Cars > Driven

Lynk & Co 01 PHEV: Stylish, comfortable, and lots of range

Range anxiety isn’t a thing here

Cosmopolitan styling and smooth PHEV tech could win over buyers to this upstart brand. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

What a time to be in the market for an electrified vehicle. The Philippines has seen an accelerated introduction of new hybrids and EVs, so much so that it’s getting harder to remember which brand is offering what.

Last April, a new player entered the market: Lynk & Co. Founded in 2016 as a Chinese-Swedish company co-owned by the Geely Auto Group and Volvo (of which Geely owns the majority), Lynk & Co is positioned as a “near premium” brand, incorporating Swedish design and engineering technology from Volvo, while being manufactured in China.

The five-door crossover offers plenty of room without looking like a dork. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

The cosmopolitan-sounding name takes a page from lifestyle brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Pull & Bear, in a bid to sound more appealing to youthful markets that are accustomed to such marketing tactics.

And it works, I think, forcing me to calibrate my expectations less on the technical aspects of driving and more on the overall experience.

The engine bay is packed with insulation so you barely hear the thrumming of the three-cylinder. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

The 01 (pronounced “Zero One”) offered here is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The regular, ICE-powered 01 sold in Europe is not available.

Like Toyota’s parallel-hybrid technology, the 01’s 1.5-liter ICE is paired with an electric motor. But being a PHEV, the 01’s electric motor is powerful enough, and the battery is big enough to propel the car sans combustion for a considerable distance.

The range indicator on the left is for your gas. The right one is for your battery range. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

The 60kW (80hp) motor and the 17.6kWh battery have enough juice to let you reach as far as 88km on the highway (or around 69km in the city).

In practice, with the A/C on full blast and with two other passengers, I got around 50-55km in Pure (EV) mode before the battery drained and the system switched over to the gasoline engine. It gets some of that energy back through coasting and regenerative braking, but not nearly enough to let you run in EV mode indefinitely.

The right side of the instrument panel shows the hybrid system in action. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Even in Hybrid mode, the system seems biased to run the electric motor more than the ICE, perhaps in a bid to really generate impressive fuel economy. And it does: 25-30km/L was what I was seeing over several days of city driving.

In theory, Lynk & Co says that the car can run up to 800km on a full charge and a full tank, but I didn’t have the time or the energy to find out for myself.

Easy access to a fast-charging station will be a consideration. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Charging the car is straightforward. A panel on the left front fender opens to reveal the Type 2 charging port, then you stick the charger in and connect to a fast-charging station or a wall outlet.

The former is straightforward and relatively quick, going from zero to 100% in under three hours. With zero range left, you’ll need five hours to fully recharge from a 230V outlet.

Charging your car while you're malling may soon be the norm for many people. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

A word of warning: Make sure it’s a heavy-duty outlet. When I tried to plug it into our garage, the combination of blazing summer heat, the heat generated by the charger, and the standard wall outlet made for a very hot experience.

I had to unplug after just one hour for fear of melting the outlet. You’ll also need a round-prong (Type C) outlet. If your outlet uses the usual flat prong (Type A) and you stick an off-the-shelf adapter, you’ll melt it like I did.

Have an electrician beef up your designated car charger wall outlet if you decide to get a PHEV. And don’t even think about using an extension cord.

Like a Volvo, the sedate cockpit is a calming influence even in the midst of chaotic traffic. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Charging considerations aside, the 01 would make for an ideal daily driver. If your round trip falls well within the range of the battery, you could go all week without ever tapping into the ICE—just charging the car at the end of the day like any other electronic gadget.

And if you ever run out of battery charge, you still have your gasoline engine to rely on.

When it’s time to go full power, the system delivers plenty of it. With 180hp from the 1.5-liter three-cylinder, total system output is 261hp and 425Nm of torque. It’s paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and while it lacks paddle shifters or a manual mode, the drivetrain is smooth and responsive for the most part.

Anyway, having that much torque means the system can plop into a tall gear all the time, and you’d never lack for overtaking grunt or just holding a steady clip on the highway. It weighs 2,350kg—as much as a pickup truck, if not more—but the abundance of power masks all that mass.

The 20-inch tires fill up the wheel wells nicely.
Motorists who've never heard of the brand will need to get used to this sight. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

The car runs on 20-inch, 45-series Continental tires, and it has independent suspension with a multilink setup at the back, but it’s too softly sprung to encourage extended bouts of sporty driving.

The steering is acceptably precise and responsive, along with strong brakes (more so in Regenerative Braking mode), but poor rebound control sends the car bouncing much more than it needs to on anything less than smooth asphalt. Here, it feels less Volvo and more like a Geely Okavango—soft and cushy, not especially sporty.

Clean design and physical dials for essential functions are a plus.
Except for a clock that refused to be set properly, the big touchscreen is easy to view and use even under harsh daylight. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

With its virginal white paint, raised headlamps, black roof, and blue accents, the 01 certainly looks upscale. The interior with the low dashboard, shades of black and gray, and Econyl recycled material upholstery looks mildly futuristic and intuitive.

Dedicated dials for the climate and media controls are welcome touches, while the touchscreen is mercifully straightforward with its menus for various settings. It’s Apple CarPlay- and Android Auto-compatible, but the clock somehow wouldn’t sync properly and there’s no way to manually set it. Oops.

Econyl upholstery made from recycled plastics is a refreshing change from the usual leather. Much cooler in the summer, too. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

As crossovers go, the high roof does wonders for both headroom and cargo volume. Six-footers won’t feel cramped even with the moonroof eating up some space. Tall fellas won’t complain about back-seat space either.

Cargo volume is 466L with the second-row seat backs up, and 1,213L when folded. You can stuff a lot of Abercrombie & Fitch and Pull & Bear shopping bags back there. A power tailgate is standard, too.

A full ADAS suite is also standard, including lane-keeping, emergency braking, adaptive cruise, and blind-spot warning.

Fold the seats down and it turns into a rather large box with a flat load floor and a high roof. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

You could really slash your daily driving costs by just running it in pure EV mode all week, while still having a car that isn’t limited by just having a battery for longer road trips.

And let’s be honest. Saying you drive a Lynk & Co sounds more impressive than any of the industrial-sounding Chinese brands out there.

Would you choose this over a hybrid Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4? PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIo

In Europe, Lynk & Co offers novel ways of “owning” one, either through subscription or direct selling. Here, it’s still the standard cash, financing, or lease system.

An SRP of P2,338,000 puts it in the ballpark of more established players like the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. No one who has his or her heart set on buying tried-and-proven Japanese will pass up on either, but buyers who are willing to try a new brand with European and Chinese DNA will find a lot to like in the 01.


Engine1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline with electric motor
Transmission7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power180hp @ 5,500rpm (engine); 80hp (electric motor); 261hp (total)
Torque265Nm @ 1,500-4,000rpm (engine); 160Nm (electric motor); 425Nm (total)
Dimensions4,541mm x 2,141mm x 1,694mm
Drive layoutFWD
UpsideSmooth, seamless hybrid operation. Useful EV range. Classy styling with very good fit and finish.
DownsideOverly soft suspension isn’t up to maximizing the potential of the powertrain.

Andy Leuterio

Andy is both an avid cyclist and a car enthusiast who has finally made the shift to motorcycles. You've probably seen him on his bicycle or motorbike overtaking your crawling car. He is our motorcycle editor and the author of the ‘Quickshift’ column.