Yesterday Lynk & Co launched their new car, the 01. As predicted it is a CUV.
We are beside ourselves with pleasure in being able to offer a design analysis to help you understand just what you are being confronted with.
The 01 has clear front wheel-drive proportions with a long overhang and a short front-axle-to-scuttle distance. The silhouette and graphical elements inside it are almost harmonious if bland. What is intended as a characterful flourish, the vent on the front wing, sets up a jarring vertical line at the door shutline than disrupts the outline of the side-scallop and the overall horizontal thrust of the feature lines on the body side. That vent not only has chrome edging but also a black-plastic area around it, a frame to frame a frame.
As per the 2016 Opel Astra, the designers have elected to let the brightwork on the side-glass burst out of the DLO silhouette and then sweep back to the rear of the D-pillar. It too has a small black plastic counterpart, running parallel. The rear part of the brightwork has an expressive widening section before tapering to a conclusion at its lowest point. Parallelism is one of the car’s hallmarks and the flourish of the brightwork is at odds with the general level of formal restraint. Overall the forms are rounded so the sharp crease on the upper edge of the wing is out of keeping, reminiscent of the 2002 Renault Megane´s front wing.
The side mirror is just huge.
The brightwork on the sill cladding is there to define the car’s base but gets in the way of the black-trim’s job of hiding the unspectacular ride height. It’s not a SUV nor even a CUV but a tall and large hatchback.
I have taken the liberty of messing with the side view in this small slideshow (below):
Turning to the front we find a double-level visage. Ending the sharp ridges of the wings are the indicators, masquerading à la Rolls-Royce as headlamps. They are also like those of the Jeep Cherokee. The headlamps are included in a slightly smiling black oblong that contains the grille.
That’s accentuated by a feature line underneath and a slice of chrome on the top that leads into a chamfer running down the lamps and fading as brackets to the grille and lamps’ enclosing oblong. There is a lot going on at the 01’s front, partly reminiscent of the Pontiak Aztek´s ostrich-in-a-disco confusion.
Two ridges run down the bonnet. They are parallel and so don’t even focus attention on the tiny badge. Notice the small chamfer on the rear of the DLO. Isn’t this becoming something of a cliché? The door handles could do with some bejewelling. I see two different themes in this car: rounded surfaces in conflict with some seemingly random sharp edges; and general design rationalism with some expressive details that belong another vehicle: the bonnet ridges, the chrome on the DLO and the side-vents.
The front looks better than the back. Walking around there we find that the lamps have vertical stripes on their horizontal, inboard part and an almost-triangular outboard graphical element; the panel-split line between the rear wing and bumper leads to a truncation of the rear lamp’s lower apex. Instead of a symbol, the marque’s name is written out in the corporate typeface. The markups (above) show the parallel lines running on the body side, two pairs above and below the scallop leading to the distracting vent rear of the front wheels.
Lynk & Co have had to invent a completely new style for this car, one which must be good enough to lure customers without stealing sales from the Volvos it is sharing the market with. The design also has to be distinctive enough to allow its application to future vehicles. Most customers probably won’t be bothered by the fake headlamps, post-modern brightwork or distracting side vents. My view is that it’s a design that stumbles due to its inconsistency. It lacks any definitive hallmarks that can be used not only on the related cars coming next year but the next generation of Lynk & Co vehicles, six years from now.
The vehicle is the 01 with 02 and 03 to follow. Are those numbers going to represent sizes of car? Will the replacement for the 01 be the 04? Or another 01? Will there ever be a Lynk & Co 10 or 11?