Full review of the ACG T-Sport street legal golf car / low speed vehicle.
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This is a full review of the T-Sport model of street legal golf carts from ACG.
What Is A Street Legal Golf Cart?
It's basically a golf cart with a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). That means that the DOT (Department of Transportation) will recognize it like a car and allow you to drive it on some public roads. Exactly which roads will depend on your city or state laws. In many cases you can drive a street legal golf cart, or low speed vehicle as they're also called, on streets with speed limits up to 35 MPH. Check with your local laws to know for sure.
Can I Drive A Normal Golf Cart On The Street?
This is America, you can do whatever you want! Of course, you would likely be doing so illegally and get in trouble. The entire point of a street legal cart is that it is licensed for the road. The reality here just means that the DOT can charge you for license plates, safety inspection fees if you live in a state like Hawaii, and make extra money off of you.
It also means you have to have your golf cart insured though insurance on low speed vehicles is usually relatively inexpensive. Still, once it's a street legal vehicle all of the normal "rules of the road" apply.
Is It Really Just A Golf Cart With A VIN?
Believe it or not, it really is. That VIN is the key here but it also seems to pretty much double the price of a non-street legal golf cart. That's right, these can be very expensive. The T-Sport base model I purchased (no added bells or whistles) was just over $10,000 USD. Ouch.
To be fair, a street legal golf cart does come with standard items that would be upgrades on a non-street legal cart. These include side view mirrors, turn signals, rear view mirror, a horn, windshield wiper, headlights, brake lights, seat belts, and so on.It also has a speed upgrade which can often be "unlocked" on regular carts. Basically, all of those little things that make a car, a car. All of these items can be added to a non-street legal cart via aftermarket items but you still wouldn't have a VIN which is required for license plates.
ACG T-Sport - The Good
There are many things I love about the ACG T-Sport. The biggest is the speed and handling. Sure, this is no Porsche (see our 2016 Porsche Macan Review) but it is pretty darn good for a golf cart. The top speed is around 29 MPH on level ground, though the speedometer only goes to 25 MPH.
That's plenty fast enough on 25 MPH roads and you won't hold up traffic too much on 30 MPH roads. Roads with a 35 MPH limit, well, that's another story. Still, it's plenty fast most of the time and feels like you're flying because it's open and so low to the ground. It really makes driving it a blast.
One of the lessons Tesla taught us is that putting those heavy batteries down low makes for great handling. While these are not as low as a Tesla, it's all relative and the T-Sport really hugs the ground around corners. Those fancy rims and low profile tires really add to the sporty feel, even if it's only a placebo effect. This was a noticeable upgrade from my last non-street legal cart.
ACG T-Sport - The Bad & The Ugly
The ACG T-Sport is not without faults. It actually has many, many faults. Some minor, some pretty major. I'll cover those that any potential buyer should know about here.
Not that any stock golf cart looks good, but this thing is ugly. It just is. This shouldn't turn you off, but clearly something could be done on the design.
This is by far my biggest complaint. The materials all feel really cheap. The fiberglass top and body both feel cheap and flimsy, more so than compared to an EZ-GO brand for example. The back step feels like it can't hold much weight and that's the part rear seat passengers step on to get in. The vinyl seat material is cheap. The fake carbon fiber dash and glove box doors feel cheap. For a $10k purchase I expected better.
This one worries me the most as I live in Hawaii. After only 3 months some of the bolts are rusty already. Some of the welds show signs of rust as well. I keep it in a garage, don't use it all that often, and keep it very clean. So why is there rust after 3 months? Because they went cheap and didn't use better bolts (stainless, etc) or didn't apply a coating to prevent rust.
I mentioned the glove box door already in terms of cheap materials. But even the way it's attached, with two pop rivets through plastic, is pretty poor. The rubber floor mat has cutouts where the pedals come through and it looks like a 6 year old cut it out with dull scissors. Not a safety issue, but it's noticeable.
In a real car you put your turn signal on, make a turn, and the signal goes off on its own. With the ACG T-Sport, they just used an aftermarket add-on turn signal system. So you manually turn it on to signal, but then have to turn it off as well. Want to know how many times you'll remember to turn it off after making a turn? Zero. So you'll be blinking along everywhere you drive, making one of those "eventual left turns" like an old man in his late 90's.
In many modern carts the parking brake is electronic. Turn the ignition off and the brakes lock. Easy. This cart has the old, mechanical system that carts in the 1980s used. You pull into a place to park, then press part of the brake pedal down in a ratcheting system. When you're ready to go, you have to hit the "gas" pedal hard to mechanically pop the parking brake off which often leads to the cart lurching a bit. Not a deal breaker, but it's old technology that doesn't belong on a $10k cart built today.
It's nice that you get a windshield wiper in case it rains. Only, it doesn't do much. The switch is up high, a pain to reach while driving for some. When used, it basically just smears the water around. It's best left off at all times where it will surely be in your sightlines, a annoyance for sure.
Problems & Support
My brand new cart arrived with a "low water" display on the computer screen. The water was filled and my dealer had no idea why it showed that. I contacted ACG support via email and got an instant reply. Nice! Turns out it's just a timer, not a level detector and I had to reset it. I had to reset it 3 times before it stopped coming on. Why wasn't this taken care of when they shipped it?
On that same note, my battery charge level was all over the place. Sometimes 50% while minutes later 90%. Support said I had to run the battery below 69% (mentioned in the manual too) which I did. It's better now, but far from accurate. It's still all over the place.
I also had questions about the backup beeper. Not sure why they put a backup beeper on but it's very loud and I wanted it removed. Support told me to "pull the beeper wire" which is obvious if you know where that is (and it's not easy to find by listening either). Later when I asked where that wire was they stopped replying. My dealer took care of it, but still, what happened to the support?
ACG T-Sport - Conclusion
You're probably thinking that I hate this cart from ACG. That's not the case at all. I really like it overall, but it's far from perfect and any potential buyer should know about the bad things so they're not surprised like I was.
The cart certainly has its issues but there is a lot going for it as well. I'm happy overall with my purchase because it fills the needs I have. For most people, I would instead suggest looking at a GEM or similar vehicle but I wanted something that was the size of a golf cart where a GEM is a bit bigger.
Overall, I give the ACG T-Sport a 3 star rating out of 5. I dock a full star because of the insane price, for the quality it should really be around $5-6k and not $10k. I also dock a full star for all of the items I listed above as "The Bad & The Ugly". Want to buy one or find a dealer, then visit the ACG Website here.
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