The 2020 Lincoln Corsair stands out among luxury compact crossovers because it prefers to do upscale just one way.
The Corsair is brand new for the 2020 model year and will replace the elderly MKC crossover. Like other “all-new” models, the Corsair’s powertrain will draw inspiration from its predecessor, or in this case, draw a carbon copy. Both will come with an eight-speed automatic.
Many of the larger Aviator’s elegant lines carry over to the petite Corsair, including a bold character at the beltline that runs the length of the car. Details such as optional 20-inch ten-spoke wheels with their flashy design, command attention, too. However, it’s the slightly-tapered roofline with the beautiful rear spoiler that solidifies the Corsair as a looker.
A firm brake pedal and confident responses to directional changes lend the Corsair a reassuring if lazy comportment on the road. Switching to its Excite driving mode (there also are Normal, Conserve, Slippery, and Deep settings) slightly stiffens the dampers and the effort of the electrically assisted steering, although we couldn’t detect much difference aside from the sharper action that Excite mode brings to the throttle and the unobtrusive eight-speed automatic transmission. But it takes an emergency event to actually raise your pulse when piloting the Corsair, and even then, a phalanx of driver aids—such as standard forward automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, and lane-keep assist, as well as optional evasive steering assist—are there to help you from hitting trees and other vehicles.
The Corsair’s interior echoes the exterior design with a horizontal theme that makes the cabin feel bigger. Vents stretch across the dash, and above them (in the Reserve model) is an inset band of striped silver metallic trim. The center stack floats above the console, making for an airier environment and leaving room for additional stowage, which is plentiful. The materials in our top-spec example were mostly good, save for the hard plastic on the glove box door and on the rear door panels. Lincoln is being less adventurous with interior color schemes here than in other recent models (including the MKC): The two-tone combinations are gray and black, tan and black, or blue and black. There is no Corsair Black Label model.
Hiding underneath the Corsair’s inoffensive and creased sheetmetal are exterior dimensions that give the interior room to fill out the crossover’s bones. A length of 180.6 inches leaves plenty of room for the 106.7-inch wheelbase and the 27.6 cubic feet of trunk space (57.6 cubic feet with the second row stowed) resting over the rear axle. The panoramic roof does cut down on headroom-the front seats get 39.5 inches and the rears get 38.7-but legroom is plentiful up front and far from constricting at the rear, with measurements coming out to 43.2 inches and 38.6 inches respectively.
Beneath the Corsair’s hood is one of two turbocharged, four-cylinder engine options. The two turbocharged four-cylinder engines from the MKC will carry over, delivering 250 horsepower from a 2.0-liter or 280 hp from a 2.3-liter, which it sends to either the front wheels or through Lincoln’s all-wheel drive system. The standard 8-speed automatic is in third gear before the other side of the intersection and in most drive modes it hustles up to its two final gears for efficiency and to keep the engines tasked with hauling more than 3,700 pounds of curb weight off the boil.
The Corsair 2.0T AWD starts at $39,140, but our tester was optioned up to $54,375. The 2.3T AWD Reserve has a $45,825 base price, and ours listed for $60,110.