Get ready, it’s probably heading to the U.S. before you know it

There’s certainly no shortage of compact crossovers out there, but now it’s looking like the game might see a pretty big change in the future. That’s because Lynk & Co is gearing up to offer the 02 stateside, bringing a mix of new ownership models, new styling, and affordable technology to the already saturated compact crossover market.

The 02 made its debut in the spring of 2018, with a full reveal in Holland on March 26th, and it’s already available in China. Up next, the 02 will head to Europe, with a U.S. debut planned for sometime around 2021. The 02 is essentially a smaller, sportier version of the Lynk & Co 01, and like its bigger sibling, the 02 comes with a raft of features bearing both European and Chinese influences. The question is - how will it fit in on these shores?

What Is Lynk & Co?

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Interior
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Lynk & Co is a rather fresh face in the industry, first making the scene in 2016.

Owned by the Chinese multinational carmaker Geely, Lynk & Co is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, and its various products are also designed and engineered in Sweden. Production, however, is primarily conducted in China.

As such, many critics have drawn comparisons to Volvo, which is another Swedish car brand owned by the China-based Geely. Further similarities can be found in the car architectures shared between both Volvo and Lynk & Co, as we’ll explore in the Powertrain And Performance section later in the review.

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Exterior Styling

  • Unique exterior looks great
  • Wide, horizontal styling front to back
  • Two-tier front fascia
  • Fog lights in lower bumper
  • Black cladding along the lower edges
  • Side bump protection
  • Floating coupe-like roof in the profile
  • Plus-sized alloy wheels
  • LED taillights
  • Polished exhaust tips

In terms of broad brush strokes, the Lynk & Co 02 bears a traditional compact crossover body design, with a tall-riding, wide stance, plus a rounded hatchback profile.

That said, there are several characteristics that help this thing stand out against the sea of competitors already out there.

The aesthetic is something Lynk & Co 02 dubs the “Skyline of Metropolis” theme, and it’s a look that’s shared with the Lynk & Co 01. Up front, we find loads of wide horizontal lines, with a two-tier fascia set with horizontal slats for the primary intake grilles. The corners get the primary forward illumination elements, as well as some rounded fog lights in the lower corners. Up top is a set of slim headlight housings, which draw the lighting elements rearwards along the upper portions of the fenders, leading the eye rearwards in the process.

The look is certainly unique, but reminds us of a combination of Kia’s Tiger Nose fascia and the upright muscularity of the Lamborghini Urus. So far, so good.

Moving over to the sides, the Lynk & Co 02 gets the usual black cladding along the lower edges of the vehicle, ringing the top of the flared-out fenders and the lower side skirts as well. The cladding even extends out into the leading edges of the rear doors, and thus offers side bump protection to help decrease the acquisition of dings in a tightly packed parking lot.

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Exterior
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The paint is an attractive two-tone look, with the upper sections finished in black along the A-pillar and B-pillar.

The C-pillar is wide, and as it rises, the body paint terminates in a fin-like element before the blacktop. This gives the entire crossover a sort of “coupe-like” profile effect, with an emphasis on the lower body lines and character creases, while the “floating” roof falls into the rear hatch at a jaunty angle. Final touches include black side-view mirror caps and silver roof rails, as well as technical-looking designs for the large alloy wheels.

Then we have the rear, which once again employs a number of horizontal styling elements to visually enhance the crossover’s natural width. The taillights stretch from fender to fender in a single elongated strip, with a black outer housing and red inner graphics. The taillights use an L-shaped design, as well as LED’s for the lighting element. The Lynk & Co logo is found embossed in between. Up above is a rounded trailing-edge roof spoiler and top-mounted brake light.

Below the hatch, we find a silver trim bit sandwiched by a flat-back diffuser element. In the corners, the rear bumper is outfitted with a pair of rounded exhaust pipes with polished tips.

