Unfortunately, we didn't have anyone from the ABG team available locally to attend the unveiling of the new Coda electric sedan earlier this week in Santa Monica. However, it pays to have friends in sunny places, including our pal Mike Levine. Mike took a break from his coverage of pickup trucks to go check out the new EV and came away somewhat disappointed.
Overall the styling of the car is so-so. It's certainly not going entice anyone interested in a Tesla Model S with its looks. Even with a new nose, it's a pretty average compact sedan.
Mike's primary complaints about the Coda were related to the car's interior. Admittedly this is a prototype and, as such, it can't be judged as final. However, Mike has seen plenty of prototype vehicles over the years and felt this one was pretty rough even for this stage of development. The interior appeared to be the standard production setup from the base Hafei sedan on which the Coda is based, including the logo on the steering wheel airbag. Coda officials promise the production version will be much better and it will need to be if Coda expects anyone but the hardcore EV fans to shell out nearly $40K for this car.
Another issue that may be more difficult to address is rear seat room. Mike describes the trunk as ample but tells us that the volume seems to have come by pushing the back seat forward. The back seat is apparently all but unusable as a result. According to Coda officials we've talked to, the goal is an interior competitive with other cars in the mid-$20,000 range. Hopefully, they are working on it, because from what we can see in these pics, they will struggle to compete with a $10,000 Hyundai Accent or Nissan Versa, that $30,000 difference will buy an awful lot of gasoline.
Photos Copyright ©2009 Mike Levine