The Corsair is Lincoln’s newcomer to the luxury crossover segment. Introduced in 2019, to replace the aging MKC. The Corsair shares its platform with the Ford Escape. However, Lincoln did a lot of work to differentiate it from the mainstream Escape to give it that appropriate luxury feel. In this era of brand identity, the Corsair carries Lincoln’s all-new design language while the interior is upscale and packed with technology. In this segment crowded with Asian and European competitors, the Corsair is an American player.
Powertrain and dynamics
The Corsair is offered with three powertrain options. The standard engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four producing 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. At this spec, all-wheel drive is optional and, when tested, hits 60 mph in 7.3 seconds.
The turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four is the second engine option in the lineup. It produces 295 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque paired with an eight-speed transmission with standard all-wheel drive. This engine is more powerful and reaches 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, just under a second faster than the 2.0-liter engine. It feels a lot more powerful in the city with substantial low-end torque and ample overtaking power on the highway.
But new for 2021 is the Corsair Grand Touring Plug-in Hybrid. This trim features a 2.5-liter in-line engine powering the front wheels via a CVT transmission. The engine is assisted by an electric motor powering the rear axle with a 14.4 kWh battery. Combined, the powertrain develops 266 hp and promises 28 miles of pure electric range.
Unlike the Germans, the Corsair doesn’t have their acceleration or athletic agility, but what it does have is an extremely comfortable and quiet ride. At highway speeds, the steering is surprisingly balanced and responsive, and with the adaptive dampers, body roll is controlled, keeping the Corsair stable in tight curves and fast corners. But one thing about the Corsair is the grip brakes, even at the top of the pedal they’re grippy no matter how fast you lean on them. The drivetrain might need some fine tuning and its gear changes are a bit delayed and not as smooth as the competition. The Corsair lives up to its luxury roots as it is an overall comfortable vehicle. The interior is calm and quiet with virtually no outside noise.
Inside, the Corsair offers premium finishes with soft-touch materials and leather with beautiful color combinations. The front seats provide sufficient support and comfort and are adjustable enough that even the tallest drivers are comfortable.
Beneath the 8-inch infotainment screen and air vents, the center console is mounted on a floating panel giving it a futuristic look. Even with a futuristic dashboard design, there are some build quality issues. The dashboard buttons have a dull action and the buttons are a bit shaky. The Corsair offers 27.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 57.6 cubic feet with the seats down.
Standard equipment includes a small 8.0-inch infotainment screen that meets competitor standards with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen resolution could also be improved, especially compared to the competition from Cadillac and BMW. A 6.5-inch cluster display is also standard.
A 10-speaker system is standard and a 14-speaker Revel Platinum premium system is an optional extra. I highly suggest the optional Revel sound system as it is close to if not the best sound system in its class. One impressive option is the use of the driver’s smartphone as a key instead of the standard vehicle key. An optional 12.2-inch digital instrument cluster adopts a clean and calming design.
Corsair’s active safety systems are both modern and practical, with the vehicle rated five stars by the NHTSA and one of the IIHS top safety picks. On the highway, the vehicle’s safety systems make driving easier. Standard features include Lincoln’s Co-Pilot 360, which has rear cross-traffic alerts, blind spot monitoring, and automatic forward emergency braking.
The Corsair being Lincoln’s incoming vehicle is a solid offering with a beautiful interior and exterior design. It offers an overall smooth ride, a comfortable and spacious interior with a luxurious look; but could use some extra fit and some finishing refinement. While it’s great to see a bigger engine option with sufficient horsepower, the drivetrain and hand brakes take away from this powerful and refined driving experience.