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