In the wake of Ford Motor’s major new commitment to electric vehicles, the 2022 Lincoln Corsair plug-in hybrid takes on a bit of a different cast than it might have just six months ago. Instead of representing an iterative step toward what had been a wan overall commitment to EVs, the new Corsair now fits in nicely as an obvious stepping-stone to the company’s new all-in approach to an electric future.
Corsair is Lincoln’s smallest and least expensive model, and it’s based on the same mechanical platform as Ford’s Escape compact SUV. But it remains a great take on the brand promise that Lincoln has been offering for a while: cosseting upscale drivers rather than bringing them neck-snapping performance.
While nominal rivals to Corsair include Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-class, each of those German entries offers livelier driving than Corsair. The Lincoln is powered by a 2.0-liter or 2.3-liter four-cylinder. The 2.3-liter model with all-wheel drive earns EPA ratings of 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined, while the 2.o-liter model notches 1 mpg more on the highway.
The plug-in-hybrid option is available in the expensive Grand Touring trim, and I found it very responsive and offering surprising punch for a hybrid. Lincoln says the hybrid will provide up to 25 miles of all-electric driving range, meaning that the Corsair’s plug-in feature remains only marginally significant to the vehicle’s overall proposition.
In any event, the Lincoln entry is a match for its European rivals in creating the lap of luxury.
For example, versions of Corsair offer an optional 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration come on every model. In the Reserve model, a sumptuous 14-speaker Revel system is available and includes SiriusXM satellite radio, instead of the standard 10-speaker stereo system. Charging options include three USB-A ports, one USB-C input, a wireless charging pad and a three-prong outlet. Corsair’s overall appointments are up to today’s lofty Lincoln standards as demonstrated in larger models including Aviator and Navigator.
And Corsair is upholstered in soft leather with adjustable ambient lighting, slick aluminum trim on the dash, 24-way adjustable seats, and a smartphone app for locking and unlocking and starting the vehicle. Automated driving features are clustered in a suite Lincoln calls Co-Pilot360, but a self-parking feature and adaptive cruise control require upgrading to the optional Co-Pilot360 Plus system.
One nit to pick about the Corsair plug-in: At low speeds when the only locomotion is provided by the battery power, the car emits a whine that could be typical of noises in other electric cars but, instead, annoyingly sounds like you’ve got talk radio turned down just enough so that you can’t really understand what’s being said.