The Lincoln Corsair Deserves to Be on Luxury SUV Shoppers’ Lists

Lincoln is getting its groove back. Bucking the industry-wide trend, Lincoln dealers are asking the brand for more sedans. But it’s in Lincoln’s SUVs that the brand’s resurgence is perhaps best exemplified, even beyond the upcoming electric model. Although the mid-size Aviator has had some early teething issues, it successfully differentiates itself from the Ford Explorer—something Lincoln struggled with in years past. The full-size Navigator, though, is definitely an excellent luxury SUV. But what about the compact luxury Lincoln Corsair?

Lincoln Corsair features

Doug Demuro recently reviewed the Lincoln Corsair on his YouTube channel. And he found there was a lot to like about it.

2020 Lincoln Corsair
2020 Lincoln Corsair | Lincoln

The Corsair comes in two trim levels, the $35,945 Standard and the $42,630 Reserve. The base SUV has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 250 hp and 280 lb-ft, linked to an 8-speed automatic. The Standard is normally front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is optional. On the Reserve, it’s standard, as is a larger 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which makes 295 hp and 310 lb-ft. 0-60 times in both cases is about 6 seconds, according to Car and Driver.

Speed, though, isn’t the Lincoln Corsair’s game. Luxury is. And there’s a lot of luxury touches in this compact SUV. Demuro found the interior materials to be of very high quality, as did Kelley Blue Book. The Corsair was a finalist in Motor Trend’s SUV of the Year competition partially due to its “beautiful interior design with gorgeous trim.”

2020 Lincoln Corsair Beyond Blue interior side
2020 Lincoln Corsair Beyond Blue interior side | Lincoln

Particularly noteworthy are the front seats, which are an optional extra on the Reserve. They’re 24-way-adjustable, which includes individually-adjustable thigh extenders. I’ve sampled the Continental’s version of these seats, and they are indeed some of the comfiest seats on the market.

Luxury tech

The Lincoln Corsair also has some very appealing technologies. It comes with a standard suite of advanced driver-assistance features, such as forward-collision warning and lane-keeping assist. With that, the Corsair is an IIHS Top Safety Pick. But Lincoln also sweated some of the small details in its compact luxury SUV.

Hold the unlock button on the key fob, and all the windows go down to vent in some fresh air. Forget to close the window after you lock the Corsair? Just hold the lock button, and they all roll-up. There’s also an integrated keypad on the door, so you can lock the key inside and still get in. And the 2nd-row seats are also power-folding, something that the $200k Mercedes G63 AMG doesn’t offer.

Even the alert chimes get a luxury touch. MT reports the Detroit Symphony Orchestra recorded all the different sounds that play to indicate warnings or settings changes.

How the Lincoln Corsair drives

The Lincoln Corsair isn’t a sports-oriented SUV like the Porsche Macan. Car and Driver found it “merely competent” when the road got twisty. But that’s not the Corsair’s goal. Rather like the Toyota Century, the Corsair is designed for passenger comfort and quiet isolation.

Indeed, that’s how Demuro describes the driving the Corsair in his video. Car and Driver found the Corsair was only slightly louder than the Mercedes E-Class wagon at highway speeds. It comes with active noise cancellation, like the Genesis GV80, and acoustic glass to cut down on noise. And although Autoblog reports the optional active dampers are very effective, even without them, the Lincoln Corsair rides very well.

That being said, the Corsair isn’t perfect.

Where it still needs work

The 2nd-row seats are rather tight on legroom, even for a compact SUV, although they can slide back and forth. Demuro found the Escape to offer more rear legroom, despite being the two SUVs being built on the same platform. It’s possible the power seats’ motors and other components eat up space.

2020 Acura RDX A-Spec
2020 Acura RDX A-Spec | Acura

Speaking of the rear seats, some of the materials back there aren’t quite up to the same level as the ones in front. And although the rear cargo area is roughly average for the segment, Car and Driver found the Acura RDX has more space.

2020 Porsche Macan
2020 Porsche Macan | Porsche

But the Lincoln Corsair’s biggest problem is with value. Getting the truly fancy features like those multi-adjustable seats, the digital gauge cluster, and adaptive dampers can raise the price of the Corsair uncomfortably close to $60,000. And although MT found the Corsair had a better interior than the similarly-sized Audi Q3—which Demuro ranked below the Lincoln—Consumer Reports ranked both the Audi Q5 and Porsche Macan ahead of it.

2020 Mazda CX-5 side
2020 Mazda CX-5 side | Mazda

In addition, although it doesn’t get the Corsair’s seats, the Mazda CX-5 offers similarly-striking looks and a high-quality interior at a significantly lower price. There’s also the Lexus UX, which is cheaper, if not quite as luxurious.

That being said, as long as you don’t go too crazy with the options, the Lincoln Corsair offers a compelling compact luxury SUV.

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