A Dacia and Lada love-in spawns a new off-road beast from Eastern Europe

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In a complex Eastern European love triangle, Romania’s Dacia and Russia’s Lada are bedfellows, thanks to France’s Renault, and the first fruits of this coupling will be a pair of new 4×4 twins.

Renault has owned Dacia since 1999 and took on Lada in 2012. Until now, the two companies have been left to their own devices. Dacia focused on inexpensive small cars and crossovers like the Sandero and the Duster, while Lada just kept plugging on with its rugged and rough Niva 4×4 and the oddball Granta.

The two firms will now become a single business unit and share technology leading to a duo of new cars. Dacia was first to reveal its Bigster concept car on a new, flexible platform. Designed to be a no-frills 4×4, it’s actually chunkily attractive, with an almost Dodge-like nose and stealth matte paintwork.

Dacia’s design boss Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos describes the Bigster as “essential, with a touch of cool and an outdoor spirit. It proves that accessible is not opposed by any meanings to attractiveness. At Dacia we believe so, and this car is the proof.”

Meanwhile, and a little further east, Lada has teased its version, dubbed the Niva Vision. The video below mostly dwells on the Niva’s heritage as a go-anywhere vehicle, describing Lada as “an unbreakable brand from the heart of Russia.” The Niva Vision will have a lot to live up to when it is revealed later this year.

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