Three-wheelers are always interesting from both the engineering and the driving standpoint, thanks to their unique chassis and three wheel configuration. They can be a hassle to build the right way, but once you get the formula spot-on, the satisfaction you get from driving one is unmeasurable. One manufacturer that certainly knows their way around building three-wheelers is the Utah based firm called Vanderhall, which they proved with their latest release. Enter the eye-catching Vanderhall Carmel.
The basic structure of a three-wheeler is usually rather rudimentary. There are no doors, often times the windshield is labeled as extra weight. Radio is also thrown out, as is the roof, which could prove to be useful during rainy days. But, as three-wheelers are more times than not driven by people who love the feeling of wind rushing through their hair and the sensation of being one with nature, I guess it all makes sense. The people behind the Vanderhall Carmel certainly don’t share that opinion, as they’ve decided to outfit their three-wheeler with various creäture comforts that could turn out to be practical.
Luxury Is The Word
The first thing that stands out about the tadpole constructed Vanderhall Carmel is that it has reverse entry doors. Considering the fact that three-wheeled vehicles are generally compact, it’s not unusual for the interior to feel relatively cramped. Well, you’re in for a surprise because, compared to rest of Vanderhall’s fleet, the vintage styled Carmel features a bit more space in the cabin. That small chunk of extra space makes it possible to fit the heated Rustic V-Tex bucket seats without sacrificing precious space.
The wide cabin and heated seats are not the only things that make the Vanderhall Carmel stand out. Along with the heated seats, the luxury package includes a heater unit which is perfect for those pesky cold and rainy days. Especially in the autumn or winter, when you pull up the removable canvas top, turn the heater to 11 and enjoy your ride. If however, you feel hot and in need of a cool down, Vanderhall is on your side. The Carmel can be equipped with sweet cold blowing air conditioning as an option.
That’s all fine and dandy, but the 4 pot engine certainly doesn’t make due for some nice tunes. At least not in the long run. For such reasons, as you’re cruising along the countryside, gripping the beautiful retro-inspired three-spoke steering wheel, you can listen to your favorite music via the Bluetooth sound system.
The Vanderhall Carmel Is Not Basic
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the Vanderhall Carmel is driven by a 4 cylinder engine. The engine itself is a turbocharged aluminum block sourced from GM, pushing out 200 hp and 203 lb-ft from its 1.5 liters. It may not sound like much, but keep in mind that the tiny Carmel weighs just 1,595 pounds, and can deliver 4.5 s 0-60 times, reaching 138 mph.
The task of transferring those highly capable 200 horses to the front wheels is resolved with the use of a six-speed fully automatic transmission. You’re never alone when you drive the Carmel because you always have help in the form of dual servo ABS brakes, traction control, and electric power steering.
Elegance Is Key
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Vanderhall Carmel is an interesting piece. The attractive alloy wheels measure 19” in diameter front and rear, with the rear being suspended on a motorcycle style mono-lever fork for added visual appeal. In my opinion, the rear end could be a bit more elegant and not chopped off like it is. In true three-wheeler fashion, there is a pair of roll-over bars behind the driver and passenger, while the sides are accented with side exit exhausts.
On the front, you’re greeted by the massive square mesh grill, a bunch of radiators and a vented bonnet. In order to not disturb the airflow over the elegant and curvy body, the bright LED headlights cleverly hide behind the grill.
I like the little Carmel, except for that rear end. I think it’s a practical thing to have, especially if you’re mostly traveling alone. Vanderhall is now in the process of taking orders for it, meaning that you can reserve one for $1,000. It’s destined to hit the road in 2019, carrying a $39,950 price tag.