Automotive

Vanderhall treads a unique path to weekend fun with three-wheel Laguna

Vanderhall treads a unique pat...
Vanderhall is the new kid on the block, but the Laguna looks like a well thought-out bit of design
Vanderhall is the new kid on the block, but the Laguna looks like a well thought-out bit of design
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Vanderhall's Laguna treads a different path to weekend fun with its new three-wheel Laguna
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Vanderhall's Laguna treads a different path to weekend fun with its new three-wheel Laguna
The Laguna has a carbon fiber body and roof panel to keep weight down
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The Laguna has a carbon fiber body and roof panel to keep weight down
The car is built around an aluminum frame, which is designed to keep weight low in the chassis for quick direction changes
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The car is built around an aluminum frame, which is designed to keep weight low in the chassis for quick direction changes
Vanderhall has very little competition for its Laguna - the Morgan Three Wheeler is the closest thing to it
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Vanderhall has very little competition for its Laguna - the Morgan Three Wheeler is the closest thing to it
Those side pipes might hint at big V8 muscle, but the car has a 1.4-liter turbo engine
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Those side pipes might hint at big V8 muscle, but the car has a 1.4-liter turbo engine
That rear wheel is a 20-inch aluminum forged unit wrapped in a Toyo tire
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That rear wheel is a 20-inch aluminum forged unit wrapped in a Toyo tire
There's no doubt the car's design is unique - and to our eyes it looks excellent
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There's no doubt the car's design is unique - and to our eyes it looks excellent
The car is much more sophisticated than the Morgan Three Wheeler that is its closest competitor
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The car is much more sophisticated than the Morgan Three Wheeler that is its closest competitor
With a kerb weight of just over 700 kg, the Vanderhall is a featherweight compared to sports cars like the Alfa Romeo 4C
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With a kerb weight of just over 700 kg, the Vanderhall is a featherweight compared to sports cars like the Alfa Romeo 4C
The car's power is put down through a six-speed automatic gearbox with paddleshifters
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The car's power is put down through a six-speed automatic gearbox with paddleshifters
The Laguna's front wheels measure up at 19 inches, a far cry from the super-skinny wheels on the Morgan Three Wheeler
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The Laguna's front wheels measure up at 19 inches, a far cry from the super-skinny wheels on the Morgan Three Wheeler
Pricing starts at $77,000US for the Laguna, but the brand expects buyers to customise their cars from the ground up
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Pricing starts at $77,000US for the Laguna, but the brand expects buyers to customise their cars from the ground up
Vanderhall is a newcomer to the automotive scene, but it looks like they've nailed down a winning formula
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Vanderhall is a newcomer to the automotive scene, but it looks like they've nailed down a winning formula
In profile, it looks like someone has chopped the back off a classic coupe
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In profile, it looks like someone has chopped the back off a classic coupe
330mm disc brakes are charged with slowing the Laguna
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330mm disc brakes are charged with slowing the Laguna
The Vanderhall Laguna represents a new take on the idea of a fun weekend car
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The Vanderhall Laguna represents a new take on the idea of a fun weekend car
The new Vanderhall Laguna's philosophy is built around the idea of involving the customer in every step of the build process
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The new Vanderhall Laguna's philosophy is built around the idea of involving the customer in every step of the build process
Vanderhall is the new kid on the block, but the Laguna looks like a well thought-out bit of design
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Vanderhall is the new kid on the block, but the Laguna looks like a well thought-out bit of design
With big LED headlamps, the Laguna has a unique face
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With big LED headlamps, the Laguna has a unique face
The new Vanderhall Laguna on the move
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The new Vanderhall Laguna on the move
We're hoping the drive is as good as the car's unique styling
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We're hoping the drive is as good as the car's unique styling
Pushrod front suspension is another touch designed to make the Laguna handle sharply on the track
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Pushrod front suspension is another touch designed to make the Laguna handle sharply on the track
The car's rear grille matches the front end, just one of a number of beautiful styling touches that make the Laguna look well resolved
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The car's rear grille matches the front end, just one of a number of beautiful styling touches that make the Laguna look well resolved
The detailing on the car's cabin all looks good, but only time will tell if it can stand up to long-standing manufacturers of weekend cars
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The detailing on the car's cabin all looks good, but only time will tell if it can stand up to long-standing manufacturers of weekend cars
The Vanderhall Laguna's interior
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The Vanderhall Laguna's interior
Things look basic inside, but with the roof up the Laguna promises to be more civilised than a Morgan Three Wheeler
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Things look basic inside, but with the roof up the Laguna promises to be more civilised than a Morgan Three Wheeler
The Laguna puts its power down through a six-speed automatic with paddleshifters
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The Laguna puts its power down through a six-speed automatic with paddleshifters
The Laguna is an automatic, so that cupholder might actually be usable on the move
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The Laguna is an automatic, so that cupholder might actually be usable on the move
Heated seats are standard, as is climate control - this isn't a stripped out Caterham clone
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Heated seats are standard, as is climate control - this isn't a stripped out Caterham clone
A 600-watt speaker system with bluetooth is standard
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A 600-watt speaker system with bluetooth is standard
That dashboard will look familiar to anyone who's driven a GM Barina
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That dashboard will look familiar to anyone who's driven a GM Barina
The rear view mirrors are another classic design cue
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The rear view mirrors are another classic design cue
There are neat styling details all over the Laguna, like the classic polished fuel cap
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There are neat styling details all over the Laguna, like the classic polished fuel cap
The Vanderhall looks at home on California's roads
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The Vanderhall looks at home on California's roads
The car's rear wheel gives it a look that's more motorcycle than classic weekender
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The car's rear wheel gives it a look that's more motorcycle than classic weekender
The trike's bluff nose is reminiscent of Caterham's classic shape, although it looks more modern than anything from Caterham's stable
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The trike's bluff nose is reminiscent of Caterham's classic shape, although it looks more modern than anything from Caterham's stable
The Vanderhall Laguna should be on sale from 2016, although there are a number of small automotive startups that have made promises like Vanderhall and haven't delivered
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The Vanderhall Laguna should be on sale from 2016, although there are a number of small automotive startups that have made promises like Vanderhall and haven't delivered

