I left the traditional brands for the Lynk & Co 01, my verdict
It is the first car in France that can bring you money. Here is my feedback from the Lynk & Co 01. Its pros and cons.
The automotive sector is preparing for a transition of an even greater magnitude than that of electrification. Car sharing, which will result from the emergence of the autonomous car, is inevitable. With it, consumers will no longer see cars as products, but as services. The vision already applies in the world of aeronautics (obviously, it is more complicated to buy a plane).
Like electric cars, its adoption will not be at the same pace depending on the brand. And if traditional manufacturers have welcomed long-term rental as a transitional phase, there is a brand that is much more advanced and convinced that car sharing should not wait. Her name is Lynk & Co.
In its catalog in Europe, it has only one model, the Lynk & Co 01, which I tried during a stay in Milan, Italy. Right in the center of the city, the brand born in 2014 under the infusion of capital from the Geely group (the Chinese group that owns Volvo and Lotus in particular) opened its doors to me to present its offer where sharing replaced possession.< /p>
Interesting figures: out of the brand's 18,000 French customers, there are only 3,000 Lynk & Co 01 registered. Same thing across Europe: 170,000 drivers for only 25,000 cars. In the future, the target ratio sought by the brand is 35,000 cars for 100,000 customers. Its CEO, Alain Visser, with whom I spoke, realized his dream after 40 years of career with traditional manufacturers: to finally offer a more sustainable, more practical and less expensive solution in the automotive world.
< p>If we had to place Lynk & Co between Audi, Uber and a rental agency, the boss would not hesitate for a second: “definitely not Audi”, he told us “Lynk & Co is similar to a model that of Uber and a rental agency”. The offer revolves around a subscription at 550 euros per month, without commitment, where the customer can use the car whenever he wishes, keep it at home, and drive up to 1,250 kilometers per month and 15,000 per year.
At the same time, the latter can decide to share his car, and in this case sublet it. In exchange, he will earn between 10 and 20 euros per hour. The functionality does not require any effort, only to configure on the application or on the dashboard the duration for which the car remains available.
- 5 advantages with the Lynk & Co 01
- 1) What you expect from a plug-in hybrid
- 2) Why look for more premium?
- 3) A very reasonable space on board
- 4) A car for infidels…
- 5) … and for swingers
- 5 drawbacks with the Lynk & Co 01
- 1) Some defects on board
- 2) The mileage is limited, beware of non-package
- 3) No purchase option possible
- 4) A price that can change
- 5) An offer (again ) limited
The Lynk & Co 01 that I tried last month is not standalone, but it is connected. And in 2022, that's all that matters to Alain Visser, to be able to dematerialize the keys on the smartphone, create a community around the brand and reduce the number of cars in circulation without reducing the brand's margins.
Unlike other brands that praise electric, the Lynk & Co 01 operates as a plug-in hybrid. The best compromise, for the moment, in order to offer enough autonomy while giving the possibility of consuming nothing during urban use for example. The next model will certainly arrive next year, 100% electric this time.
5 advantages with the Lynk & Co 01
1) What you expect from a plug-in hybrid
We have to be honest, in 2022, with the difficulties of finding fast recharges for long journeys, the plug-in hybrid solution may still be relevant. Even if of course, opting for an SUV silhouette is never very smart in an ecological logic. Like all others in its class, the Lynk & Co 01 is not for heavy riders. On the motorway, its consumption exceeds the 7 liters measured on our mixed route.
On the other hand, in electric, it offers according to our measurements around 60 kilometers of autonomy in the combined cycle, and nearly 70 kilometers in the city. Results in the upper range of the category. It will not be necessary to have the heavy foot that said. Even with 100% electric mode engaged, the car can quickly restart its 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol unit (180 horsepower).
The mass of the Lynk & Co 01 is 1,879 kilos empty. In 100 % electric, the hybrid SUV only delivers 100 horsepower (60 kW motor, 14.1 kWh battery). With 261 cumulative horsepower, the SUV is not a lightning strike (0 to 100 km/h in 8 s), but has an undeniable advantage of electric: instant torque to fit quickly into the traffic. Add to that a pleasant ride, with a setting halfway between a Volvo XC40 and a Volkswagen Tiguan, and you get a model with rather firm damping for dynamic behavior and which does not take too much body roll in curves. /p>
2) Why look more premium?
