The 2020 Lincoln Corsair continues the brand’s mandate of “American luxury” even in this smaller package. We are especially impressed that Lincoln has chosen to not only stock the offshoot of Ford’s Escape architecture with a ton of Lincoln features but that it also shares none of the Escape’s sheetmetal. All of the Corsair’s body panels are unique and take on a very Lincoln Aviator-like look which is good. So is the elimination of the meaningless number/letter naming. Or was it just letters? It meant nothing and is still confusing.
Corsair Doesn’t Look Like An Escape
The hard break below the beltline with blacked-out pillars, wedge side profile, and Lincoln grille work well with this short wheelbase to give the Corsair visual length. If it’s a Lincoln it has to be big–or at least look that way. Though the front centerline is close to the A-pillar, it looks better proportioned than it probably should.
The thin horizontal taillights also embed this stylish Lincoln cue. The rear tapers nicely and much better than its sister Escape. In all, rather than being just a highly-optioned Escape with a leather interior and larger wheels, this really seems like a unique crossover separate from the Escape it shares much with under the skin.
Interiors Continue Lincoln Excellence
Lincoln has done an excellent job of creating better-designed and richer-looking interiors than its Cadillac competition across town. The Corsair continues this trend with linear design and a floating console that takes a lot of the mass out of this normally clunky feature. You still get the bits of plastic here and there but after all, you’re not paying Mercedes money here. Prices start at $36,940.
That price gets you the 2.0-liter four and front-wheel drive. That is the same price you’ll pay for Cadillac’s XT4, the Corsair’s closest competition. They mostly share similar features but the Corsair has a host of driver aids as standard equipment over the XT4.
2.0- and 2.3-Liter Power
The base 2.0-liter engine has 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Moving up to the optional 2.3-liter with all-wheel drive you get 295 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, which is higher than anything else in this segment. A plug-in hybrid is also available but the specs are not available yet.
A new eight-speed automatic transmission gives smooth shifts with discrete detachment. While some testers complained of spongy steering and slightly harsh jounce with the larger 20-inch wheels and tires, others thought that there was plenty of feel in the steering wheel and that the ride was especially smooth for this crossover segment exhibiting just a bit of body roll.
The 2.0-liter gives a combined 25 mpg while the 2.3-liter comes in just under at 24 mpg. The AWD is only available with the 2.3-liter engine. There are driving modes but most testers feel there was little distinction between them. As this is supposed to be a luxury vehicle there is not a sport version but no one will be purchasing this expecting Porsche handling.
An adaptive damping system is unique to the Corsair as is the double-wall firewall to help quiet things down in the cabin.
In all Ford has done a terrific job of making the argument there is a reason to have both Fords and Lincolns to cover different price points and customer needs, and that it can design distinctness into each of these brands.