The 2022 Lynk & Co 01 Is a Car for People Who Don't Care About Cars

That's an unappealing sales pitch to car enthusiasts, but it just might be perfect for those of us who aren't afflicted by the car-lover's disease.

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Image for article titled The 2022 Lynk & Co 01 Is a Car for People Who Don't Care About Cars
Photo: Brett Berk

The Lynk & Co 01 is difficult to describe. Not because it’s uncategorizable. It’s a compact crossover, and if you close your eyes and sketch a contemporary crossover, you’ll end up with something very much like the Lynk & Co 01: a slightly bulbous body, four doors, a hatch, black plastic wheel arches over 20-inch wheels that somehow look undersized. A smattering of “cute” design flourishes, like those reptilian receding headlamps perched atop the front fenders, a narrow baleen grille, clear taillight lenses, and — on the one I drove — a drunkenly flattened rainbow of blue trim along the roof rails and around two of the wheels’ five fan-blade spokes. The Lynk & Co 01 is not unpleasant looking. It’s simply anodyne to the point of innocuousness. You wouldn’t lose it in a parking lot, but you might simply forget about it entirely, and take an Uber home.

This is, in many ways, the point of the Lynk & Co 01: an eminently usable and practical vehicle for people who don’t give a shit about cars.

Image for article titled The 2022 Lynk & Co 01 Is a Car for People Who Don't Care About Cars
Photo: Brett Berk
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This was clear to me even before I spent a week with one. I drove it through cities, valleys, and an interconnected archipelago of islands, from the western coast of Sweden — where the company is headquartered — to the Hvaler national park in Norway. When I met with the CEO of Lynk & Co, Alain Visser, before he handed me the key fob, he told me the company’s products are aimed at the approximately 15 to 20 percent of European motorists who are not at all interested in superfluities like performance, horsepower, and handling. They just want a vehicle that can comfortably and safely get them from place to place.

As I like to say of many things (including my own preeminence in the world of automotive journalism), “If you set the bar low enough, you’ll always succeed.” The Lynk & Co 01 achieves this elemental mission, in no small part thanks to good bones — specifically, Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture, shared with the Volvo XC40, C40, and Polestar 2. The Lynk & Co variant utilizes an efficient 177-hp 1.5-liter gas engine paired with an 80-hp electric motor from the PHEV version of the XC40 sold in Europe and China.

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Image for article titled The 2022 Lynk & Co 01 Is a Car for People Who Don't Care About Cars
Photo: Brett Berk

This setup allowed me, my three companions, and all our physical and emotional baggage, to travel round-trip from Gothenburg, Sweden to Skjærhalden, Norway, about 325 miles, on a single tank of gas.

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It also gave me the opportunity to try out the charging infrastructure in Norway, the country with the world’s highest percentage of new plug-in electric vehicle sales (it recently topped 90 percent of all new-car sales). Partly as penance for being among the world’s largest producers and exporters of oil and natural gas, the Scandinavian country heavily incentivizes EV sales and support, so even in a tiny fishing village hours from any population center, I found a row of 16 EV chargers behind the town hall. And after some frustrating failures with my ChargePoint RFID card, some adventures with Google Translate, the assistance of a taciturn local, and some winging it while filling in a sign-up page in Norwegian on my phone, I managed to get the 01 charging. I’m truly a citizen of the world.

Image for article titled The 2022 Lynk & Co 01 Is a Car for People Who Don't Care About Cars
Photo: Brett Berk
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Aside from making a decent, comfortable, safe vehicle, Lynk & Co’s big idea is that users won’t really buy the 01 — they’ll subscribe to it for an all-inclusive fee of 550 Euro per month (covering the car payment, insurance, and maintenance), without any long-term commitment. If a customer keeps the car for a year, the company swaps it for a brand-new one. If a subscriber opts out after one month, they just turn the car in, and that’s it.

At any time during the month-by-month lease, the subscriber can rent out the car to borrowers via the Lynk & Co app, setting their own hourly, daily, weekly or monthly fee. Kind of like an AirBnB for cars, if every AirBnB was an interior courtyard room at the Radisson.

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Image for article titled The 2022 Lynk & Co 01 Is a Car for People Who Don't Care About Cars
Photo: Brett Berk

Though the 01 I borrowed spent a few days stashed in a parking lot while my group adventured to a remote Norwegian island reachable only by ferry boat, I did not experiment with renting out the car, though it was tempting and simple. You just hit a button that says “Share My Car” on the infotainment screen — a nice landscape layout with integrated CarPlay, unlike the vertical, CarPlay-less iterations in Volvo and Polestar models — and prepare to field inquiries from other people who don’t care about cars.

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Based on Share My Car’s map view, there are lots of people like that in Norway. Lynk & Co believes this cohort is growing worldwide. My guess is, the company’s not wrong.