The look of the Lynk & Co 01 differs well from the Volvo XC40, with which it shares the platform. However, it is far from original and also incorporates elements known from Asian SUVs, such as the Kia Sportage. But for 41,500 euros new, already 7 years of career, he does not compete in the same category as the Swedes or the Germans. And that's to his credit.
During my test drive, I was in no way bothered by the size of the costs in the cabin. You won't find leather or imitation leather, but the fabric of the seats, the overall design and the space on board are nothing to disappoint. I particularly liked the semblance of double flats on the steering wheel and the ergonomics on board. Larger than in an Audi Q4 e-tron or a Volkswagen ID5, the Lynk & Co 01 reaches 12.7 inches and the navigation display can be projected behind the counters (12.3 inches), as with the brand with the rings.
With the emergence of electric, traditional builders have had to balance their R&D spending with more basic materials and parts choices, a point not seen at Lynk & Co. Everything seems well put together despite the predominant use of plastic. The brand is not limited to physical buttons, as with its shortcuts for air conditioning. For once, Volkswagen is behind (even if we appreciate the new design of its interiors for their minimalism in favor of ergonomics).
Of course, there is no semi-autonomous driving mode , but the Lynk & Co comes with all the equipment that the brand – including heated and electric front seats. No options, apart from the choice between two colors and a trailer hitch.
3) A very reasonable space on board
The roominess of the Lynk & Co 01 confronts that of the queens of the category. On the French side, the Peugeot 3008 is beaten in the rear seats. No less than 10 centimeters longer in length are available on the hybrid SUV. No choice of colors possible apart from the standard black and blue, but for the price of the model (by subscription or purchase), it comes with a glazed roof which benefits both the front seats and the rear seats. Behind the electric tailgate, there is a 466 liter boot (452 l on the Volvo XC40) with practical access and a surface that can be easily cleaned and not damaged.
4) A car for the infidels…
Five years ago, Lynk & Co 01 shocked the mainstream automotive press for its subscription model. It was still too early. Today, in a world where mobility is so strong that any hardware attachment (including a car) can prove to be a burden to move easily and quickly, the Lynk & Co 01 arrives with an offer that finds a real clientele.
At 550 euros per month today, it does not necessarily differ from long-term rental offers… but has the undeniable advantage of being non-binding. The customer can therefore leave his car aside from one month to the next without having to terminate any contract, pay a surplus, or have to resell his car. If he wishes to continue the subscription, after 12 months, the advantage of Lynk & Co is that the car will be replaced by a more recent one (logically new).
A “win-win contract” thinks Alain Visser, as the second-hand resale of the brand's fleet contributes greatly to its profitability, while the residual value of the car is still high. “We count profitability over the entire product cycle. In the long term, we consider that our profitability is at least as great as that of a traditional manufacturer”, explained the boss to me during our discussion in Milan.
5) … and for swingers
Second benefit with the Lynk & Co 01, its sharing system. The brand's car-sharing concept finds its full meaning here. Customers will be able to make their model available to other members, in exchange for a financial consideration. The duration can vary, from one hour. It will also be up to them to set the rental price. From 10 to 20 euros per hour depending on the period and geographical area.
The Lynk & Co 01 is a way to amortize the monthly cost of the subscription and allow other members to benefit from the use of the car to limit their number on the road. How does it work? It's very simple, everything goes through the touch screen on board or via the application. A “sharing” is available in the features of either screen and within seconds the Lynk & Co 01 is ready to wait for its new driver, who will use your car. For reservations, the dematerialized car key will be transferred directly to the member's profile. You will therefore not have to wait on site.
5 disadvantages with the Lynk & Co 01
1) Some flaws on board
Now let's talk about the disadvantages of the Lynk & Co 01 and let's start by going back to the car test. After my day at the wheel, including a round trip to Milan-Bergamo airport located 60 kilometers from the city center, I was able to test the rear seats. First observation: the design of the seats provides particular comfort for the shoulder blades. The padding is too firm for my taste. On this same rear deck, comfort is less noticeable while the roughness of the road is much less smoothed out. You feel the faults of the road much more. Same thing with soundproofing. This benefits the rear seats less.
