. But to PetrolBlog, it’s all a bit Dope.
Put it this way: you just know it will be terrific fun extracting every last horsepower as you wind your way along a B-road like the Moskva weaving its way through Moscow. Pure and useable fun, none of this only-fully-exploitable-on-a-track nonsense.
Write this off as a one tricky pony at your peril. Lada has splashed the rubles to create the world’s greatest performance Russian Shatchback. Upgraded brakes, stiffer suspension, improved steering and what appear to be delightfully aftermarket alloy wheels create the effect.
That said, the single exhaust pipe looks a bit naff considering the rear bumper allows room for two. At least pop down to Halfski and pick up a job lot of chrome exhaust trim for the opposite side. Maybe fit a Goodmans CD player at the same time…
Lada has managed to make the interior look vaguely inviting, with red stitching, sports seats and Granta Sport detailing helping to lift the gloom, whilst delivering the look of a lukewarm hatch from the 90s. There’s even a touchscreen infotainment system – in a Lada! Changing times…
And the price for all this Russian goodness? The small matter of 541,000 rubles, or £6,425. Yup, little more than the price of a Dacia Sandero Access. A 90s car for a 90s price – as Leslie Crowther might have said: come on down, the price is right.
But don’t take our word for it, because Lada has made some startling claims about the Granta Sport. For example:
“It is for those who are determined to succeed in life. The world of Granta Sport is full of drive, speed, negation of clichés. It is the world of a car that makes your life richer and brighter.”
You won’t read that in a Ford or Audi brochure any time soon. More’s the pity.
Amazingly, the Lada Granta Sport is available to buy in Germany, so we have visions of it hustling Porsche Panameras and Audi A8s in the outside lane of an autobahn, Scorpions cranked up to the max on the head unit.
It might sound like the name of an Irish sports broadcaster, but right now the Granta Sport is close to the top of PetrolBlog’s virtual shopping list. Sadly, some videos on YouTube show the Lada being out-dragged by all number of smaller-engined vehicles, so the signs aren’t great, but we sense the Granta is less about grunt and more about grins. Or something.
But if you happen to own a Lada Granta Sport, do get in touch. PetrolBlog is keen to discover the truth about this 90s throwback. Hot or not – Granta Sport owners, it’s over to you.