- Serene interior
- Beautiful exterior
- Good power from turbo-4s
- Little things make a big difference
- Not very fuel-efficient
- Options add up quickly
- More of a tall hatchback
- Lacks sportiness that others offer
features & specs
The 2020 Lincoln Corsair capitalizes on calm—and caps out near $60,000.
The 2020 Lincoln Corsair is the salve to increasingly complicated luxury crossovers.
Who decided a luxury car needed to be complicated in the first place?
With the 2020 Corsair, Lincoln has a more refined small crossover to compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Acura—in luxury features, driving refinement and even price.
We give the Corsair a 6.8 on our overall scale before safety is figured in. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The 2020 Corsair is related to the Ford Escape but wears tailored, slim-fitting formal wear on its exterior. It’s all the looks of the bigger Aviator, sized-down for a night out in the city.
Inside, the Corsair works better within Lincoln’s lineup of crossovers and SUVs, complete with a horizontal pushbutton shifter that’s similarly elegant.
Under the hood, a 2.0-liter or 2.3-liter turbo-4 are available, the latter only available only with all-wheel drive. An 8-speed automatic drives the front or all four wheels and blends seamlessly into the background. We’d be fine with the 250-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo-4 almost every day, but admit that the 295-hp 2.3-liter turbo-4 has more passing power.
Regardless of what’s under the hood, the Corsair’s four-wheel independent suspension coddles passengers and an optional adaptive suspension toggles between soft and softer.
Compared to the Escape, the Corsair weighs about 200 pounds more, which comes down to more sound-deadening material, high-quality materials, and bigger wheels.
The Corsair delivers a quiet and calming ride for up to five adults with more than 23 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. Lincoln nails the little details like elegant chimes recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which go a long way to making the Corsair feel like a luxury crossover.
It’s richly appointed inside in just about any trim level, but spendy versions get just rich.
Every Corsair gets 18-inch wheels, keyless ignition, a power liftgate, active safety features, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats that are power-adjustable, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility with two USB ports. Base versions cost $36,940, including destination.
All the way up in the luxury crossover stratosphere, the Corsair can cost more than $60,000 with the uprated turbo-4, all-wheel drive, 24-way adjustable seats, massagers, and 20-inch wheels. Even in top trims, the 2020 Corsair isn’t overly complex, but how we feel about a $60,000 Lincoln small crossover? That’s complicated.
2020 Lincoln Corsair
With the 2020 Corsair, Lincoln’s newest style hits its stride.
Lincoln’s style has come a long way from just a few years ago.
With the 2020 Corsair, Lincoln drapes an elegant shape across a small body and completes its crossover lineup that now includes attractive vehicles on both ends of the size spectrum.
The Corsair’s exterior lines taper at the front and rear in ways the MKC never managed. Inside, the Corsair is similarly elegant, bathed in ambient LED lights and horizontal shapes that high-speed scrub through today’s on-trend looks. We give the Corsair two points above average for the outside and one more for the inside. It’s an 8. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The exterior of the Corsair is more sculpted than the related Ford Escape, Lincoln’s sinewy lines run from the front fenders all the way to the rear tailgate in an unbroken window line that doubles as a hood line. The Lincoln grille is grafted onto the Corsair with good effect here, a Reserve appearance package can sub out the honeycomb pattern with a stippled grille that we’re not entirely sold on.
The front is helped by a wide and tall body-color bumper that attractively surrounds the Corsair’s daytime running lights and forward-facing sensors.
In back, the Corsair goes all-in on all-horizontal. A wide strip of LED lights span the width of the tailgate and a small chrome strip floats in the middle, below the window.
Inside, Lincoln saved some of its best looks for its smallest crossover. The Corsair’s pushbutton shifter, which it shares with all other Lincoln vehicles, is tucked underneath the big 8.0-inch touchscreen.
Although the Corsair doesn’t lack any tech, the smallest Lincoln presents it in a pared-down way that’s pleasing and understated.
2020 Lincoln Corsair
The 2020 Corsair’s performance is math we can understand: two engines to choose from go into one comfortable ride.
For now, a pair of turbo-4s power the 2020 Lincoln Corsair, although a plug-in hybrid powertrain is in the mail.
We like both turbo-4s, although we’d be happy with the base 2.0-liter turbo-4 in nearly every circumstance.
