The Lynk & Co 01 as Experienced by a Hesitant Car Enthusiast
Cars. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. If that’s how you generally feel about automobiles, then sit down and take a few minutes because I have something that might be of interest to you. Now, I don’t always know who reads my blog, but chances are you’re a bit like me. You appreciate the finer things in life, you like to get around but chances are you probably don’t actually own a car. But you do have a driver’s licence and you sometimes really, really need to borrow or rent a car – although most of the time you’re also just fine getting around by public transport. You’ve considered buying a car at one point or another, but then again…how much are you going to be driving it in a few months time, let alone a few years down the road. The last thing you want is yet another financial commitment. If this ticks all your boxes, then Lynk & Co might just be the car for you. Or strike that, because this is not a car. Ceci n’est pas une voiture, ceci est un car membership. Sounds confusing? Don’t worry, I’m going to tell you all about it. Of course, you also want to know what it’s like to drive a Lynk & Co 01. I borrowed one for the weekend and so without further ado, here’s a review written by a hesitant car enthusiast (that’s me).
Want to read my interview with Lynk & Co CEO and allround nice guy Alain Visser? Sure you do!
Toot, toot, beep, beep! Time to review the Lynk & Co 01!
Why I want a car
Before I start, however, I thought I’d list all the reasons I would want a car in my life. After all, I’m writing this article and that is to see if a Lynk & Co membership is something I’d take out, given all the pros and cons. Reason number one I’d like a car is plain and simple, and that is that public transport sucks. There, I’ve said it. As much as I take trams, buses, metros and trains to get around, I secretly hate them all. Everybody does. You have to walk to get to the nearest station, wait, get on, get off, and then walk again to reach your destination. And don’t even get me started about people who don’t wear a facemask nowadays. Or how you sometimes have to run to catch the last tram home just when the fun is getting started. I could go on and on and I’m sure you could, too. Reason number two I need a car: I have a dog. Like half the country, I got a puppy last year (and paid way too much for it – but that’s another story). And yes, dogs have legs, I’m aware of that. Sure, you can take a dog on public transport, but let me tell you: it’s not very convenient.
Reason number two I really, REALLY want a car
Another reason I’d like a car: I have friends who live – shock, horror! – in the countryside. No way of getting there by public transport, unless I’m willing to wait in some godforsaken place for a bus that only runs once an hour and that I have undoubtedly just missed. Number four: I have a bit of a thing for car design. Although I cannot remember the last time I actually owned a car, I do like to catch up on all the latest designs out there. Concept cars? Even better! As a design aficionado, I definitely appreciate all the effort and creativity that goes into designing a nice-looking vehicle. The same goes for vintage cars, by the way. I’ve been known to fantasize about driving – say – a yellow Rover SD1 just because I think I’d look terribly cool in it. A good car can do that, you know. And then reason number five: I actually enjoy driving. Well, most of the time anyway. I put on my favorite music, roll down the window if the weather is good and just go. I don’t mind driving long distances. In fact, I’d love to go on vacation some time by car – which is something I can’t remember ever doing. Taken altogether, I think I have listed five very compelling reasons why I should want a car, don’t you think?
Why I don’t want a car
Of course, I can think of just as many reasons I wouldn’t want to own a car. Numero uno is this: Cars are evil. Well, at least the ones that use fossil fuels. I’m not sure how environmentally friendly taking everything into consideration electric cars are but for now let’s assume for argument’s sake that taking public transport, riding a bike or simply hoofing it cause less damage to our planet. On top of that, cars are really expensive to own. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have 40,000 euros lying around to go out and buy a new car. And now that I’ve arrived at the age where I have all my financial ducks in a row, taking out a loan to buy a car is definitely not high on my list. Besides, there are still tons of things around the house that I need want to spend my hard earned coinage on. It’s been well over two years since my bedroom got a makeover, and thanks to global warming caused by billions of people (except me) driving a car, I now need air conditioning. And yes, I know that I could also get a second-hand car. But then I probably have to compromise and get something decent and therefore boring that would totally cramp my style. Well, what about leasing then, I hear you say? Sure, in a universe where signing a five-year contract without even knowing what you’ll be doing next year sounds a splendid idea! Reason number three for not wanting a car is something I experienced first hand a few weeks ago and that is that cars break down. I use my ex’s car from time to time and juuuust when I was in an awful rush, I got a flat tire. I had to run like mad to the metro to make it on time to my appointment, and let me tell you it was not a pretty sight (even though I’m in tip top shape for a 52-year old, I hasten to add). On to reason number four and that is traffic jams. They can take forever in the Netherlands and the only thing you can do while you’re stuck in one is to eat the bag of potato chips in your lap. At least, that’s what I always do. Talk about bad habits! And once you make it to your destination (and I’ve arrived at reason number five for not wanting a car now) is that 5a) you have to find a parking space and 5b) chances are you’ll be paying through the nose for the privilege. Oh and let’s not forget about number six: you can’t drink and drive. Well, except if you live on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire that is. My sister-in-law recently spent some time there and she told me that if you had a glass (or two) too many and you still wanted to drive home, all you have to do is turn on your hazard lights and you’re good to go. You don’t have to watch out, the rest of the island does!
