What is the Lynk&Co 02?
The 02 is the third model from a new Car brand called Lynk&Co, which will arrive in Europe next year. While you might not be familiar with the brand, its owner, the behemoth Geely, is slowly but surely taking over the automotive world. Its core brand Geely sells 1.25 million cars in China annually, and it also owns Volvo, Lotus and London Electric Vehicle Company (which makes London cabs) and recently bought a 10% stake in Daimler, Mercedes’ owners. Quite serious business, then.
The idea is that premium Volvo sits at the top of Geely's European line-up of car makers, with Lynk&Co below it as a mid-range brand. This then paves the way for the possible introduction of Geely as a budget brand in Europe.
The 02 compact SUV follows reveals of the 01, a larger SUV and the 03, a saloon. The 01 will arrive early next year in Europe and the 02 will follow in 2020. Meanwhile, the 03 is likely to be sold only in China, where saloons remain popular.
It is based on a platform called Compact Modular Architecture, on which the 01 and 03 are also based. It’s a Geely-wide architecture but is best known in the West as the platform for the well-received Volvo XC40.
The similarities don’t stop there. The 02 for Europe will only be sold as a plug-in hybrid, regular hybrid or battery electric vehicle; the PHEV will arrive first and will be based heavily on the XC40 plug-in hybrid, on sale later this year.
While little has been confirmed on Lynk&Co’s equivalent, it’s fair to say not much will change over Volvo’s PHEV, named T5 Twin Engine. It uses a 177bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine along with a 75bhp electric motor driving through a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Range is likely to be 31 miles on electric only.
What’s the Lynk&Co 02 like inside?
Full disclosure: we drove the 02 for 15 minutes on exceptionally smooth roads near the shiny new Lynk&Co factory in Zhangjiakou, China. The cars currently being made are for the Chinese market, which, for now, only get a standard 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre petrol, rather than the electrified versions coming to Europe.
We drove the 177bhp 1.5, which is the same engine that Volvo uses and will also help to power the PHEV. When quickly accelerating at low revs, the engine is gruff, but get above 3500rpm and it coasts along happily. The dual-clutch auto, which we’ll get on the 02 PHEV, is fairly smooth, too.
Ride at low speeds is comfortable in the front or rear, but at motorway speeds it gets notably fidgety. Given that the test roads were silky smooth, there’s some work to be done to keep British drivers happy.
Meanwhile, handling is impossible to review, given that we only turned three wide corners in our 15 minutes with the car. Steering is light (as are the brakes) and while it’s not precise steering, there’s a satisfying connection with the car when turning.