This tiny EV crossover from VinFast will go on sale in the US

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A VinFast VF3 at CES in 2024
Enlarge / If our comments are anything to go by, there is a huge demand out there for a small, cheap EV. Well, this is a small, cheap EV from VinFast.

VinFast

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas isn’t just about AI infotainment add-ons and concept cars—sometimes automakers actually debut new production models, too. Yesterday, we heard from VinFast, which used CES 2024 as the global debut for its new electric vehicle, the VF3.

If the VinFast name is unfamiliar, that’s understandable—the Vietnamese automaker was founded in 2017 and only brought its first car to these shores last year. That was the very underwhelming VF8, a midsize crossover EV that wasn’t fully baked by the time a bunch of journalists, Ars included, got to drive it.

VinFast launched the VF8 into one of the most competitive market segments, up against cars like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Nissan Ariya, Tesla Model Y, Volkswagen ID.4—all of which we (and most other auto journalists) would recommend first.

But the VF3 is a very different proposition. For one thing, it has character. Unlike the anonymously styled VF8, the blocky design brings to mind a shrunken Toyota FJ Cruiser or a more futuristic Suzuki Jimny.

For another, it’s a seriously small car—something many Ars readers have been demanding. At just 125.6 inches (3,190 mm) long, 66.1 inches (1,679 mm) wide, and 63.8 inches (1,621 mm) tall, that puts the VF3 about halfway between the small Mini Cooper SE and the extremely tiny Smart cars that Daimler no longer imports to the US.

Don’t worry, though—it does seat four people, and the rear seats fold flat for expanded cargo loads of up to 19.4 cubic feet (550 L). It even comes with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. But don’t expect to cross continents on a single charge—the trade-off for being small and cheap is a range of about 125 miles on a full charge, a little more than the aforementioned Mini.

And we expect it to be cheap. In its home market, the VF3 costs around $12,200, which means a US version with a sub-$20,000 price tag should be plausible. Considering the average sales price of a new EV is currently more than $50,000, that would be most welcome. VinFast says it will start accepting reservations for the VF3 later this year.

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