And News From 2015

Whatever happened to Steve Mattin? After a spell at Mercedes and then producing some unhappy-looking Volvo’s he went to work for Autovaz in Russia.

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Lada showed this car two years ago and launched it last year. Despite a downturn in the Russian economy, the car is selling well. The wheel arch treatment is there to disguise the height of the bodyside. The car is 4.4 metres long, has a 1.6 litre petrol 4 (and that’s it) and is based on Renault-Nissan bits (that firm now controls Autovaz). Renault are making a name for themselves as the new Fiat: providers of cheap and cheery transport in developing countries.

To understand the trope, let’s hear Autocar and Mr Mattin: “That front face is the most eye-catching part of Lada’s reinvention. Mattin studied rivals and wanted to do something completely different from the horizontal front-ends and trapezoidal and single-frame front grilles currently dominating the industry.

He settled on the ‘X’ theme, a bold treatment that connects the headlights, front grille, lower air intake and front fogs. The angle and size of the X can be changed for different models to give it a different treatment, but maintaining the new strategic look. “It’s simple and bold,” says Mattin, “X is a strong letter.””

Here’s the interior. Nothing to scare the horses but also very, very predictable. Is it reminiscent of the Fiesta? It’s busy and characterless.


2016 Lada Vesta interior: souce
2016 Lada Vesta interior: source

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

15 thoughts on “And News From 2015”

  1. I was ready to jump in with both boots about those flank creases, but they actually appear quite interesting in natural light. It is unfortunate however that Mitsubishi have landed on exactly the same front end treatment.

    1. True Chris that, so used am I to the entirely random creasing on Mercedes and the like, that these look almost disciplined – though not actually good looking, they are distinctive, which is no bad thing. That said, I feel that the down creases would look better if they aimed for the wheel centres. I see they do an SUV using the same graphic.

  2. That is a very unattractive car. I have to agree that the S60/V60 designed under his watch at Volvo are bland and not very Volvo, but he hit a home run with the XC60.

  3. The front part of the X sculpting looks like it must create some unnecessary drag.

  4. Should we feel sorry for Mattin? The salary is probably okay but I imagine Autovaz is not as easy to work at as his previous employers. Then he has obviously not had much much luck in fashioning anything good and distinctive; Schreyer has really turned out good work at Kia he’d never been able to do at VAG. I notice he’s now 62, which means looming retirement. Gosh.

  5. As far as I understand, Schreyer has Luc Donckerwolke, presently at Hyundai / Genesis, lined up as his successor. If you’re ex VAG or BMW, the world is your oyster. Or spaniel, if you have the stomach for it.

    Moving on to the ‘X theme’ the current Toyota Aygo has a version so literal that Scottish Nationalists buy them in the conveniently available flat mid blue, and have the black bits of trim painted white to create a saltire cross.

  6. I’ve seen it in the flesh and it is quite ok for an unpretentious car, imho. In the local market, prices go from less than €7.000 to €10.000 , so it certainly is good value. On the engine, a 1.8 with 123 hp should become available later this year.

  7. We must do this news thing more often, to judge by the interest. I notice Autocar often struggles to get ten replies, which is odd given their huge readership. The odd thing is that not Car nor Autocar get much of the depth of commentary you see at TTAC or CC or indeed here (if our loyal readers can accept such flattery!).
    The Lada here isn’t that bad. However, the arch creases seem superficial. Clever ones do the job of flaring the body and seem inevitable and integrated. The first Honda HRV and Peugeot 605 are examples, maybe the Mk1 Focus is another though they seem graphic at first sight. Any others?

    1. Are you waiting for someone to mention the Astra F?

      If we’re staying with Opel, what about the first Corsa? Or is that too superficial / obvious already?

    2. Interestingly enough, TTAC and CC are basically the only other sites I read these days. Those and Aronline, but I don’t know if anything new has been written there for a while?

  8. Ingvar: me too. I check in at Autocar and find the news not very newsy and the reviews tedious. I can’t get past Car’s front page – scroll, scroll, scroll … Automotive News is good. That is news.
    Bart Demandt’s site has lots of stats and analsysis. That’s useful too.

  9. Reminds me of those Qoros models currently seeming to be struggling to get traction with the market.

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