vinfast vf8

Vinfast VF8 EV Review

The American automobile market is known for its diverse range of vehicles, hailing from countries such as Japan, Korea, Germany, Sweden, and more. However, a new player has entered the scene, making its debut on American roads – the 2023 VinFast VF 8.

Featured Image source: motortrend

VinFast, a relatively unknown Vietnamese carmaker, is making its foray into the North American car market with the VF 8. Canada Drives had the opportunity to test drive a pre-production model of this vehicle to determine if it has what it takes to compete with the industry’s best.

VinFast’s ambitions to sell electric cars in the North American market are commendable, although their timeline might be more realistic for a launch in Canada by 2023. The company has also recently announced a significant investment of $6.5 billion US in a state-of-the-art assembly plant in Northern Carolina, set to be completed by 2024. This move will not only bolster VinFast’s production capabilities but also create over 7,000 jobs in the area.

What caught our attention was VinFast’s collaboration with Pininfarina, the renowned design studio known for its work with prestigious automakers like Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. With Pininfarina overseeing VinFast’s designs, we were certainly intrigued to learn more about the company and experience the VF 8 firsthand.

VinFast VF 8 interior

The cabin of the VF 8 impresses with its generous size, comparable to that of some midsize SUVs. Passengers will find ample rear legroom and headroom, contributing to a comfortable experience. Moreover, the overall build quality of the VF 8 surpasses expectations, featuring impressive materials that showcase the progress of a carmaker that emerged less than a decade ago.

Inspired by Tesla, VinFast has integrated most of the car’s controls into a large central command screen. While the Android-based system features VinFast’s interface with visually appealing menus and colorful graphics, our unit encountered some software issues. Consequently, it’s too early to comprehensively evaluate the system, although we did appreciate its swift execution and overall aesthetic.

When it comes to cargo space, the VF 8 is a class leader, although official numbers are yet to be disclosed. Additionally, the VF 8 offers a frunk, which gives it an advantage in the cargo space arena, potentially surpassing the Hyundai/Kia twins in this aspect.

VinFast VF 8 EV Power, Range, and Driving Impressions

VinFast’s VF 8 boasts an 82 kWh usable (90 kWh raw) battery that powers two electric motors. The base Eco model generates 348 combined horsepower and 368 combined lb-ft of torque, allowing it to achieve a 0-96 km/h time of six seconds. Its range, measured according to WLTP protocols, is rated at 510 km, although official EPA figures are still pending.

The VF 8 Plus model takes things up a notch for those seeking even more power. With 402 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque, this range-topping variant can accelerate from 0 to 96 km/h in just 5.3 seconds. Additionally, it offers a range of 460 km, also based on WLTP protocols.

Vinfast has plans to enhance the regenerative braking system through a series of over-the-air updates. Although the straight-line performance of the VF 8 is satisfactory, the large and squared-off hood creates a sense of mass, giving the vehicle a larger appearance than it is. The brakes, on the other hand, offer a fantastic and firm bite. However, we were slightly disappointed with the performance of the regenerative braking system. Vinfast assures that this will be improved through software updates.

In terms of handling, the VF 8 impresses with its rock-solid stability, refined driving dynamics, and a sense of quality reminiscent of German vehicles. Even in its pre-production stage, the VF 8 showcases an overall high level of quality.

Infotainment, Technology, and Safety

Like other newer EVs, such as the Polestar 2 and Volkswagen ID.4, the VF 8 does not have a traditional start button. Instead, you can start the car by simply getting inside with the key fob in your pocket and pressing the brake pedal. Conversely, the vehicle will automatically shut off when you exit and lock it.

The interior of the VF 8 is centered around a large display screen, which serves as the primary focus. There are no physical controls except for a volume knob in the center console. Despite the reliance on a single display, the system is intuitive, well-organized, and user-friendly.

The left side of the display is dedicated to vehicle operations, including adjustments for mirrors and steering wheel, drive modes, cameras, and headlights. Additionally, you can control the panoramic sunroof and sunshade from this screen. Climate controls are situated at the bottom, allowing for easy temperature adjustment and defrosting with a single click. Other functions can be accessed through the climate control menu.

While these functions would typically be operated using physical switches and buttons, the VF 8’s display makes adjusting settings a breeze. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay can be seamlessly connected without the need for any wire connections. Once connected, Android Auto automatically starts up whenever you enter the car, and it takes advantage of a significant portion of the expansive display, ensuring clear readability.

One notable feature is the integrated Pet Mode. Activating this mode enables the air conditioning to remain on while the vehicle is locked, ensuring your pet’s comfort. A message displayed on the screen reassures you, saying, “Please don’t worry! The climate control is still on to make sure my pet is comfortable. I’ll be back shortly.”

However, one minor drawback of the display is its slow reaction time. There were instances where I had to make a selection twice before the system executed the command.

VF8 Cost: Is it Worth It?

In the United States, the VF 8 City Edition marks the initial arrival of the VF 8, with a limited production of just 999 new electric vehicles (EVs). Deliveries for the VF 8 City Edition commenced earlier this year, while the VF 8 Standard models are set to arrive later in the spring. Once the City Editions are sold out, all VF 8s will be offered in the Standard model.

VinFast allows customers to choose between the VF 8 City Edition and VF 8 Standard, with each variant available in Eco or Plus trims. The VF 8 Eco carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $50,200 (both prices include the $1,200 destination charge). The City Edition and Standard models share the same MSRP, but the City Edition is exclusively available for lease. Currently, VinFast vehicles can only be purchased in California, but the company has plans to expand its sales footprint beyond the state.

As of now, it is premature to provide a definitive recommendation on the VinFast VF 8. However, as VinFast’s initial foray into the global market, it is evident that they are prepared to compete with the industry leaders. The foundation of the VF 8 seems promising.

The VF 8 has clearly been designed to pose a challenge to Tesla, but it remains to be seen if it can truly rival the Model Y. Nonetheless, it would not be surprising if the VF 8 emerges as a strong contender against competitors such as the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Nissan Ariya.

Please note that this assessment is based on the information available at this stage, and a comprehensive evaluation can only be made once we have the opportunity to test a production-ready VF 8 closer to its release date.

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