We’ll forgive you if you have reservations about the company’s name because you are not the only one, but underrating the Lynk & Co 01 is where we draw the line. Most Chinese vehicles hit a stone wall when attempting to enter the U.S and Europe automotive market, but thanks to Geely’s experience in the business, the Lynk & Co 01 has everything to forge ahead. The compact SUV is based on the same platform as another successful SUV. Also, the manufacturer has adopted an innovative business model to make it an affordable option for SUV lovers.
The Lynk & Co 01 is already available in Europe, and it seems that the manufacturer is exploring means of penetrating the U.S market. While Global SUV waits to see what the promising future holds for the SUV, we can confidently assure you that the Lynk & Co 01 is more than your everyday Chinese SUV, and here is why.
It’s Got The Looks
The 01’s architecture may split opinions, but it is distinct and beautiful. At the front, the 01 looks like it has taken some inspiration from the KIA Sportage. However, the positioning of the headlights looks similar to that of the Nissan Juke. We are not suggesting that the 01 merges different parts of other vehicles (wait till you find out that it has the same platform as the Volvo XC40), but we are sure that the designers were deliberate about merging Chinese and European styling tastes.
As expected, the side and rear profiles of the compact SUV are beautiful. Perhaps, the fascinating information about the exterior is that drivers can lock, unlock, and start the SUV using super shareable digital keys. With 178 inches in length and a width of 73.1 inches, the Lynk & Co 01 promises almost the same passenger space as the fantastic Geely Azkarra. Just as Henry Ford’s Model T, the O1 is built to offer simplicity and comes in one trim level and two colors (blue and black).
Engineered in conjunction with fellow Geely subsidiary, Volvo, the 01 sits on the same Compact Modular Architecture platform as the Volvo XC40. Some Chinese vehicles do not perform well in international crash tests but using the Volvo platform means Lynk & Co has nothing to worry about. As expected, the compact crossover scored a full five stars in the 2021 Euro NCAP safety assessment. Currently, only the PHEV and HEV versions are available, but there are plans to introduce an all-electric version.
Both versions have an in-line, three cyl turbocharged engine, and they are built on a Lithium-ion battery. The PHEV version has a maximum output of 261 horsepower, while the HEV has 197 hp. Since the PHEV version can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 8 secs and hit a top speed of 131 mph, the SUV has good figures.
Unorthodox, Well-Designed Cabin
The inside of the 01 is stylish and feature-packed. But most of what looks like metal-like interior pieces are made of ECONYL, which Lynk & Co calls “a material made of recycled fishing nets and other plastic waste.” Although the inside is built with relatively uncommon materials, the finish seems up to the standard of the XC40. Generally, the 01 looks a significant cut above many Chinese-built vehicles.
The dashboard is slick and minimalistic while having enough physical switches. A 12.3-inch HD driver display sits almost directly behind the adjustable steering wheel. And a large 12.7-inch center display grants access to all infotainment and driver-assist features. Unlike Volvo, the large infotainment display touch screen has a landscape orientation. With 41 and 39 inches of legroom at the front and rear, there is enough space in the cabin to ensure that occupants are comfortable. A panoramic sunroof overlooks the cabin, but you can also improve the mood with the adjustable ambient colors.
Convenience, Safety, And Driver-Assist Features
The 01 maximizes modern technology for safety and convenience. While the driver steers the wheel, the active bending headlights follow the direction to see around corners. With the active bending headlights feature, drivers don’t have to strain their eyes when driving at night. The sunroof has tinted laminated glass, reducing noise and protecting from UV rays. Drivers can unlock the car with a digital key and personalize the ride with voice recognition. Features like the adjustable seat settings, power-operated tailgate, capless fueling, etc., mean Lynk & Co prioritized convenience when building the SUV. The driver-assist features include parking assistance, Adaptive Cruise Control, etc.
What’s New In 2022?
Lynk & Co says the 01 is an all-inclusive car, meaning there’s not much to add. But the 2022 version has a multi-feature 360-degree camera, replacing the 90-degree rear-view camera in older versions. The front doors now have laminated window glass, offering improved air conditioning and acoustic insulation. Unlike in earlier versions, both front and tail lights get an automatic setting for Daytime Running Lights.
The Biggest Selling Point: Ride-Sharing and Subscription-Based Ownership
Although intending buyers can buy the 01 for hard cash, Lynk & Co expects that 70% of the compact SUV will be leased. However, the subscription service has some tweaks, allowing users to pay a monthly fee to use the car and hand it back after the month, unless they choose to pay for another month. The traditional PCP arrangement allows intending users to pay about $550 each month for about 777 miles of range. The fee also covers insurance and servicing.
Since owners may not use the car every time they have to move, Lynk & Co came up with an idea to help offset the cost of the vehicle – ridesharing. Nominal owners can download the Lynk and Co app, which allows them to rent out their cars to people around them. Anyone with a driver’s license can download the same app to check if any close nominal owner is putting their 01 up. The owner and borrower can then negotiate the rental fee. The business model means the manufacturer will continue to own about 70% of the cars it produces. After refurbishing to enter a second and maybe a few more cycles, Lynk & Co will scrap the car. Who knows? We might be seeing the start of a new era: disposable vehicles.