The Corsair is Lincoln’s entrant into the luxury crossover segment. Introduced in 2019, to replace the ageing MKC. The Corsair shares its platform with the Ford Escape. However, Lincoln has put in a lot of work to differentiate it from the mainstream Escape to give it that proper luxury feel. In this age of brand identity, the Corsair wears Lincoln’s newest design language while the interior is upscale and full of tech. 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 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four-cylinder producing 250 hp and 280-pound feet of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. At this spec, all-wheel drive is optional and when tested gets to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds.
The 2.3 liter turbocharged inline-four is the second engine option in the lineup. It produces 295 hp and 310-pound feet of torque mated to an eight-speed gearbox with AWD as standard. This engine is more powerful and gets to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, just under a second faster than the 2.0-litre engine. It feels a lot more powerful around town with substantial low-end torque and ample highway passing power.
But new for the 2021 is the Corsair Grand Touring Plug-in Hybrid. This trim features an inline 2.5-liter engine powering the front wheels through a CVT transmission. The engine is assisted by an electric motor powering the rear axle with a 14.4 kWh battery pack. Combined the powertrain outputs 266 hp, and promises 28 miles of pure electric range.
Unlike the Germans, the Corsair doesn’t have their athletic acceleration or agility, but what it has is an extremely comfortable, quiet ride. At highway speeds, the steering is surprisingly weighted and responsive, and with the adaptive dampers body roll is controlled keeping the Corsair stable through tight curves and quick turns. But one thing about the Corsair are grabby brakes, even at the top of the pedal they are grabby no matter how gradually you ease on to it. The transmission could use some fine tuning as well as it’s shifts are a bit delayed and not as smooth as the competition. The corsair lives up to its luxury roots, as it is a comfortable vehicle overall. The interior is quiet and muted with outside noise virtually non-existent.
Inside, the Corsair offers upscale finishes with soft-touch materials and leather with beautiful colour combinations. The front seats are supportive and comfortable and have enough adjustment to make even the tallest drivers comfortable.
Below 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 dash design, there are some build quality issues. The buttons on the dash have a dull action, and knobs are a bit jiggly. The Corsair offers 27.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 57.6 with the seats down.
Standard equipment includes a small by competitor standards 8.0-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen resolution could also be improved especially when compared to competition from Cadillac and BMW. Also standard is a 6.5-inch gauge cluster display.
A 10 speaker system is standard and a high end 14 speaker Revel Platinum system is an optional extra. I would strongly suggest the optional Revel audio system as it’s close if not the best-in class audio system. An impressive option is the use of the driver’s smartphone as a key instead of the vehicle’s standard key. Optional is a 12.2-inch digital instrument cluster which takes on a calming clean design.
The Corsair’s active safety systems are both modern and practical, with the vehicle having a five-star rating from the NHTSA and a top safety pick from the IIHS. On the highway, the vehicle’s safety systems make driving a breeze. Standard features include Lincoln’s Co-Pilot 360, which has rear cross-traffic alerts, blindspot monitoring, and forward automatic emergency braking.
The Corsair being Lincoln’s entrant vehicle is a solid offering with a beautiful interior and exterior design. It offers an overall smooth ride, comfortable and spacious interior that has the luxury look; but could use additional fit and finish refinement. While it’s great to see a larger engine option with ample power, the transmission and grabby brakes do take away from that refined powerful driving experience.