This Is It: The 2020 Lincoln Corsair Quietly Takes Flight
Lincoln’s luxury SUV lineup is now complete.
Lincoln has not so quietly rolling been out a new "quiet flight" catchphrase for its lineup, and it's one we heard multiple times during our preview of the all-new 2020 Lincoln Corsair on the eve of the 2019 New York auto show. Visions of aerodynamic gliders and deft ballerinas taking flight dance in our heads. As far as marketing speak goes, it's actually not too bad.
But as we all know, once you unlock the Corsair with your smartphone and finally get behind the wheel, all that messaging goes out the window. It's about what Lincoln can bring to the small crossover segment that other aspiring luxury marques don't, what it can offer new customers aiming to go upscale and empty nesters looking to downsize.
The 2020 Corsair serves as a bookend to Lincoln's SUV lineup, its smallest offering now joining the Nautilus (medium), Aviator (large), Navigator (XL), and Navigator L (XXL). And they all have real names! Lincoln says Corsair is inspired by the Latin word cursus, meaning journey, although the term is also much more commonly defined as a pirate or a type of pirate ship. Maybe a pirate on a journey?
Engines and Sound
Bur Corsair now also means a compact, front-drive crossover with available on-demand all-wheel drive. Powering the new Lincoln on its journeys will be two turbocharged four-cylinder engines from the Ford shelf and massaged for duty here, a 2.0-liter with an estimated 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque and a 2.3-liter with 280 horsepower and 310 lb-ft, both of which are mated to an eight speed automatic transmission. The AWD system, which activates when traction gets dicey, will be an option with the smaller engine and standard with the 2.3-liter. Lincoln also says the Corsair will eventually get a plug-in-hybrid option, but details on that will be announced later. (For clues, you can check out the setup Ford is installing in the all-new Escape.)
In keeping with the "quiet flight" theme, Corsair chief engineer John Jraiche made a point to let us know about the vehicle's dual-panel firewall that features a gap in its middle to help keep the noise down in the cabin, a goal also furthered by other noise-canceling tricks and additional insulation. Fitted to the rear of the 2020 Lincoln Corsair chassis is a specially engineered multilink setup referred to as a rear integral bush suspension that Lincoln claims will further isolate passengers from bumps and bruises of road impacts—a setup that helps distinguish it from its Ford Escape mechanical cousin. You can also set up the Corsair using one of five drive modes (Normal, Excite, Slippery, Deep Conditions, Conserve) that alter transmission shift points, steering feel, anti-lock brake response, and other settings.
When you first glance at the Corsair (which replaces the MKC), you're not going mistake it for anything other than a Lincoln. There's the bold, blingy, Lincoln-logo grille; headlights with L-shaped running lamps; and the CORSAIR badge bisecting the strong character line that runs the length of the vehicle. Unique touches include a sloping rear roof line; a deep, S-shaped stamping that defines the profile; thin cladding that runs along the rockers and traces the wheel wells; blacked-out pillars from A to D; and a super-horizontal rear-end aesthetic topped with a classy-looking hatch spoiler. Shhhhh—it's a quietly aggressive look that doesn't break any rules, but doesn't break any mirrors, either.
And then there's the interior, that quiet sanctuary styled with its own special brand of horizontality, according to chief designer David Woodhouse and his team. To get the cabin to its most impressive and expressive, you'll need to pile on the options, like the 24-way massaging front seats (10-way non-massagers are standard), 14-speaker Revel sound system optimized for the Corsair, panoramic sunroof with power shade, sliding second row, power-folding rear seats, 12.3-inch color instrument cluster, head-up display (that you can see with polarized sunglasses), and the phone-as-key feature. But even without all that good stuff, the Corsair still offers plenty of room front and back. We sat in the rear and six-footers won't bump their heads or their knees, thanks to 38.6 inches of legroom and 38.7 inches of headroom. Lincoln also demonstrated that four big suitcases would fit in the 28-cubic-foot cargo hold with the rear seats up. It expands to 58 cubes with them down.
Safety is also a big deal in the segment, and Lincoln takes a 360-degree approach with its Co-Pilot360 suite of technologies. The base setup has lane-keeping, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, and pre-collision assist, but option up to the Plus version and you get adaptive cruise with stop-go and lane-centering features, reverse brake assist, evasive-maneuver assist, and automatic parking assist that doesn't need any driver input.
Lincoln wasn't ready to talk pricing at the New York show, but it's not out of the realm to guess that the Corsair will start somewhere in the low $30Ks and easily option up to around $50,000 if you want all the good stuff. And let's be honest, that's what customers in the market for luxury crossovers demand, and what will help sell the 2020 Lincoln Corsair when it hits dealers this fall.