Base pricing for the Lincoln Corsair starts at $45,200 in Canada, $36,105 in the US.
The Corsair is the evolution of what started out as the 2015 MKC.
The Corsair behaves like one of the big boys.
In fact, the money Lincoln saved by canning the MKZ and Continental has clearly been reinvested in the SUVs. There can be no doubt that the Corsair, Nautilus, Aviator, and Navigator are compelling luxury SUVs thanks to the extra capital. On the topic of money, the Lincoln Corsair is great but the endorsement comes with a warning.
The stakes are high in all segments for all automakers, or quite nearly. For fun, let’s breakdown all the major players (current and future) from the small luxury SUV segment: Alfa Romeo Tonale, Audi Q3, BMW X1 and X2, Cadillac XT4, Genesis GV70, Jaguar E-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLA and GLB, Porsche Macan, Range Rover Evoque, Volvo XC40 and the subject of this review, the Lincoln Corsair. This is incontrovertible proof that this category is important.
The Reserve, because it’s a Lincoln
It’s paramount that these vehicles be good as, as they are gateway products to their respective brands, their main job is to keep customers happy and in the brand. This explains why the new 2021 Lincoln Corsair is loaded with a large array of features and technologies. Although the base Standard model is well endowed, the Reserve impresses as amenity is too good for it. At $50,500, the value is decent.
With equipment such as a 12.3-inch digital cluster display, a 13-speaker Revel audio system, Comfort 10-way power driver and passenger leather seats, and numerous active safety features, The Reserve is worthy of consideration. But do stay away from options as they quickly flip the Corsair into a different segment where it no longer competes as strongly.
Comfortable to drive thanks to an option
As standard, the 2021 Lincoln Corsair is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. With the included 8-speed automatic transmission and intelligent AWD, acceleration and overall performance is agreeable. It’s far from fuel-efficient however as the majority of the mileage I covered with the small SUV was at highway speeds and it returned nearly 11.5L/100km.
To drive the Corsair is to appreciate the efforts put forth by Lincoln in order to make their vehicles deliver a more premium experience. Despite its compact outer dimensions, the Corsair behaves almost like its larger siblings. There’s a plushness to the ride, a comforting level of compliance in the damping which is what luxury should be. The catch is that this is made possible by the optional adaptive suspension only offered with the Reserve trim.
In other respects, steering is extremely light, not luxurious, simply over-assisted no matter the drive mode. On that topic, there are many to select from and unless you remember to rotate the selector wheel to “excite” in a heated moment of driving, “normal” is all you will ever need or use. The 8-speed automatic transmission, on the other hand, is supremely smooth and responsive.
The options game is strong
Now, about the options. My tester included the Elements package (heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, cooled front seats), the Technology package (head-up display, wireless charging), the Monochromatic Package (Asher grey paint), the aforementioned adaptive suspension, and the Perfect Position (24-Way) Power Driver and Passenger Seat, and more for a grand total of $66,000. Not only is the Corsair Reserve priced close to the Nautilus but the as-tested model is about $3,000 from the impressive Aviator. And not to mention a serious helping of the competition.
One option that should have merit are the Perfect Position seats but the issue is even a full week into driving the Corsair, I’d still not found a “perfect position”. I’d made the same comment with the Aviator a while back. Thankfully, they also have a massaging function but I’m not convinced they are worth the investment.
Another selection is the Monochromatic Package. This one however does the Corsair good. Lincoln has made sure that the Corsair looks the part at the very least. It in fact could be mistaken for a shrunken Nautilus or Aviator, to its credit. The SUV’s taut lines are generally unadorned thanks to the optional group for a very clean appearance.
Engaging but not quite enough
Despite the praise, however, the 2021 Lincoln Corsair brings little to the table in the form of consequential arguments in its favour. As I wrote earlier, these vehicles have to be good and while the Corsair meets the criteria, I would spend $55,000 on a Cadillac XT4, Mercedes-Benz GLB, or Volvo XC40. Considering that the majority will be leased, reliability is not a dominant consideration and that these three vehicles have more character, they are more interesting.