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Recently Driven

2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve

By: Ron Corbett, APA Staff Writer      


Another good looking vehicle from Lincoln 

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a Corsair as a “Privateer”, or essentially, a pirate ship. Perhaps not a theme Lincoln should be exploring with its new crossover but the name flows more smoothly off the tongue than the MKC moniker of its predecessor. Like the MKC, the Corsair’s basic architecture was developed alongside the Ford Escape, which is also new for 2020.

Model mix
Two trims, Standard and Reserve, are offered. The base engine is a 250 horsepower 2L turbo four shared with the Escape. Reserve buyers can opt for a 295 horsepower 2.3L turbo four. Power reaches all wheels via a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission in all cases.

 Vehicle tested  2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve
 Body style  Four-door crossover
 Engine  2.3L turbo four (295 horsepower)
 Transmission  Eight-speed automatic 
 Base MSRP  $50,500
 Price as tested  $66,075
 NRCan combined fuel economy  9.8L/100 km
 Observed fuel economy  11.65L/100 km

While the related Escape grew significantly for 2020, the Corsair is roughly the same size as the MKC it replaced. With the Navigator, Aviator and now the Corsair, Lincoln has been moving away from the rounded, slightly bloated forms of the Nautilus and MKC, toward cleaner, straighter lines that visually lengthen the vehicle. Like a number of recent Ford Motor Company vehicles, the Corsair, with its Jaguar-shaped grille and Range-Rover like side profile, is hardly original, but is very elegant nonetheless.  


Crisply-marked transistor-film-technology guage package of the Corsair. Only the speed and rev-range the vehicle is currently in are highlighted, with the rest of the gauges remaining in shadow


The angled console that extends from the dashboard houses the logical and elegant climate and audio controls

With a strong horizontal emphasis, the dashboard of the Corsair reflects Lincoln’s current cabin styling themes. Lincoln’s stress on luxury over performance is demonstrated by the Corsair’s instrumentation. The driver faces a small format transistor film technology (TFT) gauge package that not only distances drivers from the mechanical action, it only shows them the speed and rev range they are currently in, with the rest of the dials in shadow. A crisply-marked configurable display occupies the space between the speedometer and the tachometer. Minor function steering wheel controls, with tan markings on gloss-black backgrounds could be more legible and those for the active safety features look like trim pieces until a button is pushed which wakes up their markings. Strange. Ford’s familiar SYNC3 screen sits at the top centre of the dashboard and works as well here as in other Ford products. The transmission “Piano Keys” reside in a thin horizontal strip just below the dash screen. The piano keys work well enough once you know they are there but perhaps loaning the car out to a friend might not be a good idea.

Controls for the climate and audio system are contained in an angled console hung off the dash below the transmission selector. They look great and are straightforward to use.

From the two-tone cabin treatment, genuine wood dash trim, convincing piano black panels and discreet chrome accents, the cabin of our Reserve test vehicle was very chic.

Our Corsair’s heated and cooled front seats were equipped with the optional massage system that proves to be a delightful indulgence. The rear seats are heated, but not cooled, but are very comfortable. Legroom in the Corsair is such that four large adults will be comfortable on long journeys.   

Though the Corsair is the smallest and least expensive Lincoln crossover, it lacks nothing in terms of style or features compared with its pricier showroom mates 


 The rear seat provides ample comfort and good legroom for large adults

The regularly-shaped cargo area is deep below the window line and luxuriously finished 

Our Corsair was powered by the optional 2.3L turbo four that is a Reserve exclusive. It is quick, flexible, and quiet, emitting only a distant snarl when pushed hard.

The Corsair’s eight-speed automatic transmission is an obedient servant that just gets its job done without fuss.

Five drive modes, Conserve, Normal, Excite, Slippery and Deep Conditions, are available to drivers. Normal suits the driving style of most drivers but the Excite setting adds weight to the steering and firms up the variable dampers to sharpen the reflexes of the Corsair.

Lincoln is keen to point out that the rear suspension geometry is unique to the Corsair and not shared by the Ford Escape that shares its architecture. The suspension exhibits some initial controlled lean as it enters a corner but never progresses beyond that and feels very secure on the road. The Corsair’s suspension soaks up road disturbances without fuss.

While lacking in feel the Corsair’s steering is nicely weighted and maintains its line well on the highway.

Braking is secure, but pedal effort is quite high and some drivers would prefer more initial bite once braking is commenced.

While the Corsair generates little wind noise and its engine sounds very remote, road noise is greater than expected and like the related Ford Escape, there is a rumbling from under the driver’s footwell at highway speeds.

The Corsair’s strong air-conditioning and cooled front seats were appreciated during sweltering weather experienced during our time with the vehicle.

The Revel-branded audio system in our vehicle delivered average sound when playing satellite radio, was more tuneful on FM and did an acceptable job when hooked up to Bluetooth audio streaming most drivers will have on their cell phones. The sound quality is likely more influenced by the quality of the input than the system itself, as it produced excellent sound when hooked up to a premium name-brand streaming service that is widely available.

Corsair pricing starts at $50,500 for the base 2L Standard trim. Moving up from the Standard to the Reserve model costs an extra $5800 and delivers enought additional content to justify the price bump. Our heavily optioned (with $850 Ceramic Pearl paint, the $11,350 202A group, the $1500 heads-up display, $1600 Reserve Appearance group and the $175 all-weather floor liners) Reserve model topped out at $66,075, roughly the same as a similarly equipped but less powerful BMW X3 28i, but about $10,000 more that an Acura RDX Platinum Elite. Lincolns have suffered from poor resale value in the past which usually makes for unfavourable leasing terms. However, the 2020 Corsair is a very good lease value, which reflects a solid expectation of good resale value on Lincoln’s part or a willingness to absorb big lease-end value shortfalls to get more people to lease a Corsair.

The architecture for the Corsair is all-new for 2020 but the 2.3L engine and eight-speed automatic transmission have not generated complaints in other Ford vehicles they are used in. The Corsair is covered by a four year/80,000 kilometre basic warranty, with six years/110,000 kiliometres on the powertrain.  

The clamshell tailgate links the Corsair to the MKC it replaced 

The previous MKC was not a world-beater when launched in 2015 but a comprehensive update for 2019 improved both the look and feel of the cabin as well as the refinement of the vehicle, which had been lacking.

The Corsair builds upon what the MKC had achieved and has added a spacious rear seat, very elegant styling and improved road manners. With the Corsair, Lincoln has created a no-excuses compact luxury crossover that yields no ground to competitors and is yet another example of a rebirth of the Lincoln brand that started with the release of the current Continental.