It’s hard to define a vehicle that’s related to Chevrolet Sonic but looks like a beach cruiser, a toy car or a kit car. The only likely explanation: It’s a Vanderhall, and it’s no toy.
The new autocycle debuted about a year ago. It features a monocoque design aluminum chassis. It has carbon-fiber body panels and a double wishbone adjustable coil-over suspension. It’s also equipped with ABS brakes as well as stability & traction control.
As the original Vanderhall, the Laguna isn’t cheap with a base price slightly less the $50,000. The Sport Premium trim is $58,500 and the top-line Bespoke model is $77,000.
The recently debuted less expensive edition, the Venice, which debuted last December, doesn’t have a carbon-fiber body and has a base price of $29,950.
Interior features include driver climate control, a navigation system, Bluetooth and a power-adjustable rake windshield. The exterior design is futuristic, dominated by an oversized nose, round headlights and large grille. It also has the same drivetrain as Chevrolet Sonic.
Manufactured in Provo, Utah, by Vanderhall Motor Works, the autocycle joins a long list of niche three-wheelers that date in myriad designs and wheel configurations to 1885.
The two-seat Laguna includes a six-speed automatic transmission with optional paddle shifting and it’s matched with a 1.4 VV Ti turbo 4-cylinder, 16-valve engine. It’s a lightweight (1,550 pounds) speedy and bizarre beast that performs the standard 0-60 mph acceleration benchmark in 4.5 seconds. It has a top speed of 140 mph and can complete the standing quarter-mile in 12 seconds.
Front-wheel drive with a single, wide middle rear wheel the Laguna designed for enthusiasts interested in some facets of riding motorcycles but who aren’t interested in navigating the open road in a Harley Davidson or any other big two-wheeler.
Driving the Vanderhall is driving a come-to-life toy car from your childhood. It’s open, extraordinarily loud and alluring — if fun from behind the wheel is the objective. The engine is positioned ahead of the wheels, so the front is the heaviest section of the featherweight vehicle. It’s a roadster best for cruising, and it requires the driver to pay keen attention and have a firm grasp on the steering wheel. There’s no downtime.
The Vanderhall is loose and will attract plenty of attention with its oversized nose, round headlights and large grille. Its weird and wacky personality is never understated. Don’t expect to drive the Laguna with the idea of a solitary drive. You’ll answer a lot of questions and notice some unusual facial expressions from onlookers and passersby. And that makes driving a Vanderhall Laguna all the more enjoyable.