Lynk & Co Reveals New Model, Doubles Product Lineup
Lynk & Co, the Geely-owned sister brand to Volvo, is rounding out its product lineup with the announcement of a new sport utility vehicle. For clarification, it’s not really an SUV, as Lynk only builds car-based crossovers — and it’s also not entirely new, because it appears to be a squished-down version of the existing 01, itself based on the Volvo XC40. But this recipe may still have produced something novel for the fledgling automaker.
Based on claims from the manufacturer, what we have here is a shortened, lowered, and girthed-up sporting version of its existing crossover. Called the “02,” it’s an even more wagon-like CUV (that stops short of being a full-blown car). This makes sense, as the brand is already planning an “03” sedan. Spy shots of the sedan prototype reveals it more or less resembles an 01 “SUV” with a lowered ride height and different roof.
In fact, all of these vehicles look so similar that it almost feels like Lynk & Co is trying to pull a fast one on us. However, a critical eye reveals subtle styling cues that differentiate the models, even if it’s only slightly.
If you’re looking for specs, you’re going to be disappointed. Lynk likes to push its brand identity and subscription service, rather than provide numbers and measurements. Everything points to it using the same 1.5-liter three-cylinder and 2.0-liter four-pot engines available on its bigger brother. It will also use the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) underpinning Volvo’s XC40 and Lynk’s own 01 — just in a more squat and sporty incarnation.
The brand’s current SUV is 177.6 inches long, 73.1 inches wide, and 65.9 inches tall. So, if you want a real-world comparison, the 02’s size should be akin to a Mazda CX-3 if a factory wide-body variant existed — which would be incredible. Assuming the 02 ventures outside Chinese borders, which is the plan for the 01, it’ll likely use the same 2.0-liter inline-four (248 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque) from the XC40 T5.
When that will happen is unknown, however. Geely claims the Lynk brand will eventually make its way to Europe and North America, but the timeline is a bit murky. It recently said the brand will launch in Europe by the end of 2019 (2020 at the latest), starting in Amsterdam before moving to other cities. Lynk persists in pushing for direct sales via the internet, using a subscription service where possible, and remains very keen on person-to-person car-sharing.
Lynk & Co also appears to be establishing its own fashion line.
Were it not for its ties to Geely and Volvo, it’d be easy to accuse the brand of having style without substance. Its hip, sometimes bewildering marketing seems so unfocused on automobiles that it’s often difficult to take seriously. But Lynk does seem poised for global sales eventually. At the very least, Europe seems like a sure thing. Production of the 02 is slated to join CMA cars at Volvo’s assembly plant in Belgium in the near future.
American production is a possibility, too. Lynk is exploring potential production sites in the United States and could make a deal with Volvo to share its new factory in Ridgeville, South Carolina.
Would American shoppers be interested? We would think so. While consumer bias may hamper an unestablished Chinese brand, the 02 does appear to offer a sporting alternative to dull, mainstream compact crossovers. Its bolstered seats are visually appealing and the same can be said for the rest of the interior space. As for the exterior, that’s largely dependent on personal taste. It is by no means ugly. Besides, if you don’t like it, the brand seems to be offering oodles of color and trim options that really change the overall look.
There is no way of knowing what features will make it out of Asia, but Lynk seems to be providing the 02 with a contrasting roof or accented bumper and sill paint that even finds it way onto the wheels. Photos illustrate some really unique-looking trim options for the interior, which also comes in different colors. You know what this is? A grown-up Nissan Juke that didn’t sacrifice its personality as it matured. It’s distinguished enough to trick people into thinking you’re professional, and totally quirky without being intentionally weird.
However, that’s not enough to presume it’ll be a smash hit or even a welcome addition to North American roads. We imagine fit and finish will ultimately be the deciding factor for U.S. consumers. Even if the 02 ends up being a bargain version of the XC40, consumers won’t settle for shoddy build quality and Lynk & Co will have to overcome the western prejudice that Chinese goods are cheap and poorly made.
[Images: Lynk & Co]
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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