Lincoln Corsair — Solid luxury crossover

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(June 28, 2020) Lincoln begin developing its new luxury image several years ago with an all-new Continental sedan. The Navigator large SUV was the next vehicle to get a total makeover, and now Lincoln has completed a new three-crossover lineup as it re-invents itself into a 21st Century luxury car-company after losing much of its luster during the reign of the crazy "MK" name game. The new crossover lineup consists of the mid-sized Nautilus and full-sized Aviator — and now the compact 2020 Corsair.

Lincoln's goal is to bring prestige back to the brand and all three crossovers are well done — deserving of a luxury designation — but perhaps because we are fans of smaller, but useful vehicles, we like the Corsair best, a very well-done compact SUV competing with the likes of the Lexus NX, Cadillac XT4, BMW X3 and Acura RDX The Corsair's size feels just right for us — the right size for commuting, negotiating mall parking lots, and buzzing around town.

The Corsair shares its compact, transverse-engine platform with the new Ford Escape, though the Lincoln has its own sheetmetal and its own personality. There's none of the Escape's mainstream value-brand ride evident, the interior is luxury quiet at all speeds, and its styling is distinctive and doesn't betray its connection to the Escape.

There's a family resemblance across all Lincoln models that begins with the large chrome grille, brawny shape, and narrow full-width taillamps.  There’s a rugged, but elegant look to the Corsair's stance, a hint of luxury in the sophisticated grille design, and sleekness in its roofline.  The Reserve trim's black roof and mirror caps, attractive 20-inch wheels, and Ceramic Pearl Metallic paint were especially attractive on our test car. 

The Corsair, which replaces the MKC in the Lincoln lineup, comes with a choice of two engines. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The optional engine is a turbocharged 2.3-liter making 295 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The 2.3-liter engine comes with all-wheel drive standard. In our opinion, both engines are excellent choices bringing rewarding acceleration for all eventualities. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Our test car was endowed with the up level 2.3-liter engine, which shares its general architecture with the base Mustang EcoBoost engine, and we found it pleasing, especially in merging and passing although we did note a bit of turbolag at times. It has been tested at 6.0 seconds from 0-to-60 and at 4.3 seconds in that pesky 50-to-70 passing speed. Although we didn't drive it, we think the base 2.0-liter engine is adequate with a posted time just a fraction slower from 0-to-60 than the 2.3-liter.

Gas mileage is average for the segment regardless of engine choice. The 2.0-liter engine is EPA-rated at 22 mpg city, 29 highway and 25 combined in front-wheel drive and 21, 29, 24 with optional all-wheel drive. The 2.3-liter's numbers are 21 city, 28 highway and 24 combined with AWD. Here's the good thing — both engines can live on less-expensive regular gas, although Lincoln recommends premium.

The Corsair comes in five trim packages — Standard, Standard 1, Reserve, Reserve 1 and Reserve 11. To get the most out of the Corsair and without busting the budget we recommend moving up to the Reserve 1 package at $47, 025 including a $995 destination charge that bundles all of the convenience, technology and comfort features that most people expect in a luxury crossover.

There's an upscale ambience inside where stitched dash coverings, aluminum trim, a chrome starter button surround, and a piano key push button gear selector shout out luxury.
Our Reserve test car came with heated/cooled front seats, and a heated steering wheel.  Infotainment is routed through an intuitive touchscreen with redundant controls. We especially liked the chrome volume and tuning knobs.  The optional Revel audio system provides excellent sounds for any type of music — as good as it gets in the luxury ranks.

We found rear-seat room spacious for all sizes of passengers because the seats can slide forward and backward about six inches depending on your needs for cargo or passengers. And speaking of cargo space, there is 27.6 cubic feet available behind the seats. With seats folded cargo space grows to 57.6 cubic feet.

Beyond all this, drivers have a load of technology available.  Devices connect via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but that’s just a start.  The widescreen head-up display keeps eyes directed forward, but when they glance down, they see a flatscreen instrument display.  There's a full complement of safety gear including adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, forward collision warning with auto brake, blind spot assist, and rear cross path detection.  With cruise engaged, the vehicle centers itself in lanes, even around curves.

And here's a rather unique feature — your smartphone can be set up as a key to lock and unlock the doors, start and stop the engine, and roll down the windows. It will also remember your preferences so your seat and mirrors are set the way you want them.

The Corsair starts at $36,940 including destination charge. Advancing through the packages and stand-alone options it’s possible to approach 60 grand. Our Reserve 11 test car came in at $56,968.

2020 Lincoln Corsair


Base price: $36,940; as driven, $56,968
Engine: 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 295 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: 310 pound-feet @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: all-wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 106.7 inches
Length: 180.6 inches
Curb weight: 4,058 pounds
Turning circle: NA
Luggage capacity: 27.6 cubic feet
Cargo capacity" 57.6  cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 16.5 gallons (premium recommended)
EPA rating: 21 city, 28 highway, 24 combined
0-60: 6.0 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Mercedes GLC, BMW X3, Acura TDX

The Good
• Many standard safety features
• Powerful 2.3-liter engine
• Quiet interior

The Bad
• Voice command  button can inadvertently be activated on steering wheel

The Ugly
• Options are pricy