2019 Lynk & Co 04 Hatchback
The Geely-owned automaker is back with yet another promising modelby Kirby, on
Lynk & Co started out as a curious novelty, but since launching the intriguing 01 SUV in 2017, the Geely-owned start-up is now turning more than a few curious heads. In a span of a year, Lynk & Co has gone from launching the 01 to doing succeeding unveilings of the 02 and 03. Now, the brand’s fourth model — a hatchback — takes center stage, thanks in large part to a new batch of spy photos showing the car in proper prototype form, complete with thick black wraps and lots of camouflage. The model is tentatively called the "04," and it has the makings of being a serious challenger in a market dominated by heavyweights like the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, and Chevrolet Cruze.
2019 Lynk & Co 04 Hatchback
The test mule is heavily covered in wraps and camouflage, but even with the small exposed surface, we can tell that the 04’s design didn’t fall too far from the company’s design tree
Based on perceived appearances, the Lynk & Co. 04 will be offered as a hatchback and will compete against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, Hyundai i30, and Ford Focus.
The test mule is heavily covered in wraps and camouflage, but even with the small exposed surface, we can tell that the 04’s design didn’t fall too far from the company’s design tree. Take the front section, for example. The unmistakable layered headlamp design of the 01 is also present in the 04. Take those wraps off, and I’m certain that the upper lamp will also sit atop the front fenders as they do on the 01, while the lower lamp will sit prominently in the fascia of the model.
We don’t get to see too much of the sides of the 04, but the short and hunched shape of the car makes it clear that this is a hatchback we’re dealing with. Move to the back and, once again, the prototype’s lights fixture reminds us of the one found in the 01. Look closer, and the design is similar, too. It starts off horizontally and then cuts a 90-degree turn south at the edges of the tail.
For all we know, Lynk & Co. could still have a few surprises up its sleeve with the 04. We won’t know what those surprises are going to be until the car gets close to production levels, but it’s clear from these spy photos that the company is making serious inroads in reaching its destination.
We’re navigating in the dark when it comes to speculating about the interior of the 04, but the good news is that we can at least draw on the 02 crossover for a little help
We’re navigating in the dark when it comes to speculating about the interior of the 04, but the good news is that we can at least draw on the 02 crossover for a little help on what we can expect in the cabin of the hatchback. Somewhat surprisingly, the 02 has an interior that looks about ready for production. There’s nothing conceptually outlandish about it, other than, perhaps, the massive infotainment touchscreen display sitting right smack in the middle of the center console. But that’s to be expected for a company as forward-thinking as Lynk & Co.
Every other element of the interior, on the other hand, looks primed for production use. The dashboard, instrument cluster, and even the steering wheel are completely gimmick-free. The seats look ready to be sat on. Even the design trim on certain sections are expected on a production model.
That’s not to say that the 04 is going to have an identical cabin as the 02, but as far as pegs and expectations go, we can identify what we’re seeing inside the 02 and say that a big part of its design and treatment will find its way into the 04.
There have been some rumblings that the compact hatchback will carry a diverse lineup of engines, including inline-three and inline-four units
While we still don’t know the exact power figures of the 04, there have been some rumblings that the compact hatchback will carry a diverse lineup of engines, including inline-three and inline-four units. A plug-in hybrid system is also expected, owing to the company’s identity as an electric car maker. The belief here is that engines like a 1.5-liter inline-three will be combined with an electric motor located in the front axle.
An all-electric version is also a possibility.
Based on the spy shots we gathered, it appears that the test mule of the 04 is one of the more powerful versions of the car that’s going to be offered once it goes to market. The two big exhaust pipes in the rear is a good indicator of that. In any case, most 04 units are likely to be offered with front-wheel-capability that receives power from the hybrid powertrain - or electric motor — courtesy of an eight-speed automatic transmission.
It’s hard to tell how much Lynk & Co. is going to price the 04. The automaker put a cost of $24,000 for the base model of the flagship 01 SUV, and that price point extends all the way up to a little over $30,000 for the range-topping version.
It’s unlikely that the 04 is going to cost more than the 01, and with the hatchback’s competitor list expected to include the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford Focus, it’s hard to imagine the 04 costing more than $20,000 for the base version. My best guess is that the entry-level model will fetch around $16,000 and the range-topping version approaching $20,000 to $22,000.
When you’re lining up a list of competitors for the 04 hatchback, the Ford Focus ranks right on top of that list. The Focus benefits from being a new-generation model, and the appeal of something fresh is always a good hook for any model. Fortunately, the 04 isn’t just a new-generation model; it’s a new model. That’s not to say that the Focus is just going to bow down to the 04. The new Focus benefits from a variety of engine options, beginning with a 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine that produces different levels of power, ranging from 84 horsepower, 99 horsepower, or 123 horsepower. The Focus also has a 1.5-liter engine that produces either 148 horsepower or 180 horsepower. Diesel engines are also available in the European market. These engines include a 1.5-liter unit that’s good for 94 horsepower or 118 horsepower and 2.0-liter unit that can produce 148 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The 2019 Ford Focus is still without a price tag. That said, the 2018 model starts at just under $18,000 and goes all the way up to around $25,000.
Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Focus.
The Chevrolet Cruze doesn’t get as much love as the Ford Focus, nor does it get as hyped up as the Lynk & Co 04. Rest assured, though, the Bowtie’s little hatch packs a mean punch of its own. The Cruze is two years removed from being a new-generation model. Still, it looks fresh in the eyes, especially if you choose the right kind of color scheme to help bring it to life. More than its design, the Cruze also benefits from a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. All that power is sent to the front wheels courtesy of a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. Pricing for the Cruze starts at $17,850, but if you want the hatchback version, you’re going to have to come to grips with the reality that it’s going to cost you more — a little over $22,000 — to own a base version of the hatchback.
Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze
Judging by how in-demand the 01 was when Lynk & Co started taking orders — over 6,000 people ordered the SUV in a little over two minutes — it’s hard to imagine the 04 not getting similar interest, especially if the production model ends up being as good as we think it’s going to be. At the very least, there’s a lot of pressure on the part of the company to ensure that the hatchback lives up to the hype. It doesn’t look like Lynk & Co is wavering on that end, so I’m optimistic about what to expect when it launches sometime in the next few years. Who knows, it might even supplant the 01’s status as one of the fastest-selling cars in the world.
Read more about the 2017 Lynk & Co 01.
Read more about the 2018 Lynk & Co 02.