The Lincoln comeback continues.
The aging MKC has been replaced by the 2020 Corsair. While the basics beneath come from the Ford Escape, everything you see, feel and touch has been Lincolnized, elevated to a level worthy of the Lincoln name at its peak. The transformation is especially evident inside. Luxury pervades as Lincoln continues the avowed strategy of bringing prestige back to the brand.
The goal is to take the game to the established, and German, segment leaders – Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC.
To play in that league the Lincoln development team started with world-class engineering and technology. They knew an impressive first image would be necessary to capture the attention of current consumers in that segment, or those considering moving up to it.
The Corsair’s standard equipment list is too long for this space. All the bases expected at the $50,000 + point are covered. A close look shows the Corsair comes with many standard features that cost thousands as options on the imports.
The Corsair has a tomb-like interior, in the quiet department of course
One area of standard equipment that will be appreciated by all is the tomb-like interior. The silence on the road can be attributed to a number of factors: serious amount of acoustic insulation, an insulated firewall, active noise cancellation through the audio system and sound-attenuating front side glass and windshield.
The development team did an excellent job of upgrading a Ford to a Lincoln. Soft touch surfaces abound, the wood trim came from actual trees, the leather from real cows and the carpets are plush, although probably from sheared sheep. Two-tone treatments help separate it further from the mundane. The “piano-key” controls for the transmission take up very little space, freeing the console and center-stack for other purposes.
The standard infotainment screen spans 21 centimetres. The test vehicle boasted the optional 31-cm digital cluster. Both run the latest iteration of Lincoln’s Sync infotainment system.
Lincoln has made a special effort to provide exceptional seating.
The optional “Perfect Position” driver’s seat in the test unit could be altered 24 ways. Unfortunately, none of them fit me. I assume a svelte or normal individual would easily find nirvana. I am not exactly slim and wear a size 46/48 jacket. I could not adjust the side bolsters to a position where I was coddled by, rather than protruding from them. Try before you pay extra for these thrones.
The Corsair is longer and wider than the MKC it replaces, so rear seat passengers get a fair shake. But this is a compact vehicle so don’t expect Lincoln limo seating back there. The rear seat slides fore and aft through a 15-cm range so you can prioritize people or cargo room. That said, the cargo space is quite commodious even with the rear seat in its rear-most position.
All the major players in this segment are equipped with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing 240-255 horsepower, mated to an eight or nine-speed automatic transmission and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system as standard equipment. The “base’ ($44,200) Corsair comes with a 250-horsepower 2.0-litre engine driving the front wheels.
The Germans offer a six-cylinder upgrade. The Corsair I drove had the available 295-horse four-cylinder, all-wheel-drive and a raft of options that pushed the price to $67,725, including taxes. That’s up there, but not out of line with similarly equipped competitors.
The engine is a quiet partner in all situations outside of the sustained use of wide-open throttle. Thanks to the turbo there is a good amount of low-end grunt, more than adequate for getting away from the lights, joining traffic from an on-ramp and passing on uphill grades. It will move the Corsair from rest to 100 km/h in six seconds flat, a perfectly acceptable number. It is a pretty thrifty unit as well. I averaged 9.8 litres/100 km during a week of mixed city/highway driving in cold winter conditions.
The Corsair is small enough to be comfy in the city, yet it copes very well with wide open roads and long distances. The tuning of everything from the steering to the suspension is unique to Lincoln. The independent rear suspension makes a considerable contribution to the excellent dynamics. It handles rough roads almost as well as smooth ones and remains flat in all but the most aggressive cornering efforts.
The competition has the advantage of brand recognition and respect, something Lincoln is still trying to re-establish. The Corsair should go a long way in that direction. It is well built, well-equipped and laden with high-tech features and world-class luxury. But, just like the competition, beware the option sheet. Prices can get up there pretty quickly.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2020 Lincoln Corsair AWD
As tested: $67,725 including freight
360-Degree Camera, Active Park Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, Reverse Brake Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist, including Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering, Speed Limit Recognition; Blind Spot Detection with Cross-Traffic Alert, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane-Keeping System, Rear View Camera and LED headlights with Automatic High-Beams.
31-cm touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto, Waze capable navigation, traffic, weather and map updates,
Pristine white metallic Tri-Coat paint $850, Equipment group 202A, $11,350. Includes heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, windshield wiper de-icer, Co-Pilot 360 Plus package, (automatic high beams, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, dynamic brake support, lane keep assist and alert, blind spot information system with cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with stop/start, lane centering, speed sign recognition; 360-degree camera with front washer, active park assist, front sensing system, evasive steer assist, reverse brake assist, Technology package, remote start, dynamic handling package, $11,350; all-weather floor liners, $175; heads-up display, $1,500; 20-in machined aluminum wheels, $1,150
Engine: 2.3-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder, 295 horsepower, 310 lb.-ft. of torque, regular fuel
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive
NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 11.1 / 8.2
Length: 4,587 mm
Width: 1,935 mm
Wheelbase: 2,710 mm
Weight: 1,747 kgs