Me showing off a car I don’t actually own.
Okay, so is Lynk & Co the solution?
If you’ve read carefully up until now, you may have noticed that I had five reasons to want a car but ended up finding six reasons not to want one. Which means that I’m probably not the easiest person to convince to get a Lynk & Co car. So why am I sitting here at my local coffee shop writing my very first car review? The answer is: ceci n’est pas une voiture. Ceci est un car membership! Sure you can buy the Lynk & Co, but it’s main raison d’être is that you can get it through a membership. So how does that work? Well, you pay a flat fee of five hundred euros a month, insurance, taxes and roadside assistance are included and you can drive up to 1,250 kilometers a month. Want to drive more? Then you pay a very reasonable 15 cents per kilometer extra. And the best thing is: you can cancel your membership any time you want!
Now, I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t drive every day. In fact, the average car owner only drives nine hours per week – which means that it’s just sitting there unused a whopping 159 hours. Every. Week. Surely there must be some way to monetize this, Lynk & Co founder Alain Visser must have thought at some point. Well, there is because through the Lynk & Co app you can share your car with your friends, the people who live in your building or that nice lady who lives down the street. What do you get in return? Well, the opportunity to earn back part of your 500 euro monthly membership! You can even safely share with people you don’t even know. And yes, that in turn also means that if you don’t have a full Lynk & Co membership, chances are there’s someone in your neighborhood who does and is willing to share his or her car with you for the day. Oh, and did I tell you that as a member of Lynk & Co you can attend one of the many events held at the Lynk & Co club? Fun times!
The actual car: design and features
All in all, I guess I’m not exaggerating when I say that Lynk & Co is an innovative concept. But what about the actual car itself? Does it break the mold as well? To find out, I got to drive the Lynk & Co 01 for a few days recently. Now, the ‘01’ may or may not imply that there are more models to come down the road, but for now there’s only one single car to choose from. It does come in two colors, however: blue and black. The Lynk & Co 01 is what the industry calls a ‘mini SUV’. I assume the ‘mini’ is because it makes everyone who drives it feel positively tiny, because let me tell you…this is by no means a small car. I have to say, though, that it looks pretty sleek – especially under the white neon stripes that run over the ceiling in every beautifully designed Lynk & Co club in Europe. The Lynk & Co 01 looks equally sophisticated. In fact, I’ve been told the design is sort of a ‘brother from another mother’ of the Volvo XC40. Why is that? Well, both Volvo and Lynk & Co are part of a company called Geely – it’s one of those huge Chinese ones that you and I don’t really need to care about. I have to admit, however, that I actually like the design of the Lynk & Co better – especially the bright blue accents on the body and the wheels.
Yes, the Lynk & Co 01 is BIG. In fact, I felt kind of guilty at times driving it. Does like nice now, doesn’t it?
When you’re used to driving dingy old cars like me, the Lynk & Co 01’s interior is a sight to behold. More bells and whistles than on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, tons of space and luscious seats made from (gasp!) recycled fish nets. Elegant light blue stitches give the car its very own look – at least, I’d never seen them anywhere before! I don’t know squat about car engines, but it is good to know that the Lynk & Co 01 is a plug-in hybrid, meaning that it features the best of both worlds: you can charge it and drive it like an electric car, but you don’t have to worry about finding a charging station because it can run on petrol if the battery is empty.
Driving it and parking it
If you’re looking for one of those techy in-depth car reviews that are all over the internet, I’m probably going to disappoint you. But if you’re an average, occasional car driver like me, here’s what driving the Lynk & Co 01 is like. Now, I have mentioned it before but in case you missed it: this baby is BIG. In fact, when I first drove it out of the underground car park and into Amsterdam traffic, I felt like an actual ‘grown-up man in a car’ for the first time in my life – and that’s something for a 52-year old. In fact, and I’m not kidding here, driving an SUV across town actually gave me a bit of BDE (not that I need it, of course).