Back at the wheel of the Lynk & Co 01, I note that the integration of regenerative braking is not as discreet as on a brand like Audi or Volkswagen. The junction between regenerative braking and effective braking via the discs is not very smooth. To follow the navigation, there too, the cartography and the interface specific to Lynk & Co are not very sleek or practical. Small design flaws reminiscent of the price of the model and its advanced age now. Its first copies were released 7 years ago.
2) The mileage is limited, beware of non-package
With Lynk & Co 01, you will have to be careful and not drive too much. Per month, the offer offers a maximum of 1,250 kilometres. Beyond this limit, you will be out of the package, as with a telephone operator. The bill goes up quickly as it takes into account each additional kilometer. Its price is 0.15 euros per additional kilometer. In the end, per year, Lynk & Co will not be able to drive more than 15,000 kilometres. Fortunately, if you plan to go on vacation for a month, you can take credit for the few kilometers you have covered the previous month.
On the other hand, the use of the car implies not leaving the European Union. The only non-EU countries open to Lynk & Co are the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. This might seem trivial, but it is a point to consider… especially if those responsible for Lynk & Co decide to change this policy in the future.
3) No purchase option possible
We said it above, about Lynk & Co. Unlike traditional builders, who offer rentals with option to buy, it will never be possible for Lynk & Co 01 to recover full ownership of the car at the end of the contract.
It is of course possible to buy a model on the second-hand market, while the brand sells all its hybrid SUVs after 12 months, but the monthly payments they will have paid for a year will have no effect on the price of the model. It will therefore be necessary to pay more than 37,000 euros to acquire the model – according to our research, many used copies with one year and 15,000 kilometers cost more than 37,000 euros. Nothing very economically interesting therefore.
4) A price that can change
If we compare Lynk & Like that of a telephone operator, perhaps we should remember that never, with a no-commitment package, the customer will never be safe from a price increase. The premiere took place this summer. The Lynk & Co 01 went from 500 to 550 euros per month. “We communicated proactively, there were no surprises. Customers who had subscribed to the subscription at 500 euros per month received a letter informing them that the price would increase to 550 euros three months later, i.e. on September 1,”, said a spokeswoman for the company.
Blame it on the costs, which are twice as high today with inflation, Alain Visser was trying to explain to me. Lynk & Co must in particular transport its cars from China to Europe by boat, whereas unlike Volvo, its cars are not produced on the Old Continent. Today, we are not immune to the brand choosing to increase its prices again. The other side of the coin of a non-binding offer.
5) A (still) limited offer
The Lynk & Co 01 comes with access to spaces, called “clubs” by the brand, located in the city centers of several European capitals. If I went to Milan to try the hybrid SUV, it was above all for the inauguration of one of them, in the Italian economic capital. An additional advantage in the subscription offer, while these spaces allow you to find a corner to work if necessary, have a drink or participate in events organized each week.
Enough to make you want to subscribe to Lynk & Co? No. The new space in Milan, despite the glitter, will only appeal to those interested in a space to work for free, but the most discreet will not find anything very profitable in these spaces that they will perhaps not rub shoulders with. ever be. In France, the first space is not expected before next year. For the time being, the urgency is still to deploy a wider range of products. A single plug-in hybrid model, especially an SUV, may not be the most complete on the market. Many will turn to the competition for a wider choice of products, engines or finishes offered.
All this is only transitory and we will come back to our opinion of the Lynk & Co 01 in a year, when things may have already changed a lot. If the brand reaches its profitability targets in two years, it will certainly turn to a wider range of products, including devices for smoother mobility, such as scooters or electric scooters.
We we are still waiting to find out when the Lynk & Co 01 100 % electric, and whether it will be based on Volvo architecture or not. When asked if Lynk & Co could collaborate with other manufacturers in the future, his boss Alain Visser replied: “Absolutely”. It will then be necessary for the brand to establish partnerships with manufacturers, but also repair networks. Currently, the Lynk & Co 01 has access to authorized Volvo dealers and repairers, who have agreed to take part in the programme.
Lynk & Co 01
550 € per month
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- A no-commitment subscription
- Car renewed every 12 months< /li>
- Access to Lynk & Co
- Sublease service
We like less
- No option ;purchase
- Limited mileage
- Not 100% electric
- Rear seat comfort
- Prices likely to increase< /li>