Review: 2020 Lincoln Corsair Is a Stylish & Powerful Compact Contender in a Competitive Field

Crowded field but Corsair don't care

Pros:

  • Turbo power and performance with a PHEV option coming in 2020
  • Roomy (and quiet) interior for a small sport utility
  • Sleek, bold styling unlike others in the segment
  • Loaded with standard tech and features (Co-Pilot 360)
  • Upcoming PHEV Corsair Grand Touring’s electric all-wheel drive system a first in the segment

Cons:

  • Enters a highly competitive, premium space with worthy contenders
  • Expensive packages to level up to more features
  • Large, protruding tablet style display not for everyone

Osoyoos, British Columbia – Unless you’ve been living under a rock, on another planet, or in your mom’s Camry since 2005, you know everybody is clamoring for SUVs. Leading this charge are the small utilities and crossovers – the fastest growing segment in the automotive market at the moment. 

Lincoln’s contribution is the new Corsair – a small and stylish premium hauler replacing the outgoing MKC which hit the market just six years ago with a refresh in 2019. The luxury brand is ditching the “M” nomenclature in favour of more bold, distinct names including the classic Navigator, new mid-size Aviator, and Nautilus crossover replacing the MKX. 

Now, finally, it’s the Corsair rounding out the luxury automaker’s suite of handsome utilities putting the more pricier German offerings on notice. 

New Corsair’s Performance and Handling

Powering the Corsair is a nimble 2.0L turbocharged engine making a respectable 250-hp and 280 ft.-lbs of torque. For more power, an available 2.3L turbo engine will bump things up to 295-hp and 310 lb.-ft. of torque, both options paired to a smooth-shifting 8-speed auto transmission.

Related: The 2020 Lincoln Corsair brings ‘quiet flight’ to a mid-size SUV

2020 LIncoln Corsair amee reehal
The compact Corsair is light on its feet backed by a 2.0L turbocharged engine making a respectable 250-hp and 280 ft.-lbs of torque. Expect a plug-in hybrid version coming in 2020 with the Corsair Grand Touring. Photo: Amee Reehal

Corsair Hybrid arriving Summer 2020

Ahead of the LA Auto Show in October, Lincoln also unveiled a new PHEV version of the small crossover with the Corsair Grand Touring which joins the larger Aviator Grand Touring plug-in hybrid in the lineup. 

Here’s a closer look at the Corsair Grand Touring from the LA debut.

The hybrid Corsair keeps efficiency top of mind but will still produce an impressive 266-hp of total output with an estimated 25 miles / 40 km of all-electric range. The gas component includes a 2.5L engine paired to an electric all-wheel drive system – the first vehicle in the segment to offer this.

On the road: how does the Corsair perform?

Our range-topping Corsair Reserve with AWD you see here got the larger 2.3L engine. For a small crossover, the nearly 300-hp is more than enough on the open road, providing ample power when needed, especially the 310 lb.-ft of torque on the highway when passing duties were in order.

Lincolns are known for their smooth ride – the 2020 Corsair is no exception. This nimble little ute sits on an adaptive suspension that anticipates every bump in the road while hugging those tight corners, all good for effortless handling and spirited agility. 

Our trek through the beautiful Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia in and around the town of Osoyoos with its windy roads through vineyards and mountains was the perfect place to put the Corsair to the test. 

2020 LIncoln Corsair front headlight
Our range-topping Corsair Reserve with AWD you see here got the larger 2.3L engine. For a small crossover, the nearly 300-hp is more than enough on the open road, providing ample power when needed. Photo: Amee Reehal

5 Drive modes

Elevating the on-road experience are five drive modes to suit the conditions. These include Normal, Conserve, Slippery, Deep Conditions, and Excite which stiffens things up for a sportier, well-handling experience.

Considering these drive modes are found in the larger luxury models including Navigator and Aviator, it’s pretty cool Lincoln is offering this in the compact Corsair as well.

This nimble little hauler sits on an adaptive suspension that anticipates every bump in the road while hugging those tight corners, all good for effortless handling and spirited agility. 

End of the day, the Corsair is a peppy, powerful little hauler in a premium package fit for empty nesters, or say, couples without kids (do we still call them D.I.N.K.s?). 

