VinFast's VF9 Has The EV Range, But Does It Have The Quality?

The newest EV from Vietnamese company VinFast promises an impressive range that competes with more well-known electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevy Bolt, but it's still unclear if the car's quality can stand up to the same comparisons. VinFast says its VF 9 has outperformed its initial estimates with a range of 330 miles when fully charged. (Its Eco Trim model's range is 291 miles.) These are impressive numbers, especially given that the VF 9 is a full-size SUV with room for seven passengers.

One reason its range may be so good is an exterior design that optimizes aerodynamics. VinFast also put a lot of work under the hood, giving the VF 9 an electric motor capable of 402 horsepower and 620 NM of torque. The EV is also equipped with level 2 driver assist, a sophisticated infotainment system, and an interior comfortable enough even when the car is carrying seven passengers. Reservations for North American drivers are currently available, with the VF 9 expected to roll out stateside later this year. Its Eco model is priced at $83,000 and its Plus model costs $91,000. Both models include a 10-year warranty for both the vehicle and the battery.

So is the car worth the price? Even the lower range of the Eco Trim is in line with some of the best EVs on the market. The Model 3 boasts a range of 333 miles and the Chevy Bolt, rated as one of the current best EVs on the market, has an EPA-estimated range of 259 miles. But, considering the VF 9 is coming from the same company behind the VF 8 and its lack of consumer reviews, it's not unfair to say the overall quality of the new EV is still in doubt.

The VinFast VF 8 failed to impress

One reason to be skeptical about the VF 9 is that the car hasn't been driven much on North American roads yet. So far, it's only been sold in Vietnam, where VinFast's parent conglomerate is based. The company only launched in 2017 and has considerably less experience developing EVs than many of its major competitors, like Tesla and legacy automakers Ford, Chevrolet, and Hyundai. Reliable car review resources like Kelley Blue Book, Motor Trend, and Edmunds have yet to field test the VF 9.

However, if the new EV is similar to VinFast's previous EV — the VF 8 — then its battery range may not be enough to justify purchasing it. Earlier this year, SlashGear was able to test the VF 8 City Edition Plus on urban streets, highways, and backroads — and the reviewer did not come away all that impressed. While not exactly a lemon, Slashgear found issues with the VF 8's rear visibility and reported possible issues with its suspension, drivetrain, and electrical systems. Other problems included drive assist features that were more annoying than helpful, an unimaginative exterior design and unattractive interior, and a problematic UI that relied heavily on touch controls. Perhaps the most concerning problem was a lack of throttle response from the VF 8's gas pedal.

Despite a mixed response to the VF 8, VinFast is confident the VF 9 can attract buyers with its extended range and other features. "VinFast always strives to bring high-quality products, reasonable prices, and outstanding aftersales services to our consumers globally," says Le Thi Thu Thuy, Global CEO of VinFast. "The VF 9's 330-mile battery range is among the best on the market, confirming our efforts and dedication to produce competitive vehicles."