The VinFast VF8 is very, very bad

The VinFast VF8 is very, very bad

Today, the US press embargo appears to be broken on the VinFast VF8 City Edition, the EV startup’s first product destined for these shores. I say “appeared” because Jalopnik was not asked to drive the SUV here at home, the following fully given Rather disturbing review of Kevin Williams on the VF8 for this site in December, for which he traveled to Vietnam.

Well, the VF8 is in our territory now, and based on the impressions of our colleagues in the automotive media landscape, absolutely nothing has changed, even though these things are being delivered to real, living humans as we speak, and are priced north of $50,000. This car still needs all the work.

Let’s start with Scott Evans for Engine trend, which set the tone very early on. “I drove camouflaged prototypes that were much closer to production than the production VF8,” Evans wrote. He continued:

I may not like the sound of a turn signal, but I expect it to work every time I use it. One of the VF8s at the launch event couldn’t do this. Similarly, several VF8s (including our tester, which had less than 1,300 miles on the odometer) had HVAC systems that only blew cold air when set below 80 degrees and would not blow hot air only above 80, but never hot or cold air. whether manual or automatic climate control has been selected. Another VF8 reset the climate to 80 degrees each time the car was turned off and on again.

Even just moving from a stop in the VF8 – something every car has to do at some point – is not a confidence-inspiring experience:

Put the VF8 in reverse to pull out of a spot and the whole car shakes violently. The parking brake doesn’t release until you step on the accelerator, and once you do there’s no hold function, so you’re better off keeping the “creep” mode activated so that it always sends power to the motors. Disable creep and the car will roll at speed. I almost rolled backwards into another car at an intersection like someone learning to drive with a stick.

He has a frunk, so I guess that's something?

He has a frunk, so I guess that’s something?
Picture: VinFast

The VF8 also made our good friend Steven Ewing sick, which is an offense that we at Jalopnik take personally. Steven is the nicest and deserves so much better. Either way, the bouncy ride and generally temperamental road manners have a lot to do with it, as he wrote for Inside electric vehicles:

From a ride and handling standpoint, the VF8 needs considerable help. Crappy suspension damping and motion sickness-inducing body movement aren’t even the biggest issues. Steering response is non-linear and inconsistent, and there’s absolutely no feedback provided by the steering wheel. It’s terrible, especially when you put the VF8 in Sport mode and the steering gets so overboosted it’s borderline uncontrollable. My car also pulled right on flat surfaces, so that’s fun.

Mack Hogan and his stomach agreed to Road & Track:

The VinFast VF8 has the worst body control of any modern car I’ve ever driven. Over a 90-minute ride, the 5,600 lb SUV never stopped rocking, rocking, and rearing, producing near-constant head jerks. In the passenger seat, I got motion sickness for the first time in years. When I switched seats with the driver, he felt bad too, although he says he’s never been one to get motion sickness. Despite how firm you feel on impact, the VF8 is also sloppy and prone to excessive body roll in corners. It’s not clear if this is the result of poor tuning or fundamental issues with the vehicle’s suspension geometry (control blades in the rear, “smart axles” in the front), but the ride quality is enough on its own to disqualify the VF8 from serious consideration.

Hogan particularly called the “zero feel” steering, which made the SUV “incomplete” to drive at normal speeds. Then there’s Emme Hall, whose VF8 cried that every aspect of her ADAS suite was dead or dying the moment she sat down in her tester. VinFast responded by giving him another one. Guess how it happened? As Hall explained for The Autopian:

Eventually my second car bricked all of its ADAS functionality, just like the first car I rode in. The only way to get the native navigation system to work in my tester is to point the system out of my driving partner’s phone. I repeat, I have give internet to the car use the integrated navigation system.

A VinFast rep says it won’t happen to people who buy or lease the car, but I can get into any another vehicle as a reporter and the navigation system is working, so what’s up?

Read enough and you’ll begin to see each other’s pain points. Lousy interior materials with holes in the panels worthy of the worst penalty box you could imagine 20 years ago. The aforementioned driver assist issues and endless chimes. The fact that even when these aids did work, they placed no restrictions on the driver keeping his hands on the wheel. Everything is quite serious.

The positive points ? Some reviewers liked the brake feel and regenerative modes, most agreed the interior was at least roomy despite the quality issues, and the colors – which include “Sunset Orange” and “Deep Ocean” green – were been a success. Three points for VinFast!

But the real common thread between all these accounts is that overnight the VF8 erased the notion that there are no more terrible cars for sale. Frankly, it’s hard to remember the last time a car was tossed about with overwhelming disdain; a car that all reviewers said just wasn’t ready. VinFast About Page says the company is committed to “leading the electric vehicle revolution”. Perhaps he’s not ready for leadership yet – although that has certainly left a mark on the state of play.


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