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Youthful styling on a Volvo technological base make this plug-in hybrid SUV a strong contender with limited competition
15 March 2019

What is it?

It’s no secret that Lynk&Co will arrive in Europe within the next twelve months, but until now we’ve only experienced the drivetrains unique to the Chinese market.

However, while still a Chinese-market version, the car before you, the 01 SUV, will be the model Lynk&Co sells in Europe. It’s a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) utilising a three-cylinder petrol engine developed in collaboration with Volvo.

While partnerships between Volvo and its Chinese owners Geely have very much been the genesis of this brand, the Lynk&Co team got a clean sheet of paper with no ‘brand heritage’ hang-ups. The result has a distinctly European feel about it but is certainly not merely a cheaper Volvo. Although it shares the CMA platform with the Swedish brand's XC40, it's bigger and has a distinct feel.

Entering Europe with a PHEV is one way to navigate the crowded competition. The Mitsubishi Outlander has carved a niche for itself in this way and Lynk&Co hopes to gain sales as countries such as the UK and France push consumers towards electrified offerings.

Despite the Chinese-market 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol version of this SUV being four-wheel-drive, the PHEV is strictly front-wheel-drive. Combined power from the 1.5-litre turbo petrol unit and electric motor comes in at a respectable 257bhp and is controlled through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

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What's it like?

The 01 feels a lot like a European car, with well weighted steering, good roadholding and no undue wallowing when manoeuvring at speed. Indeed, it's stiffer than most Chinese vehicles, and so it also provides a largely comfortable ride over a mixture of road types and surfaces.

It’s quiet and refined when driven under electric power, too. Moreover, aside from a faint whine from the motor, this powertrain gives only the smallest discernible indication of the transition when the petrol engine cuts in.

A driving mode dial next to the gear selector offers three different power options: electric, wherein the 01 uses the battery only for power and the petrol engine merely acts as generator for when the charge runs low, Hybrid, which is the default and allows the engine to cut in when needed to provide power directly to the front wheels, and Power, which throws everything the engine and motor have to provide the best performance.

In that last mode, the 01 accelerates from 0-62mph in a shade over 7.0scec, although it never feels dramatically fast, even when leaving other cars in its wake at traffic lights. Meanwhile, regenerative braking slows the car after you take your foot off the accelerator, but the effect isn't as noticeable here as it can be in many other hybrids and electric cars. Lynk&Co claims the 01 is set up to drive more like a petrol model, and the regenerative braking is both limited and non-adjustable.

Interior materials are of a high enough quality to beat mainstream competitors, with soft-touch plastics swathing the dashboard and useful additions such as a wireless smartphone charging pad. Liberal use of chrome effects and coloured inserts may not be to everybody’s taste, but they add to the youthful vibe. Rear passengers over six feet tall are likely to encounter head room issues, but leg room is generous.

Responsiveness from 10.2in touchscreen infotainment system could be better, and the layout makes it tricky to find certain settings. The major climate controls have physical buttons, and voice controls can be used to set the temperature or program the sat-nav, although they currently work only in Chinese. In China, the 01 comes with an unlimited data plan for turning the vehicle into a wi-fi hotspot.

...

Should I buy one?

If you’re in the market for a non-premium plug-in hybrid SUV, your options are limited.

But if you can do without the Outlander’s four-wheel-drive capability, the 01 offers better handling, greater material quality and more standard equipment. And while the split front lights might make for a divisive look, remember Lynk&Co’s younger target owners.

European customers will have to wait for the Ghent, Belgium-built cars to land next year, but this Chinese version already shows it to be a strong contender.

Mark Andrews

Lynk&Co 01 PHEV specification

Where Hangzhou, China Price RMB 262,800 (£29,755) before subsidies On sale Now (China), 2020 (Europe) Engine 3 cyls, 1477cc, turbocharged, petrol, electric motor Power 257bhp combined Torque 195lb ft at 4000rpm (engine), 118lb ft (motor) Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic Kerb weight 1769kg Top speed 130mph 0-62mph 7.3sec Fuel economy 166mpg CO2 tbc Rivals Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

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Comments
26

15 March 2019

What Subsidies? I don't think there will be any as they're only expected to have an electric range of 30 miles.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

15 March 2019
It says so clearly. It even gives the price in Chinese currency.

15 March 2019

I just saw the sterling price and 'before subsidies' line. 

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

15 March 2019

I m making over $10k multi month working low maintenance. I continued hearing other individuals disclose to me how much cash they can make on the web so I chose to investigate it. All things considered, it was all valid and has completely transformed me...  ℂashverity.ℂom

 

15 March 2019
nalixecama wrote:

I m making over $10k multi month working low maintenance. I continued hearing other individuals disclose to me how much cash they can make on the web so I chose to investigate it. All things considered, it was all valid and has completely transformed me...  ℂashverity.ℂom

 

Are you Cantonese? Your ad seems Chinese to me.

15 March 2019

The initial images looked promising but the finished product is a letdown, being far too elaborate especially the back and the awful C-pillar treatment.

15 March 2019

Why would someone be in the market for a ‘non premium’ plug in SUV?

If you have decided this is the car format for you, surely you would then just want the best available in your budget?

This use of the term ‘premium’ is increasingly a nonsense, and looks at the market from an industry point of view, not the customer.

15 March 2019

I much prefer Volvo's styling.  The interior looks like they've nicked Volvo's air vents and swivelled them 90 degrees!

15 March 2019

A non-premium hybrid car that'll probably be more expensive than the premium car it's based on.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

15 March 2019

I see you're now asking me to whitelist your ads and not use an adblocker (thank you, Opera!).  If your ads didn't slow my internet connection down so much then there wouldn't be a necessity to use an ad blocker in the first place!  Just run 'ordinary' ads down the sides of the website which don't use up so much of my PC's ability to cope (and funnily enough, my adblocker lets them through, so I don't even need to turn it off).  When are website owners going to learn?

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