One-Day Drive

First Drive Review: 2020 Lincoln Corsair is a quiet, zippy ride with elegant styling

Lincoln is adding the Corsair compact crossover to its lineup for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company.

"Quiet flight". These calming words are the design and engineering mantra for the all-new 2020 Lincoln Corsair. The Corsair name pays homage to the Latin word "cursus", meaning journey, and was previously used in the 1950s and 60s on the easily-forgotten Edsel Corsair coupe and Ford Corsair sedan.

The Corsair is the smallest SUV in Lincoln's portfolio sitting below the Navigator, Aviator, and Nautilus in the Lincoln lineup. It replaces the MKC and reflects not only the rebranding and retooling of a model, but also the rejuvenation of this luxury marque. The Corsair is targeted at culturally-curious consumers with an active lifestyle seeking a premium sanctuary-on-wheels in the highly competitive, top-selling segment of the market. Key rivals include the BMW X3, Acura RDX, Audi Q5, and Lexus NX.

2020 Lincoln Corsair rear side The Corsair is built on the same platform as the 2020 Ford Escape.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Corsair shares its bones with the new Ford Escape, differentiated by styling, materials, chassis tuning and wheels. Its designers were inspired by images and the aura of glider aircraft and ballet, along with visual references to grace in motion. The Corsair bears some family resemblance to its siblings.

Exterior styling is accented by a blinged-but-tasteful chrome grille that punctuates the front, a fast-falling roofline that smooths the top, and sculpted S-curves that add dimension to the body. Jeweled LED headlamps add glam and use smart technology to monitor and react to the road for better lighting functionality. It comes standard with 18-inch wheels, with 19-and 20-inchers available.

Two turbocharged four-cylinder engine options include the standard 2.0-liter that produces 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque and a 2.3-liter with 295 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Each is mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. "Quiet flight" attributes are imbued in exterior and interior details, under the hood, and with sound-dampening technologies that let drivers "feel the power rather than hear the engine".

Both engines have adequate power to move the Corsair through city traffic and on the highway. The 2.0 is perfect for urban dwellers and quiet-mannered drivers who will benefit from slightly higher fuel economy. The 2.3 will appeal to buyers who take longer jaunts and like a bit more spirit when they push the pedal or if they plan to tow.

2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve wheels The Corsair is available in three trim levels: Standard, Standard AWD, and Reserve.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

A plug-in hybrid version of the Corsair will be available in the spring.

Corsair comes in Standard, Standard AWD, and Reserve trim levels. The Corsair Reserve also has standard all-wheel drive, despite it not being in the trim level name. Lincoln's AWD system seamlessly transitions traction from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive depending on road conditions, vehicle speed, and weather. Driving response can be customized with Normal, Excite, Slippery, Deep Conditions, and Conserve modes. It can tow up to 3,000 lbs.

The compact crossover's exterior and interior styling, as well as up-level features and innovative technology, will appeal to independent and sophisticated buyers looking to seat up to five riders for short jaunts, carry up to four sets of golf clubs, and save time with personalized concierge services. Take note: not all materials are of lux-level quality and rear elbow room makes it a better choice for young couples and empty-nesters that need to ferry only one or two passengers in back.

2020 Lincoln Corsair interior wheel infotainment Reserve The interior of the Corsair is luxe in its highest grade models.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

The Corsair has more interior space and flexibility than the MKC and has similar seating functionality to the Escape including sliding second-row seats with up to six inches of travel that are available with a 60/40 fold-flat or split-bench option.

The rear cargo area can accommodate four large suitcases and has under-floor storage, a package tray and an available hands-free liftgate.

Its collection of standard and available features includes a head-up display, a 12.3-inch driver display, an 8-inch infotainment touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 14-speaker Revel premium audio system, Wi-Fi, two USB ports, wireless charging, and a heated steering wheel. New Phone As A Key allows owners to lock, unlock, and program features from a smart phone; the Corsair App brings up to 80 features that can be dialed in.

2020 Lincoln Corsair Phone As A Key Owners can use their smartphone to lock, unlock, and program their Corsair.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Each Corsair comes standard with the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 suite of driver assistance and safety technology. It includes blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert, lane keeping, pre-collision assist with emergency braking, auto hold, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go. The compact crossover is available with Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus, which adds a 360-degree camera, active park assist, evasive steering assist, reverse brake assist, and adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist and stop-and-go, lane centering, and speed sign recognition.

