Russia's Lada unveils Kalina hatchback

The Kalina will lend its platform to the first Datsun of the 21st century.

Russia's Lada has lifted the veil off of the second-generation Kalina, a subcompact model positioned above the entry-level Granta.

Offered as a five-door hatchback and a station wagon, the Kalina rides on a heavily-modified version of the first-gen Kalina's platform. Nearly every aspect of it has been improved with the help of engineers from Renault-Nissan, which owns a controlling stake in Lada parent company AvtoVAZ.

Visually, the Kalina is the most stylish Lada in recent memory. It boasts a modern design thanks to aggressive headlights, a single-slat grille with honeycomb inserts, a rippled hood and a stylized bumper. The rear end is a little less shapely but it represents a great leap forward over the first-gen model.

The entry-level Kalina is Spartan at best on the inside, but the range-topping Lux model can be ordered with rain-sensing wipers, a touch screen-based infotainment system and A/C.

The Kalina is available with three 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines that range from 87 to 106 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard, and a four-speed automatic can be ordered at an extra cost.

The new Kalina is on sale now in its home country of Russia. A variant equipped with electronic stability control, an acceptable number of airbags and standard ABS brakes will go on sale in select European countries before the end of the year.

The Datsun connection.

The first Datsun-badged car in over 30 years will ride on a modified version of the second-gen Kalina's platform. Aimed exclusively at emerging markets, the yet-unnamed car will debut at a private event in New Delhi, India, next month.

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