We’ve seen them buzzing around for years. Three-wheel, mostly open, motorcycles with one or two passengers, looking like they’re having the time of their lives. Even Shaq owns one. Everything about a 3-wheeler seems minimalistic enough that it must have great gas mileage. Could these be the best way to beat the high price of gas? Let’s look at a couple to see what they offer for those looking to save themselves from the gas pump blues.
Is the Morgan Super 3 a good 3-wheeler?
One of the classic three-wheelers is Morgan. Its Super 3 model is engineered to the times but still broadcasts vintage fun. While only able to only seat one person, that will definitely help with gas consumption. Powering the “3” is a Gragon three-cylinder engine hooked to a five-speed transmission.
Weighing only 1,400 lbs, it surely isn’t fun when the temperatures dip, or when there is precipitation. That could be remedied with some kind of enclosure, but to our knowledge none is available. So this is a fair-weather solution, or is it?
What is the Morgan’s MPG?
Miles per gallon are in the high 20s, but that’s with a light foot on the throttle. Mileage gets into the teens when the Morgan 3 is leaned upon. So at this stage, an internal-combustion engine is no match for an electric alternative.
The next focus is on the Vanderhall Venice. Again, it is open, so winter weather will saddle it to the garage until spring has sprung. But the good news is that there is an optional removable hardtop available. Another advantage to the Venice is that it can accommodate two people.
It’s powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine hooked to a six-speed automatic. Besides a top and accommodation for two, mileage is an improvement over the Morgan Super 3. It gets 32 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg around town.
What are some of the Vanderhall Venice features?
There’s electric-assist rack-and-pinion steering, with front-wheel disc brakes more than capable of stopping the 1,550 Venice. Being front-wheel drive, it stabilizes the three-wheel configuration. Performance specs are 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and almost 140 mph top speed.
We also like the styling of the Venice, though we’d prefer the proportions of a larger wheel and tire in the rear. Visually, it looks weak with that small tire/wheel combo. But that has nothing to do with performance.
Whether you opt for the Morgan or Vanderhall, some states deem them motorcycles, which means helmets and motorcycle licenses. But many states call them “autocycles” which means no additional requirements.
How much are these 3-wheelers?
The Vanderhall Venice will set you back about $35,000, while the Morgan Super 3 comes in at $70,000. At half the price and twice the ridership, at least on paper, the Vanderhall seems the smarter choice. If you’re wanting to test the practicality of a three-wheeler, $35,000 makes it an easier proposition.
But neither can make up for something like the all-electric Nissan Leaf. It’s a real car with all of the amenities you expect in a car. And it is priced under the Vanderhall Venice at $28,700 for a base model.
But let’s face it, the Leaf is like an appliance, while either the Morgan or Vanderhall will add spice to your drive. Especially in sunny states, it is a fun, if not quite comparable to EVs, alternative choice in these times of escalating prices and waiting lists for new vehicles.