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?