The 2021 Lincoln Corsair Is an Underrated American SUV

If you’re in the market for an affordable five-seat luxury compact crossover SUV, you may want to take a gander at the 2021 Lincoln Corsair. In fact, it recently made U.S. News‘ “The 22 Best Cars From American Brands for 2021” list.

Lincoln introduced the Corsair at the New York Auto Show in April 2019 as an MKC replacement. Keeping with Lincoln’s aviation and nautical naming convention, the Corsair joined the Nautilus, Aviator, and Navigator SUV lineup. But like the MKC, the Corsair remains comparatively unknown and underrated in the burgeoning crossover SUV segment.

Lincoln Motor Company: Founded on patriotism

Henry Leland — one of Cadillac’s founders — and his son Wilfred founded the Lincoln Motor Company in August 1917. Eight years earlier, Leland and other founders had sold Cadillac to General Motors. He initially stayed on the company’s board as an executive but left in 1917 after falling out with GM president William Durant over wartime production during World War I. Out of patriotic avidity, Leland and his son launched the Lincoln Motor Company later that year, manufacturing airplane engines for the Allied forces during the war.

It was this patriotism that led Leland to name the company for his presidential hero, Abraham Lincoln. The armistice with Germany was signed in November 1918, putting an end to the Great War. Rather than close up shop, Leland and Wilfred restructured Lincoln Motor Company into a high-end auto manufacturer. It wouldn’t be until September 1920 when Lincoln Motor Company was finally capable of producing its first luxury automobile: the Lincoln Model L. 

Ford acquired Lincoln in a bid to save itself

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Unfortunately, poor management meant Lincoln Motor Company couldn’t handle the transition from producing military planes to automobiles. The average customer who ordered a Model L had to wait up to a year for their vehicles to be built and delivered. It took less than two years of this before Lincoln found itself under threat of bankruptcy. In February 1922, the Ford Motor Company acquired the failing luxury car manufacturer for $8 million — equivalent to $124.5 million when calculated for inflation.

“The acquisition came at a time when Ford, founded in 1903, was losing market share to its competitor General Motors, which offered a range of automobiles while Ford continued to focus on its utilitarian Model T,” History reports. “Although the Model T, which first went into production in 1908, had become the world’s best-selling car and revolutionized the auto industry, it had undergone few major changes since its debut, and from 1914 to 1925 it was only available in one color: black. In May 1927, the lack of demand for the Model T forced Ford to shut down the assembly lines on the iconic vehicle.”

Ford introduced the more comfortable and stylish Model A later that year. Its sleeker appearance resembled the Lincoln Model L. “In fact, the Model A was nicknamed ‘the baby Lincoln,'” History explains.

The 2021 Corsair at a glance

As luxury compact crossovers go, the Corsair is a good-looking SUV. On top of that, reviewers have reported its chassis delivers a luxurious ride, while its upscale interior offers plenty of features. Car and Driver describes the 2021 Corsair as a “slimmed down Aviator.” Lincoln has refined its new design language in a way that fits the compact crossover class almost perfectly. In doing so, Lincoln has succeeded in making the Corsair one of the few American-made luxury compact crossovers.

Although the Corsair and Ford Escape share the same platform, the Lincoln maintains its upscale road presence. The 2021 Lincoln Corsair offers three powertrain choices, including a plug-in hybrid. Lincoln‘s website lists the 2021 Corsair with a $36,105 starting price. The Corsair Reserve starts at $43,050. The base model is front-wheel drive and packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine.

If you upgrade to the optional all-wheel-drive model with a 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-four, the starting price jumps to $43,345. However, the 2.3-liter AWD model comes with an “Equipment Collection” package that includes the “Corsair Features, Plus” package. But don’t close your wallet just yet: You still have five optional paint colors ($695 each), the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus exterior package plus the Sport package ($3,100), a towing package ($500), and a 17-inch mini spare tire ($150).

Either way, we clicked every available option for the standard Corsair and ended up with a final price of $51,765, spare tire included. The Reserve trim offers a few extra options that, if fully loaded, bring the final price to $58,570. Those little extras include 24-way power-adjustable fronts seats ($1,100), a technology package ($3,000), and an extra paint color.

Should you get the Corsair?

Considering this Lincoln’s young age, it might be a good idea to let it mature a bit before investing nearly $60,000. For the 2021 and 2022 model years, the luxury vehicle market has a lot to offer in that price range — vehicles that have proven themselves worth the money. Not only that, but some luxury (and not-so-luxury) crossovers also offer those package features standard.