Expected range of 316 miles
Attractive Italian styling
Available only in California (for now)
The VF 8 is an all-new 5-seat electric SUV
Built by VinFast, a new Vietnamese carmaker
Cars scheduled to arrive late this year
Price: We expect the 2023 VinFast VF 8 to start around $41,000.
The VF 8 first appeared at the Los Angeles auto show in 2021, back when this electric SUV was called the VF e35. Now it’s called the VF 8, and this Vietnamese electric SUV is expected to arrive by this December.
Like its big brother, the VinFast VF 9, the VF 8 is a good-looking new electric SUV, but with only two rows of seats instead of three.
With a 90-kWh battery pack from Samsung
the VinFast VF8 has a target range of 316 miles. It will hit 60 mph in as little as 5.5 seconds, about a second more quickly than its larger sibling.
Like the VF 9, the VinFast VF 8 features an all-wheel-drive electric powertrain with front and rear electric motors and a front trunk. The motors are the same in both vehicles, putting out a combined 402 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque.
In size, the VF 8 is 187 inches long, with a 116.1-inch wheelbase. That means this new Vietnamese electric SUV is about the same size as a Ford
Mustang Mach-E, a 186-inch electric SUV with a 117-inch wheelbase and a similar max range of 314 miles.
In other size comparisons, the VF 8 is about 8 inches shorter than a BMW iX
but about 2.5 inches longer than the new Subaru
Solterra, which has a 112.2-inch wheelbase. The Volkswagen ID.4
a slightly smaller electric SUV, has an overall length of 180.5 inches and a wheelbase of 108.9.
Interestingly, the Tesla
Model Y is almost exactly the same length as the new VinFast VF 8, but with a shorter 113.8-inch wheelbase.
Deliveries of the VF 8 are scheduled to start this December in California first, at VinFast shops that are currently being established in shopping malls. Test drives are scheduled to start this summer.
The VinFast VF 8
2023 VinFast VF 8 pricing
We expect the starting price of the 2023 VinFast VF 8 to be around $41,000.
This Vietnamese-built 5-seat electric SUV is eligible for a federal tax credit of $7,500. California test drives begin this summer. If all goes as planned, VF 8s will reach customers in December.
It’s too early for us to have a KBB Fair Purchase Price for the Vin Fast VF 8. Similarly, it’s too early for resale values. But electric cars, in general, do tend to hold their value well.
The VF 8’s warranty lasts 10 years or 125,000 miles, whichever comes first. Most service, says VinFast, will be completed by mobile techs at customer homes.
To jumpstart sales, VinFast is offering buyers who have paid $200 to join the VinFirst Pioneer Club a $3,000 voucher toward the purchase of the VF 8. The deal also includes a complimentary advanced technology suite (valued at $6,500) and a 6-night stay at a fancy resort in Vietnam (airfare not included).
Driving the 2023 VinFast VF 8
VinFast invited Kelley Blue Book to its home country of Vietnam for a test drive in a very pre-production version of the VF 8. According to KBB editor Matt Degen, the test was brief, but enlightening.
The good news overall is that the VF 8 we drove looked and felt like a real vehicle and not something welded together in a garage. Indeed, VinFast has invested heavily in a massive factory that is already churning out vehicles in its home country, with plans for a U.S. plant in North Carolina.
In our preliminary test, the VF 8 felt quick and quiet, similar to other EVs like the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Still, work is needed to make this production-ready, which isn’t a surprise for such an early build. For example, accelerator modulation needs better tuning. When we pressed the accelerator pedal, nothing happened initially. It needed to be depressed an unusual amount to get the SUV moving.
Simple controls for adjusting the seat also needed attention; the settings were reversed in our test model, though they ultimately worked. A different VF 8 model driven by other journalists experienced some issues with the brakes.
If these models had been billed as ready to ship to customers, our red flag would be up, but that’s not the case. VinFast says it is still tuning these vehicles, and we look forward to testing the fleshed-out models later this summer.
As with our initial test drive, our time inside the VF 8 was highly limited, and confined to the front seat. One of the most unique things about the VF 8’s interior is that there’s no instrument cluster in front of the driver. This might take some getting used to. More impressive is the center stack, which carries a large 15.6-inch infotainment touchscreen.
As in the VF 9, the transmission is controlled via buttons on the center console.
Based on the overall length and wheelbase of the VinFast VF 8, we expect the 2-row electric SUV to be roomy enough for four adults, with perhaps enough space for a child in the middle rear position. Along with further test-driving of the VF 8, we look forward to sitting in the rear seat and evaluating its rear cargo space.
Like the VF 9, the 2023 VinFast VF 8 looks sharp, like an established player in the SUV ranks even though it’s a brand-new vehicle with no immediate predecessor.
With its prominent V on the nose and V-shaped front sculpting, the VF is immediately identifiable as a VinFast when viewed head-on. Viewed from the rear, it’s not quite as distinctive.
The VF 8 will be available in six exterior colors.
Like the larger VF 9, the VF 8 has a battery subscription plan that costs about $100 per month. If the max capacity of the VF 8’s battery pack dips below 70% of its original value, VinFast will replace the battery. This subscription plan lasts for the life of the VF 8.
Although the VinFast VF 8 has a front motor, it still has room for a front trunk, or frunk, under its hood. We don’t know the size of this frunk; we hope it’s as large as the 4.7 cubic foot one found in the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
The standard equipment list for the 2023 VinFast VF 8 has not been finalized, but initial specs include power-adjustable front seats, a choice of synthetic leather or genuine leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, a 15.6-inch infotainment screen, head-up display, and wireless phone charging.
Safety features include 11 airbags, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.
Options on the 2023 VinFast VF 8 will include a suite of advanced safety technologies. Other options on a preliminary spec sheet include an automatic parking system, a “summon” mode, and upgraded infotainment functions.
Engine and transmission
The 2023 VinFast VF 8 has an electric motor at each axle. Combined output of these two motors is 402 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque.
The result? A VF 8 that hits 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, about a second more quickly than the larger and heavier VF 9.
Integrated into the floorboard of the VF 8 chassis is a 90-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, from Samsung.
For some comparison, consider that the Nissan
Ariya, with a max range of 300 miles, has an 87-kWh battery pack. The largest pack you can get in the Ford Mustang Mach-E is a 91-kWh unit, which is good for a max range of 314 miles.
Front and rear electric motors
90-kWh lithium-ion battery pack (estimated)
402 total horsepower
472 lb-ft of total torque
EPA city/highway: N/A
Estimated range: 316 miles
This story originally ran on KBB.com.