Lincoln views itself as a luxury brand, but everyone else sees the company as a brand offering slightly fancier Ford models. Aiming to change that, the brand has undergone some adjustments intended to bring back the love the brand once had. One such change is the new Corsair luxury compact SUV, a model that replaces the old MKC. Powered by a choice of two turbocharged four-cylinder engines, the Corsair can be equipped with either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, which comes standard if you opt for the larger motor. The base 2.0-liter turbo-four makes 250 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque while the available 2.3-liter turbo-four produces 295 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. So is the Corsair special enough to warrant choosing one over a BMW X3 or Mercedes-Benz GLC, or is it just a restyled Ford?
The Corsair is a completely new model for 2020, replacing the outgoing MKC.
See trim levels and configurations:
The Corsair is a compact SUV, which means it's a family car. It's also a Lincoln, and as such, it needs to ride comfortably. Fortunately, the chassis is well-tuned to absorbing bumps and imperfections, and what the Corsair lacks in fun factor or driving pleasure, it makes up for in serene comfort and cruising ability. The steering is light and easy to manage, and the cabin is quiet, although some of the engine noise does make its way into the cabin at higher revs. As is typical for a vehicle like this, a fair amount of body roll is exhibited in quicker corners, but it's not excessive or alarming. The brakes are also sharp enough to keep you out of danger and easy enough to modulate so that the kids in the back don't spill their milkshakes. As an option, you can also spec an adaptive suspension setup, which helps reduce body roll when necessary and can be flicked back to more comfortable settings for longer drives. This is especially useful if you opt for the larger wheels, which the adaptive suspension does a good job of minimizing the impact of. With regards to the drivetrain, we'd opt for the FWD model unless you live in an area plagued by slippery roads, as the additional weight of the AWD system is noticeable and detracts somewhat from the ability of the vehicle in terms of towing and acceleration. Of course, that's assuming you opt for the 2.0-liter, as the larger motor can't be had in FWD-guise.
To put it simply, the Lincoln Corsair is indeed a good option for those who are looking for a comfortable, practical compact SUV. However, as a luxury lifestyle vehicle, the Corsair doesn't quite live up to its billing. It's not offensively bad in any way, but when you consider the fact that many of the available luxury features cost a pretty penny and are mainly only offered as part of packages, then the cost versus value argument swings in favor of more traditional luxury brands. Again, this is not a bad vehicle and offers decent acceleration, good towing ability, and a compliant ride. The cargo area is big enough for most, and the interior looks and feels splendid for the most part. There is also a good spread of standard features and the vehicle itself is blessed with good looks. However, in this segment, there are certainly better offerings out there that offer more space, greater handling ability, and a longer list of features.
With a base price of $41,040, the Lincoln Nautilus is only a little pricier than the base Corsair. It too is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 250 hp and an eight-speed automatic transmission. While performance is thus a little poorer than in the Corsair, you do get a bigger vehicle and a fancier interior. The same sort of standard features are included on the Nautilus too, with the same infotainment system, upholstery finish, and safety features. However, this model can also be had with a 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 that produces 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, due to the vehicle's weight, this model can only tow a maximum of 3,500 lbs. For us, we'd rather opt for the cheaper Corsair and spend the extra money on comfort and convenience features.
An even pricier Lincoln is on offer with the Aviator, a model that starts at a little more than $51,000. However, that money does buy you a fair bit more, with the Aviator featuring a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 as standard. This power plant produces an impressive 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. A brilliant ten-speed automatic transmission is included too, and thanks to a rear-wheel-drive layout, the Aviator handles better than its size would suggest. The interior, although a little more premium than that in the Corsair, looks very similar to that of the cheaper vehicle. Thus, the reason to buy this car is practicality. It's larger and can offer up to 77.7 cubic feet of volume, or seat as many as seven. In addition, you get more luxury features and a generally more premium feel. However, at around 15 grand more than the Corsair, we'd stick with the smaller, nimbler Corsair.
The most popular competitors of 2020 Lincoln Corsair: