First VinFast VF 8 Reviews Are Abysmal


2023 VinFast VF-8“The VinFast VF 8 has the worst body control of any modern car I’ve ever driven.”

“I’d be embarrassed to look a customer in the eye when handing over the keys to this vehicle.”

“It’s terrible, especially when you put the VF 8 in Sport mode, and the steering becomes so overboosted that it’s borderline uncontrollable.”

Those comments, from Road & Track, Motor Trend, and InsideEVs, just scratch the surface of complaints journalists had after their first drive of the new VinFast VF 8 SUV.

The Vietnamese automaker invited a group of test drivers to sample its first product for the American market last week, and the results probably couldn’t have been worse.

Related: What Is VinFast? All About the Vietnamese Automaker

What Is VinFast?

Founded in 2017, VinFast is the first Vietnamese car brand to market cars outside that country’s borders.

It’s a subsidiary of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, which does business in fields as varied as real estate and healthcare. The company has been planning aggressive growth. It now has offices on five continents, with plans to sell vehicles on each.

That sales plan includes the United States, where VinFast is in the process of opening a handful of dealerships in Southern California.

The VinFast VF8 seen from a rear quarter angle

What Is the VF 8?

VinFast is entering the U.S. market with a pair of midsize SUVs — probably the right move since that’s America’s best-selling type of car.

The VF 8 is a 2-row electric crossover, roughly analogous to the Ford Mustang Mach-E or Tesla Model Y.

The design was penned by the famous Italian design studio Pininfarina — the car sculptors behind many of history’s most beloved cars. It features standard all-wheel drive, a range of up to 207 miles between charges, and a starting price a little under $50,000.

A larger VF 9 is also planned. It will offer three rows of seating. Both will be available only in California at first.

What Are People Saying?

Kelley Blue Book was among a large group of outlets left off the invite list for VinFast’s first drive event in the U.S. But our Matt Degen drove an early example of the VF 8 in Vietnam last year.

He found the car “needed further tuning, especially with initial throttle application,” but thought it had the potential to be competitive with some adjustments.

Those adjustments apparently didn’t happen. Road & Track says, “Over a 90-minute drive, the 5,600-pound SUV never stopped bobbing, swaying, and bucking, producing near-constant head-tossing motions.” The site’s test driver “became car sick for the first time in years” riding in the passenger’s seat.

InsideEVs has similar complaints about the suspension but also says, “The crap suspension damping and motion sickness–inducing body movements aren’t even the biggest issues. The steering response is nonlinear and inconsistent, and there is absolutely no feedback delivered through the wheel.”

Motor Trend notes many surprising failures, including turn signals that didn’t work every time, “HVAC systems that would only blow cold air when set below 80 degrees and only blow hot air when set above 80, but never warm or cool air,” and even a car that “shudders violently” in reverse.

VinFast VF 8 pre-production model

Is This Fatal for the Startup?

VinFast is one of many startup automakers spurred on by the arrival of electric cars in the mainstream. Lucid, Faraday Future, Fisker, Lordstown Motors, Aptera, and other brands you may have yet to hear of are all attempting to break into the automotive market. Few are gaining much traction.

Early reviews trashing a model are never good news. In VinFast’s case, they’re particularly concerning because the company seems to have served the car half-baked after many warnings about what could happen.

Degen, after testing a prototype in Vietnam last year, said many of the fixes the car needed “are relatively easy modulations.”

But they didn’t happen.

However, this may not be the end at the beginning for VinFast.

The company has deep pockets as a division of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate. Just last month, Vingroup made $2.5 billion in funding available to VinFast.

Related: A Culling of EV Startups is Growing Likely

Other EV startups have failed not because of bad products but because of a lack of cash. Lordstown Motors warned investors just weeks ago that it may close its doors forever soon, even though its Endurance pickup was a finalist in the 2023 North American Car of the Year awards in the truck category. The problem? A lack of operating cash.

VinFast, with its big brother backstopping its finances, has room to fail and try again. We wouldn’t bet on many of the current crop of EV startups making it. But we wouldn’t count VinFast out based on one bad round of reviews.

Still — don’t think about buying one of these things yet. Let’s see what they do with the feedback.



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