The Vietnamese VinFast VF8, which is trying to get a piece of the electric vehicle market in the United States, got four out of five stars in Euro NCAP’s latest crash tests.
It’s the first time a major safety organization put the electric crossover through its paces. In the United States, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested the EV, so until that happens, this is our best look yet at how this newcomer performs in the case of a simulated crash.
Right off the bat, it’s evident that the VinFast VF8 didn’t get the maximum five-star rating, putting it one step below its major competitors, including the Tesla Model Y. And while it’s true that the VF8 got its score based on Euro NCAP’s updated and tougher 2023 testing protocol, while the Model Y was tested using last year’s procedure, the small print reveals that the Vietnamese crossover isn’t as safe as its American rival.
According to Euro NCAP, the VinFast VF8 got a safety score of 76% for adult occupants, 89% for child occupants, 77% for vulnerable road users, and 79% percent for its safety assist systems.
By comparison, the Model Y got 97% for the protection of adult occupants, 87% for children, 82% for pedestrians, and 98% for its safety systems. But figures don’t tell the whole story.
In the complete safety report for the VinFast VF8, the European organization notes that the electric SUV provides good protection of the knees and femurs of both the driver and front passenger in the front impact scenario, but structures in the dashboard were considered to pose a risk of injury to occupants of different sizes and those sitting in different positions.
VinFast VF8 Euro NCAP crash test (December 2023)
Furthermore, the driver’s knee airbag deployed in a way that “provided no protection to the inboard leg, attracting a further penalty,” while the analysis of the deformable barrier test after the crash “revealed that the VF8 would be a somewhat aggressive impact partner in a frontal collision.”
Protection of the chest was also rated as marginal for both the driver and rear-seat passenger after the full-width rigid barrier test. In the side barrier test, dummy readings showed good protection of all critical body parts, but the side curtain airbag deployed incorrectly, getting trapped on the interior trim.
In the child occupant protection category, the VF8 scored the maximum points, providing good protection to all critical body parts in both the frontal offset and side barrier tests, Euro NCAP noted.
In the safety assist category, the Vinfast VF8 performed almost flawlessly. The auto brake function worked as advertised in all but one scenario: when approaching a car head-on. The lane support system is also good, correcting the vehicle’s path when drifting out of the lane and intervening in more critical situations.
This year, Euro NCAP updated its safety testing protocol to include new systems in child presence detection, specifications for vehicle submergence, and the latest technologies that detect–and respond–to motorcyclists and vulnerable road users. The first cars to achieve the maximum rating of five stars under the new procedure were the Nio ET5 and EL7.2023-12-06T16:20:08Z dg43tfdfdgfd