2020 Lincoln Corsair Review: Diving Into a Crowded Field in Style

The compact luxury SUV market is a crowded table right now, but Lincoln’s new crossover has earned a good seat at it.

Brand: Lincoln
Product: Corsair
Release Date: October 2019
Price: $35,945+
From: lincoln.com

The Corsair is the newest tooth in the zipper of Lincoln’s upwardly-trending brand identity. Traveling in the deepwater wake of the brand’s two most-respected vehicles, the Navigator and Aviator, the Corsair — which replaces the little-loved MKC — seeks to carve out its own space in the dense pack of small SUVs.

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What We Like

The Corsair’s cabin is quiet. While not quite silent enough to drive you crazy, it buffers out real-world cacophony well, keeping it from violating your safe space. Active noise canceling is handled through the audiophile-grade 14-speaker Revel sound system, which also absolutely rips. Passive noise reduction comes from a dual wall firewall and plenty of engine bay sound absorption material — although neither the standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder nor the optional 2.3-liter turbo four are all that loud anyway.

The horizontally-oriented cockpit layout and the rest of the interior is made up of a classy, if not exactly handsome, assortment of shapes, layers and contrasting textures. Our fully-loaded test model came equipped with dual 24-way adjustable massage seats; after a solid three-hour drive in them, it’s easy to say they play a big role in making this a fatigue-free road trip vehicle.

Driving dynamics are on the boring side of neutral; Lincoln wants you to go from A to B in the quietest, least dramatic way possible. Feeling disengaged? You can toggle between multiple drive modes, each with their own whimsical animation that pops up on the car’s screen: Conserve, Normal, Excite, Slippery and Deep Conditions. We’ll let your imagination run with Slippery and Deep Conditions, but we will tell you there are significant differences in throttle sensitivity and handling between the extremes of Conserve and Excite. 

Curvaceous sheet metal and plenty of details like an integrated spoiler and blacked-out greenhouse add to the sum of the Corsair’s appeal. The headlamps look as if they’ve been lifted from a Swarovski showcase, while the creased door panels bend reflections like Frank Gehry architecture. The design is a little nose heavy, but overall it’s a sharp-looking vehicle.

Watch Out For

Opting for the monotonous Slate Grey interior disguises the unique layout; on the flip side, the wild Beyond Blue interior of our test car, although fun, is a little much for a refined Lincoln. The hard plastic switchgear is a bummer, plain and simple. And remember, Lincoln is very much positioning themselves in the luxury segment these days, so expect to pay up as you tick off the boxes for your must-have options.

Other Options

Long-established compact SUVs such as the Audi Q5 ($43,300+), BMW X1 ($35,200+) and Acura RDX ($37,600+) are all safe alternatives if the Corsair’s newness throws you off.  

Verdict

The Corsair’s greatest strengths lie in its smooth, isolationist disposition. Lincoln has tried to create a sanctuary in the cabin, and (when set up with the right colors and options) they clearly succeeded. To say the Corsair is a gussied-up Ford Escape would be ignorant; FoMoCo has created a canyon-sized gap between Ford, the everyman’s brand, and Lincoln, the aspirational endgame. With products like the Corsair, they’ve put themselves in the luxury conversation.

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Lincoln hosted us and provided this product for review.

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