Pugs are adorable, lovable little dogs, with their oddball looks and fun-loving nature. However, they're pretty bad at being dogs. They're small, can't run far due to breathing issues, and few intruders will ever be afraid of a "Beware of Pug" sign. The Wuling Mini EV Cabrio—the world's cheapest convertible electric vehicle—is like the pug of the automotive world. It isn't very good at being a car but it's incredibly easy to love.
The Chinese-market Wuling Mini EV Cabrio costs the equivalent of around $14,000, which would make it $15,000 cheaper than the Mazda MX-5, if it were sold in the U.S. For that $14,000, you get a fully electric convertible, with a power-folding roof, and ... well, that's about it. This new video from Wheelsboy breaks down the Wuling Mini and, despite being a pretty bad car, there's something incredibly charming about it.
Under its adorable boxy styling lies a 26.5 kWh battery pack, which sends juice to a single, rear-mounted electric motor that makes 40 horsepower and 81 lb-ft of torque. So even though it isn't very heavy, being the size of a tic-tac and about as well-equipped, it's incredibly slow.
Does it make up for its lack of speed with comfort? No. Inside, it's so basic that it's the only EV I've ever seen to have a physical key. The climate controls are physical, as is the handbrake, and the radio looks like it time traveled from 1999. It doesn't even have a trunk. Instead of a trunk lid, the rear cargo area is accessed from inside the cabin, by folding the seats down and unzipping a cover. In its defense, that's still more storage space than some Manhattan apartments. Driving the Wuling isn't about its creature comforts, though, it's about the experience.
Sadly, the experience isn't good, either. Its ride is said to be terrible, with its 12-inch wheels and bicycle-like tires, its steering is completely vague, and its interior sound insulation is about as bad as it gets. But even still, there's something fun and silly about it that overshadows its many downfalls. Wheelsboy host Ethan Robertson even says that it gets more attention than most sports cars, as people seem to gravitate to it.
Why is the Wuling so charming, despite being objectively bad at everything a car is supposed to do? I'm not sure but there's something intangibly delightful about it and I desperately want to drive one.
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