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Exterior Dimensions

Overall Length 4,448 mm (175.1 inches)
Overall Width 1,890 mm (74.4 inches)
Overall Height 1,528 mm (60.2 inches)

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Interior Design

  • Seats five passengers maximum
  • Cool honeycomb dash design
  • More horizontal design elements
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Digital gauge cluster
  • High-end tech like adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic parking feature
2018 Lynk & Co 02 Interior
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Inside the cabin, we find the Lynk & Co 02 once again offers the traditional compact crossover features, but with a unique design.

For example, the cabin seats a maximum of five passengers, but the dash and door panels get a cool-looking honeycomb fascia, plus a high-end layout and aesthetic.

Overall, we definitely see Volvo’s influence in the cabin. While models like the XC40 use upright vents along dash, the vents in the Lynk & Co 02 appear to be horizontal. Additional horizontal elements are everywhere, such as along the glovebox and in the center console control scheme. Placed side-by-side with the larger Lynk & Co 01, it’s clear the designers pulled pretty much the entirety of the aesthetic directly from the preceding model.

Of course, the Lynk & Co 02 still has loads to offer in terms of features. Up top is a large panoramic sunroof, which comes as an available option. Passengers will also enjoy the sporty, supportive seats, while multiple color options are offered for the dash. A splash of chrome adds some shine to the trim bits.

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Interior
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Front and center in the dash is a large infotainment screen, which is oriented towards the driver.

Just below this is a string of hard buttons and knobs, while the gear selector is a single toggle stick in the central tunnel. A large rollback cubby hole is placed just behind the gear selector.

Drivers will enjoy the large digital gauge cluster, while all passengers are entertained thanks to an Infinity stereo system.

As you might expect, the Lynk & Co 02 comes equipped with a nice variety of high-tech systems, both for safety and for convenience. This includes standouts like adaptive cruise control, but additional active safety systems are available on the higher trim levels.

Complementary tech includes an available rearview panoramic camera, as well as headlights that turn with the steering wheel for enhanced illumination around corners. An automatic parking feature and remote starter option round it out. Also look for the usual networked connectivity features.

On the passive safety front, the Lynk & Co 02 comes with five airbags to protect you in a collision.

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Powertrain And Performance

  • Front-engine, FWD as standard
  • AWD optional
  • Shares a platform with the Volvo XC40
  • Range of three-cylinders and four-cylinders
  • Both hybrid and non-hybrid options
  • Six-speed manual, six-speed automatic, and seven-speed automatic transmissions
2018 Lynk & Co 02 Exterior
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Take a peek under the sheet metal, and you’ll find the Lynk & Co 02 is built on the Geely CMA Platform, a structure also shared with the Volvo XC40.

As such, many other components of the car are somewhat related to the Volvo XC40. That includes the engine options, with some overlap seen between the Lynk & Co 02 and the Volvo.

Buyers looking to grab the 02 will have a range of turbocharged gasoline options at their disposal, including three 1.5-liter three-cylinders and a range-topping 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 190 horsepower. Both hybrids and non-hybrids are on the table, with a front-engine, FWD drivetrain option arriving as standard. You could also get AWD as an available option, if desired.

The line starts with a turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder making 156 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. This powerplant connects to the front wheels by way of a six-speed manual transmission.

Up next is a hybrid turbo 1.5-liter, which produces 156 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque and connects to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch.

The mid-range model also a hybrid, with a turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder mated to an electric motor to make a total 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Go for this one, and you’ll get a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic to handle the transmission duties.

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Exterior
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Finally, the range-topper is a hybrid 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 190 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque.

The 2.0-liter’s transmission options include either a six-speed automatic or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

As a side note, the 02’s hybrid system incorporates a nickel-cobalt-manganese ternary lithium-ion battery pack. What’s more, it’s believed that when Lynk & Co finally makes the jump to the U.S., it’ll bring a fully electric powertrain option to complement its line of hybrids. Also, the six-speed automatic transmission and six-speed manual transmission will both likely get phased out, leaving just the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as the only remaining cog-swapper on offer.

For now, the Lynk & Co 02 tips the scales between 1,645 kg (3,627 pounds) and 1,426 kg (3,144 pounds), depending on trim level and equipment.