Can you feel the BDE the Lynk & Co 01 gives off?
If you’re used to driving – say – a Peugeot 107, then sitting behind the wheel of a Lynk & Co 01 is a mind-blowing experience. Driving it almost felt like an extravagance, or something that almost wasn’t really meant for little old me. It also took me a while to figure out the seemingly infinite number of buttons on and off screen. If you’re used to laying your phone on the passenger seat and using it as your navigation (guilty as charged), then the YUGE center screen in the Lynk & Co 01 is an absolute God sent. The actual built-in satnav system however…well, it was a bit of a letdown, surprisingly. I already knew from driving as a passenger in friend’s cars that built-in car navigation is never as good as the gold standard that Google Maps and Apple Maps have set, but the Lynk & Co navigation was actually – I hate to say it – a bit sucky. First, there was the almost hilariously thick American English accent of the high-pitched satnav’s voice. But second, and more importantly, the actual directions were sometimes totally off the mark. There was one instance in my hometown of Rotterdam where it wanted me to drive through a ridiculously narrow alleyway instead of just remaining on the street.
The default navigation system in the Lynk & Co 01 left a lot to be desired. It wanted to me to drive my big-ass SUV into an alley and then turn around.
No way José am I driving my Lynk & Co into that alleyway you see on the right!
Don’t worry, though! I found out a few hours later that you can pair your own iPhone or Android phone with the Lynk & Co and then use the navigation software you’re used to. Crisis averted! As an iPhone owner, I switched on Apple CarPlay so that I could not only use Apple Maps as navigation or ask Siri to call whoever I fancied talking to, it also allowed me to play all my Spotify playlists. In fact, I was *this* close to rolling down my window, putting out my elbow and playing I Ain’t Been Licked on top volume. My discovery made me suspect that the Lynk & Co must have even more features I didn’t know about.
That’s more like it!
After all, I’m one of those people who never reads manuals but just figures out how everything works along the way. I decided it would be fun to drive to my younger brother Sander, who is a real car aficionado in our family. Within minutes after my arrival he made me see the light – literally, because it turned out the Lynk & Co 01 has a very fancy schmancy and absolutely humongous glass sunroof that runs almost all the way to the back. Who would have thunk? My brother also showed me how to adjust the car seat to make it fit my behind just perfectly. AND I learned the trunk door can close automatically. If you’re used to driving an upmarket car, I’m sure this all sounds familiar to you. But the only thing I could think of was SWEET! The most amazing thing he demonstrated, however, was the Lynk & Co’s parallel park function. Yes, the future has arrived – and that means you can sit back and relax as your car slowly but surely maneuvers its way into a parking spot on the street. Mind = blown! Sure, you first have to find a spot big enough to fit your mini SUV – but I’m sure that’s a feature that’s going to be in the next Lynk & Co!
The future has arrived with automatic parallel parking!
So, five hundred euros a month, no strings attached and bing, bang, boom you get to drive the flashy SUV you never even thought you could afford. How does that sound? Pretty good, I’d say! That doesn’t mean, however, that I didn’t find any downsides to getting a Lynk & Co membership. For me, a single fifty-something year old city dweller, the Lynk & Co 01 is objectively a bit too big, even though I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed driving it. If you have a family, however, this might very well be just the perfect car for you. Oh, and before I forget…my brother told me to tell you the Lynk & Co is really fuel efficient. Thanks to its hybrid engine, I squeezed an average 28 kilometres out of every liter of petrol I used. I absolutely love the concept of the Lynk & Co membership, the clubs all seem to have that elusive cool factor and last but not least, everyone I talked to at Lynk & Co was one thousand percent behind the innovative concept. And rightfully so! I can’t wait to find out if there’s going to be a smaller Lynk & Co 02 at some point, but for now…I might actually get a Lynk & Co 01 for a while.
PS: Below you’ll find some bonus photos of the Lynk & Co club in Amsterdam, such a cool concept!
You’ll find the Lynk & Co Club slap bang in the center of Amsterdam.
The folks at Lynk & Co definitely appreciate good design. I found this Gaetano Pesce UP5 chair at the Lynk & Co Club…
...and of course I just had to try it!
Not your average car dealership!
Yes, the Lynk & Co club is also a very cool design store.
Is it a padded cell? A meeting room? I guess it’s both!