The 2023 VinFast VF8 Got Skewered in First Drive Reviews
You don’t see a new car get roasted this hard very often these days. It’s an inauspicious start for the Vietnamese automaker’s U.S. market entry.
The 2023 VinFast VF 8 is an electric crossover SUV tasked with introducing a new automaker to the U.S. A fresh, competitively-priced EV in a practical body style sounds pretty enticing on paper. However, the very first VF8 reviews dropped today; and that “enticing paper” has fallen straight into the shredder.
The VF 8 is broadly similar to a Ford Mustang Mach-E with seating for five, decent cargo room for stuff, and a base price right around $50,000.
No one at The Drive has yet taken a turn in the VF 8, but at this point, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to. Some choice comments from around the internet back up this decision:
Steve Ewing for InsideEVs: “...the sheer amount of bouncy body motions coming through the VF8’s suspension made being in this electric crossover – and I say this without hyperbole – unbearable.” (InsideEVs’ headline is “Yikes,” by the way.)
Scott Evans for MotorTrend: “I'd be embarrassed to look a customer in the eye when handing over the keys to this vehicle.” He liked the displays, though.
Mack Hogan for Road & Track: “The VinFast VF8 has the worst body control of any modern car I’ve ever driven. Over a 90-minute drive, the 5600-lb SUV never stopped bobbing, swaying, and bucking, producing near-constant head-tossing motions.” He was similarly underwhelmed by the vehicle’s build quality and UX.
Emme Hall for Green Car Reports: “Why Vinfast is intent on rushing this car to market is beyond me. If it would just slow down a bit, take the time to fix the problems we all experienced, it might actually have a decent car. As it stands now, the VF 8 City Edition will do nothing except earn Vinfast a bad reputation, one that might take decades to shake.”
A few outlets were considerably more charitable—longtime reviewer Paul Eisenstein concluded his review by saying “performance is solid, if not benchmark” and Electrek went so far as to say “The VF 8 is a great start, but VinFast will need to deliver more at a better price to truly gather the piece of the US market its targeting.”
YouTuber Kim Java also has an inoffensive, if not largely positive, VF 8 review. I guess her children didn’t suffer from the same passenger-afflicting motion sickness some others experienced.
Generally speaking though, my former colleague Kevin Williams is looking pretty prophetic right now with the Jalopnik story he ran many months ago after test-driving the car in Vietnam. His review was titled, “The VinFast VF8 Is Simply Not Ready for America” and it sure sounds like that’s still the case.
Part of me can’t help but wonder—would my fellow writers be couching criticisms just a little more if this was a product from an established company, or VinFast had a super cool sports car coming out soon that we all wanted to drive? But even if so, it’s pretty rare to see a car get skewered by not one or two, but at least four reputable car reviewers at the release of the first-drive notes. Hell, it’s not even rare, I don’t think I’ve seen that happen in my decade of doing this.
Most of the stories linked above end along the lines of “here’s to hoping the upcoming VF 9 is better,” but it’s a hell of an inauspicious start for a brand-new brand. Maybe VinFast’s plan is to start with low expectations so everybody can talk about how far it’s come in six months. Meanwhile, it sounds like the VF8 is a car you might not need to spend much more time thinking about.
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