2020 Lincoln Corsair: A Redesign Filled With Hope

Strong points
  • Superb interior layout
  • Comfortable seats
  • Explosive 2.3L turbo engine
Weak points
  • Options will kill your budget
  • Over-sensitive brake pedal
  • Ford Escape-like centre touchscreen
Full report

Despite launching some truly well-designed products in recent years, Lincoln continues to be perceived as a bit old-school by many. The all-new 2020 Corsair aims to fix that.

This is the luxury brand’s entry-level model, slotting below the Nautilus, Aviator and Navigator as a replacement for the MKC, which donated its platform and base powertrain before retiring.

In fact, it might as well have been presented as the next generation of the MKC. However, with Lincoln abandoning its three-letter naming strategy, the vehicle will instead be called Corsair.

Photo: Frédéric Mercier

Beauty is Inside

With regard to styling, the 2020 Lincoln Corsair looks an awful lot like the MKC. Designers clearly didn’t try to revolutionize the segment.

Lincoln claims the Corsair’s interior is what will win over potential customers. It’s easy to see that they worked twice as hard to create a sophisticated environment befitting of a premium SUV.

Refined materials and a two-tone layout combine to provide the feel of a stylish lounge. Lincoln refers to it as a “sanctuary,” which is a bit of an overstatement in our opinion, but you get the point. This has nothing to do with jazzed-up Ford vehicles from the early 2000s.

Photo: Frédéric Mercier

The available 24-way adjustable front seats with massage are simply wonderful, while comfort in the rear is notable for such a compact vehicle. Actually, legroom in the Corsair is among the most generous in the segment.

Up front, visibility is quite good. Drivers will also enjoy the optional 12.3-inch digital display behind the steering wheel and the head-up display system that projects key information onto the windshield (which remains visible even when wearing polarized sunglasses).

Our only complaint is the poor integration of the centre touchscreen. It looks as if designers added a tablet to the dashboard at the last minute—a disappointing move in an otherwise flawlessly executed cabin.

Photo: Frédéric Mercier

Underneath the screen, horizontally arranged buttons replace the traditional shifter. The rest of the attractive centre stack consists of climate and audio controls. By the way, don’t miss the optional 14-speaker Revel stereo if you really like music.

Relaxation Over Exhilaration

When driving the 2020 Lincoln Corsair, it quickly becomes obvious that this new luxury SUV attempts to stand out by delivering above-average ride quality. It’s not about exhilarating performance like competitors from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and more, which offer decidedly sporty variants.

Rather, Lincoln is seeking to appeal to drivers in need of a smooth, quiet experience on the road. Noise insulation is exceptional and the suspension is soft enough to mask road imperfections even with the available 20-inch wheels. The brake pedal is a tad too sensitive, however, which sometimes results in annoyingly abrupt stops.

Photo: Frédéric Mercier

In Canada, the Corsair comes standard with all-wheel drive and the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 package featuring pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, high beam assist and a rear-view camera.

It’s not like the vehicle is lacking motivation, either. The turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine in base Corsair models proves spirited with 250 horsepower an 280 pound-feet of torque. For those who want more, another turbo engine displacing 2.3 litres is available with 295 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

We tested both and it’s clear that the bigger mill feels more explosive. If comfort is your top priority, though, the standard engine will be more than up to the task. In any case, fuel consumption is the same at 9.8 L/100 km in combined city-highway driving. After two days, our tester posted an average of just over 11 L/100 km.

A few days ago at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Lincoln unveiled the Corsair Grand Touring, a plug-in hybrid variant that will go on sale next summer offering a zero-emission range of 40 kilometres.

Photo: Lincoln

How Much?

The 2020 Lincoln Corsair starts at $44,700 before you add $2,100 of freight and delivery charges. By checking a few boxes on the options menu, including the 2.3-litre engine, the price can jump to nearly $70,000, so be careful.

The Corsair is available now at Lincoln dealers in Canada and it will certainly do some good to the brand’s image. Just don’t expect it to catch the German SUVs that are dominating this segment.

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