LA Auto Show 2019

2020 Corsair Grand Touring becomes Lincoln's second PHEV with segment-first electric AWD

The new Corsair Grand Touring SUV features plug-in hybrid electric technology.

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Co.

Lincoln, the luxury arm of Ford Motor Company, has debuted a new high-end model that combines the luxe appointments of a top-tier Corsair with the power of an electrified powertrain.

"Corsair Grand Touring taps into Lincoln's growing momentum and builds on our commitment to electrification," said Joy Falotico, president, The Lincoln Motor Company. "With the addition of Corsair Grand Touring, we now have a family of SUVs that is distinctly Lincoln for every client."

2020 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring PHEV plug-in SUV The Corsair has Lincoln Aviator-like looks from the side.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Co.

The model has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine under its hood that works with a magnet synchronous motor to achieve a combined 266 horsepower. The system includes a continuously variable transmission. Lincoln has paired the powertrain with electric all-wheel drive, a first in its segment. Lincoln estimates that the SUV will have 25 miles of all-electric range.

The model comes with five standard drive modes: Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery, and Deep Conditions. Preserve EV and Pure EV drive modes are added in the Grand Touring PHEV model. Preserve EV recharges the battery and saves its power for another time while continuing to use the gasoline-powered engine. In this mode, the battery can be charged up to 75 percent.

In Pure EV mode, the vehicle runs on all-electric power in most driving conditions. If the SUV exceeds that system's capability, the hybrid engine engages to provide additional power.

2020 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring PHEV plug-in SUV The model features blue highlighted badging.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Co.

Lincoln is touting the vehicle's whisper-quiet cabin, which is says is thanks to sound-dampening materials between the engine compartment and cabin and active noise control technology.

The Grand Touring trim is denoted by blue accented badging and unique 20-inch wheels on the exterior.

The 2020 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring will be built at Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. It will be available next summer. Pricing will be available closer to the vehicle's on-sale date. The 2020 Corsair starts at $35,945 and the mid-grade Corsair Reserve starts around $42,000. The top-tier Grand Touring will likely be priced in the upper $40,000s.

Lincoln has announced plans to develop its first all-electric vehicle.

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Lincoln has announced that it is working with Rivian to develop the company's first all-electric vehicle. The news comes on the heels of Ford's announcement last year that it is partnering with Rivian on development of an electrified F-Series pickup truck as part of its planned equity investment in the company.

The model will be Lincoln's first fully electric vehicle. The company currently offers two of its SUVs - Aviator and Corsair - in plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) variants.

Lincoln Corsair PHEV Lincoln recently announced a Corsair PHEV model.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

"Working with Rivian marks a pivotal point for Lincoln as we move toward a future that includes fully electric vehicles," said Joy Falotico, president, The Lincoln Motor Company. "This vehicle will take Quiet Flight to a new place – zero emissions, effortless performance and connected and intuitive technology. It's going to be stunning."

The Lincoln EV will be built on Rivian's flexible skateboard platform, like the electric F-150.

Lincoln is in the middle of a brand resurgence. The luxury arm of Ford has introduced the three new SUVs - Corsair, Aviator, Navigator - in four years. The company will cease production of the MKZ sedan later this year so the plant can be converted to accommodate new Ford vehicle production.

This isn't the first innovation Lincoln has announced lately. The company with Matthew McConaughey as its spokesperson recently showed off its new potheated winter wiper blades and pothole preview technology.

Ford is investing $11.5 billion into electrification, including the new Mustang Mach-E and a fully electric version.

"Our vehicle development partnership with Ford is an exciting opportunity to pair our technology with Lincoln's vision for innovation and refinement. We are proud to collaborate on Lincoln's first fully electric vehicle," said Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe.

Lincoln has made two pickup trucks but neither reached any level of tremendous commercial success.

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Before luxury pickup trucks became the staple that they are today on America's roadways, there was one company willing to attempt to capitalize on the premium buyer. Unfortunately for that company, they were too early. But they had the right concept. That company is Lincoln.

The Lincoln Blackwood was the company's first attempt at a proper luxury pickup. It was built for the 2002 model year and was based on Ford's F-150 platform. It shared the F-150's 5.4-liter V8 that made 300 horsepower and was only available in rear-wheel drive. It had luxury features like a power tonneau cover and a wood-lined bed.

2006 Lincoln Mark LT The Mark LT was a luxury level take on a traditional pickup but it may have been a little ahead of its time.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

That truck made the way for the company's second attempt; the Lincoln Mark LT. That truck received the updated Triton V8 and was available with four-wheel drive. It was also a more practical truck, having a useful bed and other amenities. It was in production from 2005 until 2008 in the United States (yet carried on until 2014 in Mexico).

Nowadays, the F-150 Limited is nearly a $70,000 USD pickup truck – more than the Mark LT ever was – and people are buying them at a steady pace. It begs the question; is the Mark LT or other Lincoln pickup truck ready to make a return to the United States?

The answer is complicated. Officially, Lincoln is leaving the pickup trucks to Ford. They have their own things to worry about, such as a completely refreshed product line and paying Matthew McConaughey to not say his trademark phrase in commercials.

Unofficially sources have told AutomotiveMap that they aren't sure what a Lincoln pickup truck would even look like. How do you get more luxurious than the F-150 Limited that is already on sale?

That is, indeed, a fair question. The F-150 Limited has premium seats that are both heated and cooled. They have a massage function. The only thing that Lincoln offers above that in their vehicles is something they call "Perfect Position" front seats in the Navigator with dozens of different adjustment options.

The F-150 would benefit from a larger infotainment screen and a more attractive instrument cluster, which Lincoln could offer. But these upgrades are also likely to be attached to a refreshed F-150 that might debut as early as this year for the 2021 model year. That would negate the Lincoln benefit.

Lincoln could offer the truck with a plug-in hybrid, and we know Ford is working on electrification options for the F-150. Combine that with some other unique Lincoln features, like the Revel audio system and Phone as a Key and you might have something that stands out from the best Ford offering.

But would it be enough? The price ceiling on pickup trucks hasn't been reached, which is why manufacturers are able to charge $70,000 for a full-size, half-ton pickup truck. Globally, Mercedes-Benz built a luxury-minded pickup on the Nissan Navara platform but didn't see any sales success. Though the rest of the world does view the pickup truck differently than the United States. What we consider a midsize truck is about as large as they sell globally.

Ultimately, a Lincoln pickup truck revival is unlikely to happen due to differentiation. It's important for Lincoln to set itself from Ford, and like the Mark LT that came before, that is unlikely to happen. Yes, it'd be a different truck, but it wouldn't be different enough. Nor would it be a compelling enough reason for loyal truck buyers to buy a Lincoln instead of a Ford, even if they'd be built on the same assembly line.

There's space in the market for even more expensive trucks, but from Ford they'll likely carry the Ford Blue Oval on them.