CHATHAM, Mass. – A few years ago, Ford considered terminating The Lincoln Motor Company, its luxury division best known for providing the Town Cars which dominated America’s car-service providers. Sales had dropped steadily, and the product portfolio was not competitive.
A new Navigator and Continental – spearheaded by a popular marketing campaign featuring actor Matthew McConaughey – fueled a turn-a-around. One which has been bolstered by a succession of distinctive new products, especially in the SUV/crossover space, and has reinstated Lincoln as a player in the U.S. luxury market.
Introduced in mid-2019, the new 2020 Lincoln Corsair brings the brand’s definition of luxury to the compact SUV segment combining a comfortable, quiet passenger sanctuary with all of the latest driver-assist/safety systems as well as solid fuel economy and decent power from the 2.3-liter turbocharged engine.
With the limitations of outside activities due to the Covid-19 restrictions, our daily rides around Cape Cod this past week were tranquil and relaxing inside the all-wheel-drive Corsair Reserve which comes standard with both Lincoln Co-Pilot360 and 360+ suite of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
Lincoln Co-Pilot360 includes:
– blind-spot detection with cross-traffic alert
– pre-collision assistance with automatic-emergency braking (AEB)
– post-collision assistance to stop the vehicle after a collision to mitigate second-collision impact)
– lane-keep assistance – both alert and steering torque to guide the Corsair back into its lane
– rear-view camera
– automatic high beam
– distance alert to monitor gap separating the Corsair from vehicle in front of it
– auto hold to activate the brakes during traffic or on a hill relieving the driver of the fatiguing situation of “holding” the brake for longer periods
– electronic-stability control
– 360-degree camera
– active park assist which can automatically parallel and perpendicular park the Corsair
– reverse-brake assist which when either stationary or moving objects (people, vehicles included) are detected, applies the Corsair’s brakes
– adaptive cruise control
– evasive-steering assistance helps the driver avoid an obstacle when the Corsair detects inadequate steering input by the drive
This list is far from a complete summary of the Corsair’s technology features, which being squarely in the luxury world, centers around driver and passenger convenience and comfort.
A steering-wheel button initiates voice activation which can control many of the Lincoln’s Sync 3 communications functions including the navigation system (which includes Waze traffic information), the AM/FM/SiriusXM audio system and Apple CarPlay. The audio system is by Revel feeding music through carefully placed fourteen speakers and a subwoofer.
Lincoln Connect includes a 4G modem with Wi-Fi capability throughout the SUV’s cabin.
Of course, the seating surfaces and steering wheel are sheathed in leather, ebony and cashew (black and dark tan which nicely complemented the magnetic grey exterior) and these are all heated, both front and rear (two outside positions). The fronts are also ventilated.
Speaking of the front seats, both are electrically adjusted through seat-shaped controls on the door panels. The driver’s has 24 adjustments including ones for each thigh and a multi-position lumbar support. One week was not enough time to explore all the possibilities!
Let’s just say, these thrones are comfortable for both around-town jaunts and cruising on the highway.
Speaking of cruising, the feds say the Corsair gets 21 miles per gallon in city driving 28 on the highway and 24 combined. Our mixed use returned about 25.9 mpg, a number we saw on the 12.3-inch customizable color display which provides driver information, like speed, RPM (a virtual tachometer), navigation instructions and audio information.
Motivating the Corsair is a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine which produces 295 horsepower and 310 pounds-feet of torque. In our case, all four wheels were driven through the eight-speed automatic transmission whose computer-controlled shift points are coordinated by the vehicle’s Drive Mode control. The driver can choose Normal, Excite, Conserve, Slippery or Deep depending on road conditions and desire. For us, Normal worked just fine, though we tried Excite (and did not particularly like the harsher take off from a standing position).
The Corsair does not break any ground in packaging – it is the “standard” two-box compact SUV with a power liftgate – but its design is distinctively Lincoln and its subtle curves make it stand out from its competition. This is the look of refined luxury which is carried into the interior. AutoCar designated the Corsair’s cabin one of the 10-best interiors for 2020 – a good call.
Unlocking the Lincoln Corsair – both literally and figuratively – is a phone call away. Well, a smartphone app at least. Installing Lincoln’s Phone as Key on your phone allows you to leave the key fob at home and use your phone to lock/unlock and start the Corsair.
All the features combined make the 2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve easy and satisfying to live with. There’s a terrific balance between performance, comfort, safety, functionality and economy. The mid $50,000 price of our vehicle puts it in the heart of the competition. And if you like the basic package, a front-wheel-drive version begins well below $50K.
The one thing which was missing from the Corsair lineup when it was introduced was a hybrid version. Lincoln has announced the Corsair Grand Touring, a plug-in hybrid version which promises 25 miles on pure electric power, to be released in the summer.
How would I sum up the Lincoln Corsair and my time with it – which I wish was not over? I think Lincoln spokesperson Matthew McConaughey says it best (so why play with the words):
“All right! All right! All right!”