Corsair goes on sale this fall starting at $36,940 and topping out near $46,000. Base prices are competitive, while packages stretch into higher luxe-level territory

The Mercedes-Benz EQC was originally slated to make its way to the U.S. early this year.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Manager Magazin is reporting that Mercedes-Benz is cutting production plans for its EQC electric SUV by half. The German magazine cites a shortage of battery cells from LG Chem. The South Korean battery maker is in the midst of acquiring a Quebec lithium mine from Nemaska Lithium Inc. That timeline is taking longer than expected.

Mercedes had originally planned on producing 60,000 EQC models in 2020 but is now planning on producing 30,000. The shift comes as Audi is adjusting from stumbling out of the blocks with an EQC competitor, the Audi e-Tron.

The new Mercedes-Benz EQC has a 80 kWh lithium ion battery. Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

In 2019, Mercedes had planned on selling 25,000 EQC but was only able to get 7,000 sales on the books allegedly because of the same problem.

Daimler is pushing back on the report saying that it will be producing 50,00 EQC models this year, which is still down from the 60,000 originally projected but not as few as the initial report indicated.

The EQC is a two-row luxury SUV. It features all-wheel drive and delivers 402 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque. The model is powered by a 80kWh lithium ion battery with standard DC Fast Charging for a 40-minute charge from 10 to 80 percent at a 110 kW DC charging station.

Mercedes has debuted the launch date of the model in the U.S. until 2021 after originally planning on having it arrive stateside in early 2020.

The EQ family of vehicles will include additional electric models in the coming years.

Infiniti has admitted that it made mistakes when it launched the redesigned QX50 luxury midsize SUV in January 2018. The right packages and options were not in place to give the model the success it deserved. However, in the year since its launch, the landscape has changed.

The Acura RDX has been redesigned as an agile and athletic daily driver, Audi introduced the SQ5 model giving sportiness to the family-friendly Q5 SUV, and the Volvo XC60 has made a strong argument for attention with a redesign. Lincoln has also introduced the Corsair, which is perhaps the QX50's biggest competition.

2020 Infiniti QX50 The models looks haven't changed much since it debuted in 2018.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.

The QX50 is a comfortable cruiser. It's not particularly engaging nor is it altogether peppy but it is capable. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that achieves 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, the SUV does everything it's supposed to without protest.

The SUV rides smoothly and doesn't pass on much road noise to the cabin.

The car steers accurately if a bit numbly but it is easy to drive, especially when equipped with ProPilot Assist, Nissan's suite of drive assistance and safety technology that includes a lane centering functionality when using cruise control. The technology makes long drives less of a chore while also keeping the car centered when the driver exhibits distracting behavior like drinking a sip of coffee or changing the radio station.

Switching from a SUV with ProPilot Assit to one with standard cruise control is a quick reminder of how good the system is. Buyers should opt for models with the technology if they can afford it.

Steering wheel The seats of the Infiniti QX50 are comfortable.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.

Journalists who review the QX50 are likely to call its infotainment system dated. They're used to having the latest, greatest, and most innovative products at their fingertips. However, buyers coming from cars over three years old will likely see the QX50's two-screen infotainment system as a step up from what they currently have in their driveway. The controls of the system are easy to use despite the fact that the navigation screen isn't able to be easily read while driving.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on the model, as are blind spot warning, forward collision warning, and forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Moving up from the $38,000-ish QX50 base model to the mid-grade QX50 Essential $44,000 gets buyers heated seats, a panoramic moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, Around View Monitor, power sunshade, LED fog lamps, and roof rails. It is in this configuration that the QX50 hits the right balance between features, power, capability, luxury features, and price. The QX50 tops out near $60,000.

Dual screen infotainment system Infiniti is one of the few companies that offers a dual-screen infotainment system.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.

If a stranger were to approach on the street and ask if the QX50 is a "good car," it would be easy to answer with, "yes." It's not a vehicle meant for sporty drivers looking for zippy ride around town. It's comfortable, capable, and priced right for the average premium compact SUV buyer coming out of an aging model.