We’ve been talking a lot about up-and-something Vietnamese carmaker VinFast lately, but, sadly, for not the best reasons. Our review of the VinFast VF8 was, um, troubled, and the company’s launch into the American market hasn’t exactly been going great. Outside of America, though, things look a bit better for the company, and I say that not because of any in-depth evaluations or assessments of their technology or business models, but because their newly-launched VF3 small electric SUV just looks like a hell of a lot of fun. Too bad it’s just for the Vietnamese market, at least right now. Ah, hell, let’s be honest, we’re not going to get these things. Dammit.
I’m cross, quite cross indeed, about this because this is exactly the kind of fun, tiny SUV that I think would be fantastic to have, even here, in vast, cheese-covered America. But that’s not going to happen. Hell, VinFast says this may become the “national vehicle” of Vietnam, just to rub it in, I guess.
Look at this little boxy thing: everyone is comparing it to the similarly plucky-adorable Suzuki Jimny, but that Jimny is nearly three feet longer! That’s half a six foot party sub!
The styling of the VF3 is actually a good bit more involved and refined than the Jimny, even if the two share very similar boxy proportions. I mean, take a look at this thing:
Look how the body panels appear to be sort of tucked into the lower part of the body formed by the bumpers, fenders, and lower body rails. Those intaglio cutaways help keep the boxy body still somewhat lean looking. The B pillar is disconnected from the roof, forming a sort of aircraft-like tail graphic, and the rear tailgate has a black panel with taillights integrated into it, keeping everything from looking too slabby.
The boxy body should maximize interior space well, like a Japanese Kei car, and the interior does look pretty comfortable, if a bit dark and monochromatic:
Whatever that material is on the upper dashboard surface is, I like it. Also, VinFast claims it’s a five seater! I hope you like whatever four people you get shoved in here with. [Editor’s Note: The much-larger two door Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco are only four-seaters. -DT]
The VF3 is an all-EV design, and if I had to guess, it’s front-wheel drive with all the drive hardware under that stubby hood, and the battery pack forming the floor. Of course, VinFast hasn’t released details on that, or any relevant information like range or price. Range-wise, I’d guess about 100-150 miles?
VinFast says it’ll be taking orders in September and delivering in 2024. Maybe they’re just announcing this to distract everyone from the mess that was the VF8 launch? If so, I’m okay with that.