Starting from an average score of 5, we give the Corsair points above average for its supple ride—especially when equipped with optional adaptive dampers. It’s a 6 for performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Although the Corsair is related to the Ford Escape, the two only share a 2.0-liter turbo-4 for now. (It’s possible that the plug-in hybrid Corsair gets the same powertrain as the plug-in hybrid Escape, although Lincoln hasn’t yet detailed that version.)
The 2.0-liter turbo-4 that’s standard on all models except the pricey Corsair Reserve II makes 250 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. That’s shifted through an 8-speed automatic to drive the front wheels, or all four wheels when optionally equipped.
The Corsair weighs about 200 pounds more than the Escape, but the 2.0-liter turbo-4 still feels frisky. Its 0-60-mph time isn’t officially listed by Lincoln—and we’re not sure straight-line acceleration is the point of the Corsair—but our rumps roughly measure about seven seconds to 60 mph from a standstill. Like most turbo-4 engines, the Corsair’s pull is strongest at lower speeds—around town, for instance—from about zero to 40 mph. All-wheel drive adds 140 pounds to the overall mass and all-weather confidence.
The optional 2.3-liter turbo-4 spins out 295 hp and 310 lb-ft and is paired to the same 8-speed automatic as the smaller engine. The bigger engine’s benefit isn’t immediately noticeable; it is most apparent at highway passing speeds, say 40 mph or faster. It has more pull up hills and thrusts forward more readily, but we say that more drivers will be more than happy with the base engine.
Regardless of what’s under the hood, the Corsair uses an 8-speed automatic that blends into the background in normal driving. Tipped into “Excite,” which is Lincoln-speak for Sport, the transmission skips the last two gears and holds each cog longer for better acceleration. It’s a mixed blessing: the transmission keeps both engines on the boil longer, but both turbo-4s can be buzzy past 4,000 rpm.
The steering and ride are both better than we expected in the Corsair. Even riding on the tall 20-inch tires, the Corsair smothered the road and isolated riders from drama outside thanks to the optional adaptive dampers and a four-wheel independent suspension. Only a small hint of tire drone filtered into the cabin and Corsair steered confidently around the hills of northern California with a light touch behind the wheel, befitting the crossover’s luxury aim.
2020 Lincoln Corsair
Comfort & Quality
Comfortable, quiet and spacious, the 2020 Corsair pays dividends in Lincoln’s investment in its details.
The 2020 Lincoln Corsair wraps a luxury interior and exterior around a compact crossover body and elevates it into luxury-car territory with handsome materials.
Starting from an average score of 5, the Corsair earns points above average for its comfortable front seats, a spacious cargo area, and quality materials throughout the quiet cabin. It’s an 8 for comfort. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Lincoln grafts a handsome crossover (Eds note: It’s more of a tall-hatchback, we say) body on a wheelbase that measures 106.7 inches from wheel to wheel and 180.6 inches from head to toe.
Five adults will fit comfortably in the crossover, thanks to clever packaging and a sliding second row.
The front-row seats are the most comfortable and are adjustable up to 24 ways in top trims with multiple adjustments for thigh support and lumbar cushions. An optional in-seat massage system melts away the stress from traffic, and the seats are heated as standard equipment—cooled with enough options ticked.
The rear seats slide fore and aft by several inches to expand leg room up to 38.6 inches when pushed all the way back. Three abreast is possible provided the rear passengers are normal build. The bottom cushions can be thinly padded, but the seat backs can slightly recline for long-haul comfort.
Behind the second row, the Corsair carries 27.6 cubic feet of cargo. The Corsair isn’t as tall-riding as its predecessor and its cargo floor is low and easy to load. Every Corsair gets a power-open liftgate and a hands-free tailgate is available that can open by kicking a foot underneath when hands are full.
Inside, the Corsair is shod with soft-touch materials, wood, and leather befitting the crossover’s price tag of more than $40,000 in most configurations. The center console of the Corsair has redundant hard buttons for climate controls, located just underneath the pushbutton shifter. It may sound like a lot of buttons, but it’s more intuitive than Lincolns have been in the past.
One small note: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra recorded several chimes for Lincoln, including a seatbelt chime, door chime, and regular notifications. It works very well, and is a small detail that Lincoln paid attention to—and it paid off.
