2024 Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle Review | A Closer Look
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2024 Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle Review

Canoo is not just another player in the electric vehicle startup scene; it’s a company that dares to redefine vehicular innovation. With its 2024 Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle, the company introduces a design reminiscent of the nostalgic VW Microbus, equipped with features that scream future-ready. From its 21-window retro design to mosh-pit seating and swappable “top-hat” bodies, Canoo is all about breaking molds and setting new standards in vehicle life-cycle planning.

Canoo’s Viability and Strategic Moves

Canoo’s Viability and Strategic Moves

Is Canoo viable? This is a crucial question for any emerging EV maker, especially one that has faced its share of challenges. Last year appeared uncertain for Canoo, but like Rivian, it has strategically secured fleet customers to stabilize its operational base. A significant order from Walmart for 4,500 Lifestyle Delivery Vehicles (LDVs) highlights this strategy. Moreover, Canoo’s focus on fleet sales in its initial production year—a move divergent from Rivian’s approach—aims to rigorously test and refine their vehicles under demanding conditions before they reach everyday consumers.

Production Insights and Future Prospects

Production Insights and Future Prospects

The first glimpse of what Canoo is capable of came with the Lifestyle Vehicle, followed by a more straightforward delivery-van variant. The initial batch of 120 “Gamma” prototypes was assembled in Livonia, Michigan, by Roush Industries, showcasing the effectiveness of Canoo’s developmental processes. Notably, Canoo retains complete control over its tooling and manufacturing protocols, with a strategic plan to transition operations to Oklahoma in early 2023.

As the first customer vehicles rolled off the line in late 2022, Canoo’s product roadmap remains ambitious. The lineup still includes varied pickup configurations and the robust Multi-Purpose Delivery Van (MPDV), with ongoing production emphasizing the versatility of their skateboard platform—a low-profile, fully by-wire chassis that could revolutionize modular vehicle design.

Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle Interior: Space Optimization and Seating Configuration

Canoo’s unique approach to vehicle interiors is exemplified by its innovative seating arrangement and the absence of a traditional dashboard. The design features temporary jump seats that fold up against the front seatbacks, cleverly doubling as armrests for the front occupants. This inventive solution addresses the challenge posed by the necessity to position the front seats inboard—enough to allow the driver’s feet to clear the front wheels, which unfortunately places the doors out of easy reach.

Driver-Centric Controls and Visibility

The layout in Canoo’s vehicles prioritizes driver convenience and visibility. The absence of a standard dashboard is replaced by a minimalist digital display at the base of the windshield, showing speed, turn signal, and drive gear indicators. An additional window below this display enhances forward visibility, potentially doubling as stowage space in future models. The cabin’s design includes multiple thin pillars that do not distract from driving, ensuring overall excellent visibility.

A 10.0-inch touchscreen, strategically mounted to the driver’s A-pillar, is within easy reach and controls most of the vehicle’s secondary functions. This setup is intended to minimize distraction, featuring a user-friendly interface with essential information and planned stability rails for ease of use on uneven terrain.

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Climate Control and Comfort

Climate Control and Comfort

Canoo opts for a convective HVAC system, which circulates air rather than directing it at the occupants, a design choice that avoids the discomfort of direct air blow. This system, combined with discreetly integrated vents along the windshield, effectively maintains a comfortable cabin temperature without causing dryness, as evidenced during testing in cooler weather. However, its efficiency in cooling during hot days, given the vehicle’s extensive glass areas, remains a point for further evaluation.

Limited Cargo Space

Despite its spacious seating for up to seven in premium models, Canoo’s vehicles do not prioritize cargo capacity. With a total of 130 cubic feet of space in the Lifestyle Delivery Vehicle (LDV), only 13 cubic feet are available for storage behind the non-removable rear seats—roughly enough for three golf bags. This limitation highlights Canoo’s focus on passenger comfort over cargo flexibility, reinforcing the vehicle’s identity as something distinct from a traditional minivan.

Canoo’s “Muscle Van” and Unique Sales Proposition: A Closer Look

Climate Control and Comfort

Despite its unconventional appearance and underlying technology, labeling the Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle (LV) as a legitimate “muscle van” might stretch the traditional definition. Mounted on a skateboard chassis that echoes the compact wheelbase of a Toyota Prius, the LV offers a nimble, responsive driving experience. Its by-wire steering and a square steering “wheel” contribute to a remarkably tight turning circle and agile handling often not associated with vans.

The vehicle’s rear-mounted motor packs 350 horsepower and 304 lb-ft of torque, which is considerable but when balanced against its 4,750-pound curb weight and three occupants, the power-to-weight ratio doesn’t quite evoke the raw performance typically expected of a muscle car. However, the potential for a future dual-motor AWD setup cranking out maximum horsepower could bring it closer to earning the muscle van title.

Unique Sales Proposition: Direct Sales and Lifelong Upgradability

Canoo’s sales model reflects a forward-thinking approach influenced by modern consumer preferences and economic realities. Initially floating an all-subscription model, the company has adapted to include direct online sales and factory leasing to navigate the complexities introduced by inflation and fluctuating interest rates.

One of Canoo’s most distinctive propositions lies in its vehicle design’s longevity and flexibility. The skateboard platform allows for significant modularity, which Canoo leverages to offer lifelong upgradability. Powertrain swaps can be accomplished in just two hours, and changing the entire body “top hat” is similarly straightforward. This approach not only enhances the vehicle’s appeal through its potential for customization and adaptation but also aligns with sustainable practices by extending the vehicle’s functional lifecycle.

Reflection on Canoo’s Market Strategy

While Canoo’s Lifestyle Vehicle impresses with its design and innovative features, its practicality in everyday scenarios remains under scrutiny. Questions about the comfort of rear seating arrangements, cargo loading ease, and luggage capacity for family trips highlight areas that need real-world testing to validate. The design, while revolutionary in some aspects, must prove it can handle the practical demands of potential buyers to succeed in the competitive EV market.

Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle Price

 Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle Price

The 2024 Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle is set to make waves in the electric vehicle market with its estimated pricing ranging from $34,750 to $49,950. This competitive price bracket aims to make electric vehicle technology accessible to a broader audience, positioning the Canoo as a potentially disruptive player in the EV space.

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