Vanderhall treads a unique path to weekend fun with three-wheel Laguna
Until now, the Morgan Three Wheeler was the leading option for wealthy petrolheads willing to trade out-and-out laptimes for left-field fun, but Vanderhall is encroaching on the old British manufacturer's turf with its new Laguna.
If Morgan's Three Wheeler is an unashamed throwback, Vanderhall's take on the trike is thoroughly modern. Built around an aluminum frame, the car's body and roof piece are made of carbon fiber to keep kerb weight down to just 703 Kg (1550 lb).
That's 178 Kg (392 lb) more than the Morgan, but the Laguna is an altogether more complicated and clever creation.
As well as helping to keep weight down, the Laguna's aluminum frame has been designed to keep the center of gravity low. Combined with its front pushrod suspension and rear swing-arm setup, it has been designed to feel just as at home on an autocross course as it is on the road.
Its suspension setup isn't the Laguna's only nod to serious drivers. Whereas the Morgan Three Wheeler rides on a skinny set of tires that could've come from your grandpa's penny farthing, the Laguna sports Toyo 235/35Z tires wrapped around 19-inch aluminum forged wheels up front, with 315/30Zs and a 20-inch wheel at the back.
But enough about the car's handling, because there's another burning question about the Laguna that's key to its success. On paper, we're not so sure this trike has hit the mark.
Yes, Vanderhall has fitted a turbocharged 1.4-liter VVTi engine with 149 kW (200 hp) and 271 Nm of torque and, yes, that's plenty in a car that weighs just 700 Kg. But small turbocharged engines aren't exactly known for their character – we're hoping this motor is an exception.
That little engine is hooked up to a six-speed paddleshift automatic gearbox.
With pricing to start around the US$77,000 mark, the Laguna is definitely not cheap. Some of those funds go towards comfort, with heated seats and full climate control inside to keep things comfortable on the move, as well as a 600-watt stereo system with bluetooth connectivity. Clearly it's not a Caterham rival.
In fact, there aren't many rivals for something like the Laguna at all. Vanderhall says buyers are able to build their car from the ground up. We can't wait to get behind the wheel and see if the driving experience is as unique as the car's looks.
Below is Vanderhall's launch video for the Laguna