Vinfast's cars have great looks, odd names

The sedan will come with two power outputs, but the SUV will make do with one.

Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

VinFast, Vietnam's first major automaker, showed off its sedan and SUV ahead of the Paris Motor Show, but it was pretty light on details. Now that we're here in Paris, both the cars and here, and we've finally learned a bit more about these two attractive vehicles.

In addition to bringing its vehicles before the public for the first time, VinFast finally told us what its cars are named. The sedan is called the Lux A2.0, and the SUV is the Lux SA2.0. Those names aren't exactly great, but many markets are huge fans of letters and numbers instead of names. Why do you think Cadillac moved to its obscene taxonomic structure?

While both vehicles rely on a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 gas engine, the sedan is offered with two separate outputs -- 174 horsepower or 228. The SUV, being larger, only comes with the higher power output. Both variants of I4 are mated to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard on both cars, but the SUV can be upgraded to all-wheel drive.

It's a pretty sharp look.

Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

Neither car is particularly sprightly, though. The Lux A2.0 sedan will reach 62 mph in 8.9 seconds with its least powerful engine variant, but that drops to 7.1 seconds with the more powerful output. The Lux SA2.0 SUV, however, won't break 8.9 seconds with the hi-po variant, and adding all-wheel drive brings the sprint to a pokey 9.1 seconds.

The vehicles look the way they do because that's what the people asked for. Seriously -- VinFast asked multiple European design houses to come up with ideas for VinFast's first vehicles, and it put 20 designs online, where Vietnamese citizens could pick their favorites. The winning two designs, which came from Pininfarina, became the bodies seen here.

As for tech, VinFast took an interesting turn with its infotainment system. It bucks convention and offers a vertically oriented touchscreen measuring 10.4 inches. Volvo and Tesla are the only major automakers to offer this orientation across their lineups, although it's becoming more popular, as brands like Toyota and Ram begin to offer it on various models and trims. There's also a seven-inch screen in the gauge cluster.

While VinFast's cars will be built in Vietnam, and the majority of its sales efforts will focus there, VinFast has expansion on its mind. To that end, it's conducting crash tests to not only Vietnam's standards, but Europe's, as well.

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