I’m beginning to think that the Lincoln brand is a lot like a cat. That is to say, there have been several times in recent memory when it looked like the brand was going to be killed off, only to have it resurge with seemingly endless lives to spare.
This is another one of those times. The brand had been struggling with mediocre sales over the past decade despite “help” from Matthew Mcconaughey .
But after a rebrand that includes real names as opposed to annoying alphanumeric, along with agreeable, fresh bold styling changes and a greater concentration of luxury and performance, Lincoln has certainly made good use of another one of its lives.
If the smallest SUV offered by the brand, the Corsair, is any indication Lincoln will be just fine for the foreseeable future.
The new corporate styling helps the Corsair stand out as it looks pretty much like a baby Aviator – that’s a good thing. The tail lights look like they were taken directly from a Porsche 911 and joy of joys, the turn signals blink in proper amber colour. Tasteful wheels, body lines and chrome help to complete the look.
When you step inside, it becomes clear that this is far from a simple rebranded Ford effort. Almost everything is unique to Lincoln from the styling, to the quality of materials to ergonomics. There’s real wood trim, for instance, along with plenty of soft touch surfaces and two-tone colour treatments everywhere.
The centre console jettisons outward making it a synch to reach all the knobs and hard buttons. And speaking of buttons, there’s one placed unusually on the steering wheel to operate the Bluetooth (see pic below). I can’t understand why Ford’s engineers would put a button here, but surprisingly I only accidentally hit it twice – far less than I thought I would.
One thing I love is the display which houses the speedo, odometer etc. You can configure it to take a most minimalist approach. This lessons the amount of information that would otherwise distract you.
Volvo tends to be king when it comes to seat comfort but Lincoln has developed a 24-way power seat that aims to take the crown. In theory, this should give literally anyone the opportunity to find the perfect seating position, but the options are so numerous that it is overwhelming and to be honest, even when I found the perfect fit, I still found the seats to be more on the firmer side.
Rear seats are adequate – this is a compact SUV after all, but the can slide rearward by 15 kms for added knee and leg room if needed. Cargo capacity is quite good for the segment with 27.6 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up.
There are two engine options available in the new Corsair including a 2.0 litre four cylinder which churns out 250 horses. There’s also a turbocharged 2.3 litre – which was fitted to my tester – that produces 295 horsepower. Both are mated to an 8-speed automatic. Without having tried the 2.0, I can safely say that the 2.3t is the engine you’ll want. It’s plenty peppy and worlds well with the transmission. That said, its direct competitors still offer V6s which of course offer more power.
The Corsair comes with independent 4-wheel suspension which means it provides the amount of comfort you’d expect from a Lincoln, along with unexpected performance in the bends. It is far from a corner carving 911, despite the copy-cat tail light treatment, but if you’d like to have a bit of fun after dropping the kids off at school the Corsair will oblige.
As you’d expect, technology is not wanting here. You can get plenty of safety tech such as Lincoln’s Copilot 360 Plus. It provides features such as active park assist, reverse brake assist, 360 surround view camera, evasive steering assist, adaptive cruise control and much more. Of course, Apply CarPlay and Android Auto are also available
When equipped with the 2.3 litre engine, the Corsair is rated at 11.1 L/100 kms in the city and 8.2 highway. After a weeks worth of driving in cold weather, I returned 10.5 L/100 kms. Not bad, but I suspect you could do better in warmer temperatures.
The Corsair isn’t cheap, but it is not completely out of line with its competitors, some of which don’t offer nearly as much standard equipment for the price. But as mentioned before, if this is the direction Lincoln is headed, then they are certainly making good use of their extra lives.
It is worthy of a place on your shopping list if you’re in the market.
Corsair Base Price: $43,950
Price As Tested: $65,625
-Attractive styling inside and out
-Luxury not wanting
-Good performance and comfort
-That’s a lot to pay for a four cylinder
-Odd button placement on steering wheel