Lynk & Co 01 Design Analysis

Yesterday Lynk & Co launched their new car, the 01. As predicted it is a CUV.

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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):

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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?

[Sources: side view, front three quarter, rear three quarter]

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

22 thoughts on “Lynk & Co 01 Design Analysis”

    1. Excuse my use of jargon. DLO is a rather abstruse way of saying sideglass: daylight opening. Most likely its an Americanism from Ford or GM. I had a flicker of uncertainty when writing it but didn’t act on it. I should have.

    1. We need a lexicon somewhere on these pages, for acronyms in particular – starting with DLO, but also BOF, DRL, ICE etc.

    1. I’m sure you’ve seen it before – it used to come up regularly in articles and comments on these pages.

  1. What a mishmash. Without looking too hard, I can see the tailgate from the Citroën C4 Cactus, the nose is a mixture of Porsche Macan, Kia Sportage and Nissan Juke with the spoiler from the Chrysler 200/Pacifica. The worst thing about it though is the name; it is just so contrived and merchant banky, something you’d expect from a Blairite think tank of the late 90’s. In Britain at least, who wouldn’t feel slightly embarrassed being asked what kind of car they owned?

  2. Unfortunately, the need to produce car names for a world market always comes up with problems. In my mind the use of the term “link” to define a string of sausages gives rise to the happy Midlands greeting “Now then, you useless link of shit”. But that’s an unfair digression.

    This isn’t of Ssangyong Rodius awfulness, yet manages to be distinctive. The bonnet line reminds me (and probably the designers) a bit of of a Ferrari. Last Sunday, I walked past a string (a link?) of locally parked SUVs and wondered at the ridiculous diversity of choice and the depressing homogeneity of style. It’s a hard niche to design for.

    But I won’t be buying one.

  3. Lynk & Co: purveyors of the finest shirts since 1908. Pall Mall, London.
    Lynk on its own would have been quite alright.
    Designwise, it’s very much a focus-group and product planner’s car hence the high mishiness and corresponding mashiness of the forms. It’s not Aztek bad, not even Cherokee bad. It’s adequate in a sector where low standards apply.

  4. For as long as I can remember, one of the lazy journalistic tropes when things got quiet was getting someone who was vaguely good at retouching (as we used to call Photoshopping) to create a composite woman’s face combining the aspects of whoever was vogueishly viewed as attractive at the time. It still goes on – here is one snatched off the web at random.

    It does, of course, prove a fact. But it’s one that doesn’t need that dogged application of pen and tablet since common sense tells us that aesthetics is a holistic business. But many designers seem to lack that common sense. Oh, that roof line looks good on a Mazda Coupe, let’s paste it onto our SUV.

  5. Wouldn’t one have expected an experienced design director such as Pete Horbury to have been able to dodge the hazard of a pastiche or a confection like this?
    Dacia can be distinguished from Renault without any of its cars looking bad.

  6. I fear I’ve been too soft on Lynk. I’ve just looked at their webs(h)ite.

    A car is not a car, it as an app / platform /hub / etc …. Pure imagination …. We are born digital … We are Lynk … Gabba Gabba ….

    So, they are producing a photofit CUV that connects to your iPhone. Wow. I guess that all those hip folk on the site will be beating a virtual path to the virtual showroom. Does anyone, except the people sitting round the boardroom table, get seduced by this?

  7. The following is an interesting piece, since it’s not written by a motoring journalist.

    Bearing in mind I now have a handle on Lynk’s ambitions, the car itself looks more and more conventional to my eyes. If I think it looks unchallenging, is this really the sort of thing that a hip, young, urban dweller wants? Amazed as I am at times by some young people’s conservatism, I imagine they’d expect more than this. Even I do.

    1. It’s not very likely younger people (up to 39-ish) will be buying many of these. Urbanites like small and/or cheap. If they want a bigger vehicle they can get a useful barge for a month’s pay.

    2. Is it possible that the subtlety is that it’s really aimed at old fellows like me who will buy it just because we think it’s what all the hip, young, swinging, groovy in-crowd are buying?

  8. This new brand doesn’t start off on a good foot. I have a particular aversion to the substitution of ‘y’ for ‘i’, much loved of vanity numberplate plate dyslexics named Byll, Jym, and Kym, and semi-literate small businesspeople. If I had the opportunity to re-invent the English language, I’d start by sorting out redundancy packages for ‘y’ and ‘k’.

    So to the car. The dimensions are probably about right. Auto Express tells us – this is verbatim – that the car has “1654mm (height), 4,530mm (length) and 1,855mm (width), and a wheelbases of 1,730mm”.
    Car and Driver, who entrust such matters to people who have a basic understanding of them, reports the wheelbase as 106.6 inches, which I work out as 2708mm. The current Nissan Cashcow, much of whose success is founded on being “right-sized”, has a 2646mm wheelbase. The Lynk 01 splits the Borgward BX5 and BX7, at 2680mm and 2760mm respectively.

    That the Lynk is wider than the European norm doesn’t surprise me, this is the pattern for cars designed for the Chinese market. I’ll be watching this one with considerable interest. I’m hearing some Qoros tunes, but Geely have had the opportunity to observe what Roewe, MG, Qoros and Borgward have done, and, it is to be hoped, learn by their mistakes and successes.

  9. Well you might ask, but SAIC’s Roewe brand sold 13,750 RX5 SUVs last month. The MG GS SUV, very much its poor relation, managed only 4192 sales. Roewe’s other success is the 350/360, a cheap mid-size taxi-rank bucket (think VAG Rapedo or Peugeot 301) originally engineered by Ssangyong. This sells at the rate of 10-15,000 per month.

    Coincidentally, that’s close to Qoros’s modest 150,000 per year sales ambition. Last month, possibly their best ever, Qoros moved 2516 vehicles. If their parent Chery’s patience doesn’t run out, they might hit 20% of that 2013 target this year.

    Qoros’s self-identification as “a global carmaker headquartered in China”, with an emphasis on ‘connectedness’ and appeal to tech-savvy, affluent young urbanites seems very close to the stall Lynk & Co is setting up.

    Of the two SAIC brands founded on the mortal elements of MG Rover, Roewe is the most successful by a big margin in its domestic market. It was launched with a more Nordic than British identity – a longship on stormy seas – whereas MG maintains a clumsy pretence of Britishness which probably has more value in MG’s rag-bag of export territories than its home market.

    As for Borgward, I may be mildly partisan, but the first three months (July 4079, August 5027, September 5133) have exceeded expectations. The products seen so far look disappointingly derivative, but perhaps that’s what the Chinese market wants, along with a German badge. They’re certainly doing something right – these figures are approaching ten times Qoros’s start-up numbers.

  10. The DTW strapline is no idle boast. When we started this site we were only too aware that the centre of emphasis was moving away from us Europeans. Of course, Richard and I are correct that the hip, urbanites mentioned in Lynk’s puff would have no interest in this lardy CUV but that’s assuming they lived in, say, London or Berlin. But, despite its cod-Bond-Street name, Lynk is more concerned to appeal to hip, media savvy Beijing dwellers. And this might or might not do that. Though it is a bit depressing for the future if this really is what passes for cool in China.

    Borgward, too, has no pretensions that Europe has been waiting 50+ years for the brand to revive. If they did, they’d be focusing on mobility chairs. “Lynk & Co” (the ‘y’ is essential to make web searching easy) and “Borgward” just have something vaguely, but non specifically, European to them, which for the moment is what an Eastern market seems to want.

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