There is no question that the Lincoln Navigator, Aviator and Nautilus are great luxury SUVs, a testament to Lincoln’s rebirth from a nearly-forgotten brand just a few years ago to the luxury trendsetter that they are today. But what about people that don’t need quite so much room?
Enter the 2020 Lincoln Corsair, an all-new, two-row luxury compact crossover that completes the brand’s SUV portfolio. The car replaces the Lincoln MKC, and competes against the likes of the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Lexus NX, Acura RDX, and others in the segment.
We got our first look at the all-new Corsair at the New York Auto Show, and we were suitably impressed, and we predicted that it would be a runaway hit for the brand. And after driving it this week in San Francisco, we’re doubling-down on that prediction.
So what makes the Lincoln Corsair such a standout in this crowded and competitive space? It’s offered with two turbocharged engines that are more powerful than much of the competition, gorgeous exterior styling with elements of the Navigator and Aviator, a whisper-quiet interior like no other, not to mention a wealth of amenities typically found only in larger SUVs.
While most vehicles in this segment deliver “adequate” power, Lincoln really decided to up the ante. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, and it’s quite energetic. But opt for the available 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (which puts out 295 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque), and the Corsair really comes to life, blasting from 0-60 in 6.5 seconds, with a meaty, broad torque band.
Both engines are mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission that’s silky smooth, and all-wheel drive is optional (standard on the 2.3L). What’s more, the all-wheel drive system can seamlessly switches between FWD and AWD in response to road, speed, temperature and other conditions, helping to improve fuel economy in situations where AWD isn’t needed.
The Corsair’s handling was equally impressive, especially when you switch the selectable drive mode to “Excite” (aka Sport mode), which delivers noticeably sharper throttle response, more precise steering, and a slightly firmer suspension. It may not be quite as sporty as some of the German cars, but that didn’t stop us from having plenty of fun as we hustled it through the twisty canyons of Northern California.
What’s interesting in the Corsair is that even with these sporty engines, you don’t hear them while you’re driving, and that’s by design. Lincoln set out to deliver a whisper-quiet ride so you can relax, utilizing a dual-wall dashboard in the engine compartment, active noise control, and an acoustic windshield to help keep cabin noise to a minimum.
But should you want to break up that quiet commute, simply crank up the available 14-speaker Revel premium audio system (it’s not quite as crazy as the 28-speaker system in the Aviator, but still very good) and get lost in the music. As an audiophile, I was really impressed with it, and I’d highly recommend springing for it.
Lincoln packed the Corsair with a slew of technology, but perhaps the most noteworthy is their available Phone As A Key. As the name suggests, this feature lets owners lock and unlock, open the liftgate and most importantly, start and drive their car with their smartphone. In addition, it triggers a personal profile to automatically adjust up to 80 features to an owner’s preference. Not many cars (save Tesla) offer a feature like this.
Another great feature is Lincoln’s Perfect Position seats, which offer 24-way adjustability, not to mention massage capability, and additional lumbar support for both the driver and front passenger. It’s a little overwhelming having this much adjustability (it took me awhile to get my seat just right), but once you do, you’ll never look at a “regular” seat the same way again.
There’s also a wealth of standard and available driver-assist features to help keep you safe. The Corsair comes standard with Lincoln Co-Pilot360, which includes Pre-Collision Assist with automatic emergency braking, Blind Spot Detection, a Lane-Keeping System, rear view camera and auto high-beam lighting. Upgrade to Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus and you get Adaptive Cruise Control, Evasive Steer Assist, Reverse Brake Assist, and Active Park Assist Plus as well.
After spending a day driving the all-new 2020 Lincoln Corsair, I came away really impressed by it. Don’t dismiss it as simply a rebadged Ford Escape, as that’s not the case at all. The Corsair is a true luxury crossover that delivers sophisticated style, craftsmanship, and it serves as a true sanctuary from the rest of the world.
Pricing for the 2020 Corsair starts at $36,940, but our well-optioned tester (Corsair Reserve II with the 2.3L engine and AWD) came in at $56,115. While that might seem a little steep, it all depends on how you option it, and if you really need all of the bells and whistles.
I have a feeling you’re going to see quite a few of these on the roads in the coming months, as it’s truly a great little car. Visit lincoln.com to learn more about the all-new Corsair.