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).

Vanderhall's Laguna treads a different path to weekend fun with its new three-wheel Laguna
Vanderhall's Laguna treads a different path to weekend fun with its new three-wheel Laguna

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.

The car is much more sophisticated than the Morgan Three Wheeler that is its closest competitor
The car is much more sophisticated than the Morgan Three Wheeler that is its closest competitor

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.

Source: Vanderhall

Below is Vanderhall's launch video for the Laguna

Vanderhall Laguna Roadster

18 comments
Bob Stuart
I'd have thought a modern car would have streamlining, but I can assure you that the Morgan uses pneumatic tires, whereas the Penny Farthing has solid tires in two very different sizes.
Bruce H. Anderson
The eggcrate will be a royal pain to clean in the rear, and is really ugly up front. It is a fair-weather toy that could have been a nice daily driver with a little more effort.
DavidB
Gasoline is so 2015. Where's the EV model?
wanderkip
A bit nicer that the specs for Elio, but not worth 10x the price...
ikarus342000
This is also a drawback. I get almost two Morgans for this price. To set this price more in perspective you get 11 ELIOS for this price. Please be a bit more realistic. Okay, the have no heated seats !?!?
pwndecaf
You will not ever get an Elio. My opinion.
Martin Hone
To compare this to the Morgan is ridiculous. The only thing they have in common is 3 wheels. The Morgan is a cycle car, this is a 3-wheeled car. Re-visit in 5, 10 or more years and we will see which has survived....
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Should be bank-to-turn.
mrcycle1@sbcglobal.net
Holy Crap, Batman! 77-large for the ugliest pig on the block? Have you checked out the Polaris Slingshot? Much more bang for the buck, IMO. And a helluva lot better looking. For that $77K I think I'd opt for a new Vette, or maybe a new hotrod Mustang *and* a Slingshot! The author did not bother to tell us where this thing is made, but I finally found it in the last page fine-print of their website: Utah, USA.
pickypilot
Good grief! As others have said, just think what you could get for that kind of money. Not to mention, a whole lot better looking. That thing looks like you could shave with it.