Head up display

The optional HUD is handy too, made even better as it’s visible from all angles. So, go ahead and wear those polarized sun-glasses to view the standard info like cruise control settings and lane-keep assist. This upgrade isn’t cheap, though, ringing at C$1,500 extra.

2020 Corsair Interior

Space is limited inside this compact SUV, as you’d expect, but Lincoln has done a great job maximizing real estate while making storage a priority – especially with the massive, optional glass roof above as seen in our tester (dubbed Panoramic Vista Roof by Lincoln).

Related: Best Small 2020 SUV and Crossovers

2020 LIncoln Corsair interior
Despite the smaller cabin you’d expect in a compact crossover, the Corsair feels airy with ample cargo throughout. Photo: Amee Reehal

Gone is the typical gear shifter replaced by buttons, which we know is nothing new. But the 2020 Corsair’s gear selector is neatly tucked away between vents and controls. Lincoln calls this their Piano Key Shifter – a fitting name, just don’t use like a piano.

Wireless phone chargers are more common in new vehicles these days, but to save space, the Corsair has a side clip design which saves space while preventing a phone from flopping around, which we all know is annoying. So, thank-you Lincoln for thinking this one through.

Ultra quiet cabin

The plush, premium materials throughout are evident; so is the stellar tranquility in the cabin via multiple sound-dampening technologies – something Lincoln does well and a nice addition to this smaller vehicle. 

But they take it a little further. Ok, a lot further with technology that uses strategically placed microphones throughout the cabin to listen for specific frequencies that contribute to noise. Once unwanted frequencies are discovered, the system cancels them out by producing opposing sound waves through the audio system speakers.

Even the Detroit Symphony Orchestra pitched in with six unique symphonic chimes which help provide a calming atmosphere.

2020 LIncoln Corsair interior seats
Hope you like comfortable seats. That’s how Lincoln rolls and the Corsair is no exception. Photo: Amee Reehal

Interior Options with Elements Package upgrade

Our 2020 Corsair Reserve AWD seen here got a hefty C$11,350 package adding a long list of interior features including:

  • Heated, ventilated seats
  • Heated rear seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Windshield wiper de-icer
  • 360 degree camera
  • Remote start system

Another C$175 also gave us the all-weather floor liner upgrade. 

For enhanced sound duties, Lincoln offers the optional 14-speaker Revel audio system which sounds great inside the tight, sound-proof environment. 

Lincoln Co-Pilot 360 Plus

Expect the 2020 Corsair to come with a nice list of standard tech and features part of the Co-Pilot 360 bundle. This includes:

  • Blind Spot Info System: cross-traffic alert system with traffic warnings
  • Pre-collision Assist with Auto Emergency Braking: automatic braking when needed via outside mounted cameras
  • Lane Centering System: tech to keep the Corsair within the lines without veering off
  • Rear View Camera: you guessed it, a camera mounted out back
  • Auto High-beam Headlights: based on the intensity of the light in front of the Corsair

Takeaway

No question, the Corsair dives into a crowded segment of premium compact utilities, despite living a previous life as the Lincoln MKC first introduced in 2013. But Lincoln’s stylish little hauler offers the goods for luxury shoppers seeking more than enough power with minimum 250-hp, stellar handling with the adaptive suspension, a spacious and ultra quiet cabin, plus a healthy list of standard features and tech including the Co-Pilot 360 bundle. 

Plus, with the Corsair Grand Touring slated to arrive in 2020, Lincoln feels its buyers will value a plug-in hybrid option as well.

Again, with worthy luxury competitors including rival Cadillac’s new XT4, the Volvo XC40, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and Audi Q3 all nipping at the Corsair’s heels, Lincoln’s new-ish entry can certainly hold its own.  

New Corsair Photo Gallery

© Amee Reehal

TRENDING NOW

Amee Reehalhttp://ameereehal.com/
Shooting motors professionally since film was a thing, Amee's work has been published in various outlets including NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, SuperStreet, GlobeDrive, MotorTrend, and others. He's a writer, editor at TractionLife.com, AJAC member, and full-time digital marketer at Traction Media working with national brands. Find him traveling, spending time with his kids and family. Or golfing, poorly.

UP NEXT

GET THE GOODS

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter for the latest. 2pm EST. Every Thursday. Let's Go.