Parp parp! GTA Online adds a splendidly shonky Lada

Though many new vehicles added to GTA Online are ridiculously expensive and bristling with turbochargers and missile launchers, treasures for crimefolks who grind or buy all that microtransaction cash, this week’s update has added a car for the rest of us: a knock-off Lada which can even be customised with cardboard body kits. The Rune Cheburek is cheap, it’s cheerful, and I’ve had a whole lot of fun driving my rusty new crapmobile around Los Santos.

The Rune Cheburek (named after this deep-fried treat) is a mix of several classic Ladas from the 1980s, I’m told, and arrived in yesterday’s update. It costs only $145,000 from Southern San Andreas Super Autos, and it’s not expensive to mod – especially if you go for the stylish $100 cardboard parts. It’s not mandatory to trash your Cheburek, mind. Rockstar show off this shiny one:

If you do want to go scrappy, you certainly can. You can clad it in cardboard, slap on rust, and whack a big subwoofer in the back to pump out Britney to drivers around you. It’s leaning into the jokes of “cardboard ricer” mods and–going by many pictures I’ve seen of players with their Chebureks–that funny ol’ Internet’s questionable memes about Slavs and Russian “gopniks”. It even has the ubiquitous Russian dashcam.

But I like that the Cheburek is both an homage to classic cars, celebrating and preserving them, and enjoying how scrappy and silly many of them have ended up. A mate of mine had a Lada in such a sorry state that I cannot believe it even ran, a state I’m sure many Ladas ended up in. The passenger seat’s floor mat was taped down to cover a hole where rust had eaten through. I am glad to remember that as I drive this.

It is a fun car to drive, surprisingly fast and wonky in a way that gives it personality. I prefer video game vehicles (and weapons) with quirks and personality over ones which are, like, actually good, so I’ve had a great time pootling around Los Santos. My rusty wreck looks so good, this NPC pedestrian stopped to take a photo on her phone – and don’t you try to tell me this is something they’ll do for just any car.

Oh, and yesterday’s update also added new Madrazo Dispatch Services contact missions from Martin. He’ll bug you every now and then to sneak into somewhere, murder some people, and generally get up to no good. I’ve not had a go yet because they’re only for 2-4 players–no solos, sadly–and nobody online was biting. They’re offering double XP and cash for the first week so hey, there’s incentive to form a group.

Disclosure: I know a few folks who work at Rockstar, though I’m not actually sure what they do. We don’t really talk about work?


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    phuzz says:

    My car is in for it’s MOT next week, I’m sure a cardboard rear wing will help it pass, right?

  2. GameCat says:

    Cardboard parts? A vehicle to surpass Metal Gear.

  3. Kollega says:

    It costs “only” $145,000? “In-universe, you got ripped off” does not begin to describe it. Even when the Soviet rouble was priced by the government higher than the dollar, you could buy this car for the equivalent of approximately 6902 US dollars IRL.

    That’s using 1986 prices for the car and the not-freely-convertible Soviet rouble. After the USSR and then the Russian economy crashed (the latter doing so several times), you could probably buy a 2106 Lada for one or two hundred bucks. So “$145,000 to get a Lada in San Andreas”, and such a price being cheap… is either some shady car dealer in-universe being really cheeky (instead of cheeki-breeki), the developers being really cheeky, or more probably, the indication of the GTA Online economy being completely out of whack. Or perhaps most likely, all three at the same time. I rest my case.

    • Kollega says:

      Err, correction: I did my calculations wrong, and it seems that the actual price of the car in 1986, for an American showing up to a Soviet auto dealership with wads of foreign cash for reasons unknown, would be about three dollars less than $12,000. But even then – this is the wholly artificial Soviet-era price determined by central planners, and $12,000 is still not $145,000.

      • tomimt says:

        Back in the day in Finland, Lada’s were the cheapest cars around, so you still can’t walk a meter here without stumbling into someone getting their retro jollies off by driving one. Heck, if you’d ask almost any +30-years old around here, they’d probably have memories of riding in one that was either their parents or friends or uncles Lada.

    • EthZee says:

      It’s the third one: as evidenced by the other car they released, some 70s era Italian sport classic, which is sold on the in game website explicitly not for luxury cars, retailing at about $1.25 million. Just shy of $150k for a recent DLC vehicle is positively cheap.

  4. milligna says:

    Chris Roberts is going to be very angry another game got “parp” to market first. Again.

  5. EthZee says:

    The fact that this car gets a news article all to itself pleases me greatly. Ladas are great cars, our family had Ladas plural growing up and I still have a fondness for them now. I’m sad that they’re such a rare sight on the roads nowadays.

  6. BaronKreight says:

    I’m not sure but I think you can still see some old russian-soviet cars on the run in some African, Arab and Latin American countries where Soviet influence was strong.

    • Kollega says:

      You definitely can; and it may even be that they were assembled locally. The VAZ-2107 model was actually produced in Egypt since 2006 (about the same time production was stopped in Russia) and untill 2014. You can also see Lada cars en-masse in Cuba, for obvious reasons – including heavily modified versions.

  7. Martijn says:

    I don’t play GTA, but this Lada is based on the Fiat 128 (picture), which is a favourite of mine in both Forza Horizon and Dirt 4. Both games sadly lack the option for cardboard upgrades, so that is one thing GTA has on them.

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