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Pricing

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Interior
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As of this writing (10/23/2018), the Lynk & Co 02 is already on sale on the Chinese market. Pricing starts at 142,000 yuan, which is $20,466 at current exchange rates. Meanwhile, the top trim goes for 198,000 yuan, which is $28,537 at current exchange rates. That places it just below the Lynk & Co 01 in terms of pricing.

Looking ahead, the Lynk & Co 02 will go on sale in Europe in 2020, with a splashdown in the U.S. market around 2021.

It’s uncertain what it’ll cost in the U.S., or in Europe for that matter, but overall we expect it to be pretty competitive in the segment.

The ownership models are pretty interesting as well. In addition to offering outright ownership (as is tradition), Lynk & Co is also developing a new model whereby customers will have access to the vehicle through a subscription service. Similar to a media streaming service, this new model would help drive down costs for the consumer and more accurately pinpoint their transportation needs, possibly with a month-to-month access plan. The subscription will also include maintenance and insurance, making it even more appealing to casual buyers.

In many ways, this service would be similar to the Care by Volvo subscription that Volvo offers with XC40, and if fully implemented in the U.S., it could change the way the rest of the industry structures car ownership.

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Competition

2019 Mazda CX-3

2019 Mazda CX-3
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When it comes to the compact crossover segment, the Mazda CX-3 is one of our favorites. Offering crisp styling, a fun attitude, and all the space you need to get the job done, the CX-3 has a lot to like about it. Both FWD and AWD versions are on offer, with motivation derived from a front-mounted 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 146 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque, all of which is sent to the pavement through a six-speed automatic transmission. Upper trims come equipped with goodies like heated seats, leatherette upholstery, a heads-up display, and navigation. Pricing starts at $20,390.

Read our full review on the 2019 Mazda CX-3.

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA High Resolution Exterior
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If you want the feeling of a high-end premium vehicle, then Mercedes-Benz has you covered with the GLA. Straddling the line between a crossover and a tall-riding hatchback, the GLA brings most of the traditional Merc gloss you’d expect, but in a relatively affordable package. Under the hood, you’ll find a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing as much as 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Output routes through a seven-speed automatic transmission, connecting to either a FWD or AWD drivetrain. Inside, look for a duo of LCD infotainment screens and 8-speaker audio, plus the option for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Pricing starts at $33,950.

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

Final Thoughts

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Exterior
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Generally speaking, there’s a lot we like about the Lynk & Co 02.

We like how it’s styled, with a unique take on the segment that definitely stands apart from the more well-established competition. We like the interior, which brings a handsome layout and a good bit of technology to boot. The powertrain and performance aren’t blowing us away, but should suffice when it comes to meeting the needs of those who prioritize efficiency over acceleration.

On paper, all is well. However, the success of the Lynk & Co 02 largely depends on how it’s marketed. For example, while it’s arguable that Volvo is now a Chinese company, given its ownership under Geely, most consumers still see it as Swedish, and by proxy, European. And that means buyers associate it with all the good stuff that European cars are traditionally thought of offering.

When you break it down, U.S. consumers are still wary of Chinese cars, regardless of the merit behind that sentiment.

However, that could all change with the Lynk & Co 02, especially if the new subscription ownership model is a hit. Properly implemented, we could definitely see this compact crossover giving the established players here a run for their money.

  • Leave it
    • Ridiculous amount of competition in the segment
    • Will U.S. consumers buy a Chinese car?
    • What will segment look like when it finally arrives?

Further Reading

Fastest Selling Car in History is.... the Lynk & Co 01 Exterior
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Read more about the 2017 Lynk & Co 01.

2018 Lynk & Co 02 Exterior
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Read more about the 2018 Lynk & Co 02.

Discover What The Potentially Awesome Lynk & Co Car Subscription Service Is All About
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Read more about the 2018 Lynk & Co 03.

2019 Lynk & Co 04 Hatchback
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Lynk & Co 04.

2018 Volvo XC40 High Resolution Exterior Interior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Volvo XC40.

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