The 2020 Lincoln Corsair crossover represents what may well satisfy a wide range of harried urban parents and professionals: It’s a compact, relatively extroverted crossover utility vehicle on the outside, but inside it alms to be a calming “sanctuary for the senses.”
The Corsair is a new nameplate for Lincoln, but the form factor replaces the MKC in the lineup. It’s built on the same new modular platform—and on the same wheelbase—as the 2020 Ford Escape, and it carries a similar approach in moving to a somewhat lower, sportier, and more carlike stance.
The Corsair’s design is the result of some very different design strategies within Lincoln that started with the attractive, cohesive new Navigator and Aviator SUVs. Like those two models, the Corsair aims to be seductive and dynamic on the outside, with a very pronounced nearly straight beltline and blacked-out side pillars. In the Corsair’s case, it also gets lots of surfacing that plays with light and includes a broad S-curve within the sheet metal. Its front and rear styling is more chiseled and boxed off than its MKC predecessor, but the Corsair retains the wrap-around clamshell liftgate.
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Inside, the Corsair is “a sanctuary of calm,” with an emphasis on the horizontal in the dash and climate-control vents. Three serene new colors (Beyond Blue, Cashew, and Medium Slate) help with that, An 8.0-inch infotainment screen now stands tall atop the dash in the middle, but with the center-console controls down below and carries a similar gloss-black facing, it all fits together. If we had a beef with the theme it would be that for being calm there’s still a lot of brightwork inside.
Like the MKC, the Corsair can be front- or all-wheel drive, with different turbo-4 engines. Power is up slightly for 2020 to what Lincoln anticipates will be 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque for the 2.0-liter version and 280 hp and 310 lb-ft for the 2.3-liter, which is AWD-only. So far, all versions of the Corsair come with an 8-speed automatic transmission, but Lincoln has said that a plug-in hybrid will join the lineup at a later date.
Lincoln claims that the all-wheel-drive system is new versus the system it used previously. It disconnects the rear wheels in some situations for better efficiency but can send power to the rear wheels before the wheels slip, based on a range of factors including road conditions. The Corsair rides on a rear integral-bush multi-link suspension that’s specially designed for this vehicle, with more wheel travel and a soft, comfortable ride.
All versions of the 2020 Corsair have five drive modes: Normal, Excite, Slippery, Deep Conditions, and Conserve. Like the MKC, the top model in the lineup will include multi-mode continuous damping that will work in concert with those settings.
Compared to the MKC, the Corsair is about 2 inches longer, 2 inches wider, and 1 inch lower overall. It’s built on a 0.8-inch longer, 106.7-inch wheelbase shared with the new Ford Escape. Heated 10-way power front seats with driver memory settings are a standard feature, as is active noise control, which helps mask boom and road noise while a special composite dash insulator cuts out more engine noise.
The front seats on top-spec versions are offer 24-way adjustability, plus massage functions. Rear seats slide fore and aft 6 inches, and cargo volume is a generous 28 cubic feet behind the rear seatbacks—with a standard power liftgate and a low cargo floor that for suitcases to be stacked on their side. With the rear seatbacks folded forward, there are 58 cubic feet of space.
The Corsair will also be one of the first vehicles after the Lincoln Navigator and the Tesla Model 3 to offer a phone-based key feature, which is called Phone As A Key. By registering a smartphone, the vehicle will automatically unlock on approach, start the car, and change a list of up to 80 customizable settings to match what that driver prefers. The exterior keypad acts as a backup and can access vehicle starting via the center touchscreen.
The Lincoln Co-Pilot360 feature set covers the safety bases, with forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and active lane control. Co-Pilot360 Plus bundles in a long list of additional driver-assistance features including adaptive cruise control, speed-sign recognition, a front sensing system, and a semi-automated parking system.
The Sync 3 infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the base sound system comes with SiriusXM compatibility. Every Corsair also has Lincoln Connect and a 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot.
Noteworthy options include a windshield-projected head-up display that’s polarized, so as not to distract passengers, and a wireless charging pad that’s included in the side, not the bottom, of the center console to accommodate a wider range of phones. There’s also an available hands-free liftgate system, power-folding (and manual sliding) second-row seats, 14-speaker Revel audio, and a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade.
The 2020 Lincoln Corsair reaches Lincoln dealerships nationwide in fall 2019.