Quality Without an Exotic Price: VF 8 Owners Share Their Experiences After One Year

In the increasingly competitive EV market, VinFast’s VF 8 electric SUV finds its place by focusing on something seemingly simple: The daily lives of the people it serves. Through the experiences of real drivers, a picture emerges of a car as dedicated to its owner’s safety as it is to easing the everyday stresses of those behind the wheel.

When VinFast, a brand-new Vietnamese automaker, announced its intention to enter the fiercely competitive US electric vehicle market, skepticism was widespread. Could a relatively unknown company make it in the industry with its first U.S. offering, the VF 8? Fast-forward to today, over a year since the initial VF 8 deliveries, and the question is no longer about skepticism, but about customer satisfaction.

Jason Cheung, a tech-savvy government employee, was one of those who approached VinFast with a healthy dose of caution. “I hadn’t heard much about them, and there were some negative reviews floating around,” he admits. But the VF 8’s specs and an appealing lease offer proved too tempting to resist.

Cheung’s initial concerns faded quickly once he got behind the wheel. “I am loving the car and the entire car purchasing experience,” he noted. While acknowledging a somewhat stiffer ride on city streets, the VF 8’s handling proved responsive, and its acceleration left his previous gas-powered car in the dust.

With a sleek and modern design, spacious interior, and long list of tech features, the VF 8 immediately drew comparisons to the ubiquitous Tesla. However, it was the combination of practicality, affordability, and safety technology that set the VF 8 apart, making it stand out to families and those making the transition to electric driving.

Quality Without an Exotic Price

For architect Taylor Hamblett, car comfort is key. “As a larger man, I’m very comfortable in the spacious VF 8 cabin,” he said, demonstrating that eco-conscious choices don’t necessarily mean sacrificing space.

Beyond just space, the VF 8 delivers what Hamblett calls “quality without an exotic price,” a sentiment echoed by other owners, like Cheung. “I used to average about $250 per month on gas, and it’s nowhere near that now,” he explained.

These testimonies demonstrate part of VinFast’s strategy of focusing on converting internal combustion engine (ICE) drivers, rather than directly competing with Tesla. As Stephanie Brinley, an analyst at S&P Global Mobility, puts it, “The real competition for EVs like VinFast is not Tesla… The real competition is internal combustion engine owners, getting those guys to jump on board.”

So far, VinFast is making headway by highlighting its cost-saving potential, a significant draw for eco-conscious drivers amid rising fuel costs due to geopolitical uncertainties. The company also offers a 10-year/125,000-mile warranty and a 10-year unlimited mileage warranty for the battery under standard use, providing peace of mind for potential buyers. “The warranty gave me total confidence in making the purchase,” affirmed photographer John Riedy.

Of course, no new car, especially from a new manufacturer, is without its hiccups. Some owners have mentioned occasional glitches with the infotainment system, while others desire better smartphone integration or additional features like scheduled charging. Yet, the overwhelming sentiment is one of satisfaction and a sense of being part of something new and exciting.

“I definitely would recommend this car, and I have,” said Riedy, “For the initial $250 lease it was an absolute no-brainer. Even at $429, I think this car excels compared to the competition.”

As of this writing, VinFast offers a lease of $299/month for 36 months for the VF 8 Eco trim.

A Focus On Safety

For some, the savings alone weren’t enough. What reassured customers on their journey from internal combustion to electric was the VF 8’s safety suite, such as the dTPMS direct tire pressure monitoring system, giving warnings to the driver when the tires show low pressure, or the 11 standard airbags, a number surpassing many models in its segment.

Beyond the technical jargon, however, the VF 8’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have impressed owners. Tony Nguyen, a California-based engineer, praises ADAS for easing his stress on the freeway, while Riedy appreciates its functionality in heavy traffic.

Natalie Ly, a data analyst, recounts the day when the car’s automatic emergency braking likely prevented a serious collision. “It AEB-ed once and saved us from an accident,” referring to the Automatic Emergency Braking. For her, the ADAS level 2 is a “God send” for long road trips.

Ninh Pham, an electronics engineer and fellow VF 8 owner, shares a similar experience. He credits the car’s lane departure warning system with preventing two potential accidents. “It saved me twice when I changed lanes without looking. The VF 8 guided me back into my lane safely.”

Over a year into its US journey, the VF 8 has established a firm presence, paving the way for upcoming models like the premium VF 9 SUV and potentially the compact VF 3. The company now operates 15 stores and service centers in California and has recently expanded to seven states with 18 dealerships.

While it may be premature to label VinFast the “Vietnamese Tesla,” the company’s first EV in the U.S. offers compelling value. Its safety features and practicality appeal to families seeking refuge from soaring fuel costs, making it a standout in a market of expensive EVs.

“Considering this is VinFast’s first offering for the U.S. market, they’ve really hit it out of the park,” exclaimed engineer Ninh Pham.