Lincoln's top-selling AWD Corsair is a compelling choice in the highly competitive compact SUV market
It’s been a long time since we had the privilege of testing a Lincoln. And the 2021 Lincoln Corsair compact AWD SUV we spent a week with, proved to be impressive.
Corsair is offered in base, Reserve and Grand Touring PHEV plug-in hybrid models. We tested the Reserve that was exceptionally equipped with the latest technological and safety features.
One particular feature is that Corsair owners can use their smartphones to lock/unlock the car, start the engine, open the lifgate, re-set the driver’s seat if someone else used the SUV, and other niceties.
Aside from the PHEV model, Corsair offers a choice of two engines. A 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder with 250-hp and 275 lb/ft of torque, or the tested 2.3-liter, turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that generates 295-hp and 310 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 21 city, 28-highway mpg. Both engines couple to an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
So powered, Corsair felt like it had a V6 under the hood and has a tow capacity of 3,000 pounds. It had good acceleration from a standing stop and during highway passing maneuvers. We might add here that while driving with an open drivers’ window, the auto folding outside mirrors create a whop-whop sound. This isn’t unique as other carmakers have had the same sound with their particular designs.
The transmission gear selector is a horizontal keyboard-type array of push buttons for P, R, N, D. They reside on the vertical stack that’s situated above the audio controls and below the park assist switch.
This brings us to the upscale interior that has a low 19-inch step-in. Heated/cooled front seats are exceptionally padded with extended under thigh support that helps relieve driving fatigue on long trips. Added to that, wood trim adds to the car’s warm ambience.
Corsair’s HVAC controls are set on a floating console within the vertical stack. They’re large, easy to operate with selections displayed on Corsair’s 8-inch split-screen touchscreen feature. It serves Lincoln’s Connect infotainment system, 4G Wi-Fi, rearview camera, audio and more.
Upon turning off the ignition, the display gives a notice to check the back seat. This is a safety effort - and a big concern particularly in summer - to insure small children are not left in the seats when leaving the car. Yes, I know. How could parents forget their children in the car? But it unfortunately happens.
Over on the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, it includes a large driver information display that offers alerts, functions and drive modes such as Excite (for Sport), Normal, Slippery, Deep Conditions and Conserve, all of which are selected via a rotary dial on the console.
Corsair is also equipped with a smartphone charger that is uniquely placed inside the side of the console box. We presume Lincoln engineers ran out space elsewhere so the box provided the only available space.
Back seats are very comfy for two adults or three tweens. They slide fore/aft six inches to increase leg room, or for added cargo space. The rear of the console thoughtfully holds separate HVAC controls for rear seat passenger comfort.
Corsair’s cargo area has a low 28-inch loading lift-over and offers 27.5 cubic feet of space with the rear seatbacks upright. The area measures 34 inches deep, 43 wide and 28.5 high. Press two buttons and the seatbacks power down to extend cargo loading depth to 65 inches.
Beneath the cargo floor is a space saver spare tire around which there are bins to stow small items out of sight.
As for ride, Corsair is especially quiet and smooth on 20-inch Continental tires that gets help from its adaptive suspension that soaks up roadway imperfections.
Handling is responsive with only a smidgen of body lean in sharp turns taken at speed. Overall, Corsair is a pleasure to drive and ride in.
Standard features are numerous. To name a few, a panoramic sunroof, lane keeping assist, auto high beams, blind spot detection, pre-collision assist, SOS post crash system and many more.
Extra cost options include Equipment Group 201A ($4,200) that adds heated front/rear seats, heated steering wheel, 360-degree camera, active park assist, adaptive cruise, Co-Pilot 360 and more.
Other extra’s include adaptive suspension ($700); spare tire ($150); 24-way leather front seats ($1,100); technology package ($3,000) that includes head-up display, phone as a key, wireless charging pad; and Sport Package ($2,500) that includes 20-inch bright aluminum wheels.
Add all that to the base price of $45,090 plus delivery and the nicely equipped Corsair test car bottom-lined at $58,430. Now that’s a far cry from the price of a Ford Escape on which it is based. But Corsair far and above exceeds Escape in class, comfort and size.
And to further its attractiveness, Corsair achieved the government’s top 5-star overall safety rating, plus five for driver/passenger frontal crash, five for front/rear seat side crash and four for rollover. All impressive safety scores.
If in the market for a compact AWD SUV (it also comes in FWD), Corsair deserves a serious look and comparison. You’ll find it’s a compelling choice that’s competitively priced.