2020 Lincoln Corsair
The 2020 Corsair lacks official crash-test scores.
The 2020 Lincoln Corsair hasn’t yet been rated by the IIHS or the NHTSA. Our official safety score will wait for another day when those scores come in. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
All Corsairs get Lincoln’s suite of active safety features that include automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors. An added suite of safety features adds driver-assistance systems that can keep the Corsair centered in its lane for longer, a surround-view camera system, and automatic parking assistance.
A head-up display on the Corsair is optional, but also useful. Its big, bright display on the windshield is far enough ahead that drivers won’t need to look down as often at the instrument cluster and we liked its useful information, which included navigation information and speed-limit info.
2020 Lincoln Corsair
The luxury items list is high in the 2020 Corsair compact crossover. Unfortunately, so is its price in top trims.
The 2020 Lincoln Corsair wants for few features, but the crossover can have a spit-take high price in top trims.
The Corsair is available in Standard and Reserve trim levels with a handful of option packages scattered among the two. Base cars cost $36,940, including destination, while top models can crest $60,000.
Every Corsair gets 18-inch wheels, keyless ignition, a power liftgate, active safety features (that we cover above), synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats that are power-adjustable, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility with two USB ports. We give the Corsair an 8 for features with added points for good base features, its good warranty, and another for an 8.0-inch touchscreen on all models. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
We wouldn’t stray far from the Standard versions because they’re better values in the lineup.
All-wheel drive is a $2,200 option but adds a $1,200 convenience option that adds painted 18-inch wheels, ambient lighting, a split-folding rear seat, and navigation. At just over $40,000 with all-wheel drive, the 2020 Corsair with just a few upgrades makes its best case for value with or without all-wheel drive.
At the top end, the 2020 Corsair Reserve with everything thrown at it chimes in for more than $60,000. It includes the uprated 2.3-liter turbo-4, all-wheel drive, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 20-inch wheels, 24-way adjustable heated and cooled front seats, adaptive suspension, a head-up display, more driver-assistance features, a panoramic sunroof, power-folding rear seats, leather upholstery, wireless smartphone charger, front-seat massagers, and an appearance package.
Those tony Corsairs rival established luxury compact crossovers in features but doesn’t undercut many in price.
Lincoln’s warranty is relatively generous with 4 years/50,000 miles covered bumper to bumper. Lincoln’s app for smartphones can lock and unlock doors, start the Corsair, and schedule maintenance. Lincoln also offers a few incentives for using its app, including points for scheduled maintenance, similar to frequent flyer miles.
All Corsairs are equipped with a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software.
The standard Lincoln system is intuitive and easy-to-follow, with bright menus and an interface that swipes between main menus. Some functions are buried in menus, such as the in-seat massagers, and the steering wheel-mounted voice recognition button is placed high on the wheel—at about 10 o’clock—that we kept inadvertently turning on. The native software should be easy for most people to use, but we found smartphone-mirroring software to be a little more intuitive to use in our drives.
Spend-up audio systems can add up to 14 speakers in the small Corsair cabin, filling it with rich sound that adds to the car’s luxury credentials.
Baked-in Waze compatibility without using CarPlay or Android Auto is a boon to city-dwellers who use the app to dodge traffic, which we appreciated.
2020 Lincoln Corsair
The 2020 Corsair manages respectable fuel-economy returns among competitors.
Turbo-4 powertrains don’t make the 2020 Lincoln Corsair especially frugal, but it’s on-par with many of its competitors.
The 2.0-liter turbo-4 and front-wheel drive 2020 Corsair is rated by the EPA at 22 mpg city, 29 highway, 25 combined. That’s a 4 on our fuel-economy scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Adding all-wheel drive doesn’t dent fuel economy from there. Lincoln says the 2.0-liter turbo-4 and AWD will be rated at 21/29/24 mpg when the EPA finishes its tally.
The more powerful 2.3-liter turbo-4 is only available with all-wheel drive and it is rated at 21/28/24 mpg.
Among luxury crossovers, the Corsair is competitive. The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Acura RDX are rated at 24 mpg combined in most configurations. The hybrid-powered Lexus NX300h is rated at 31 mpg combined, which is toward the top of the class.
Lincoln has confirmed a plug-in hybrid Corsair will be available later but did not specify when.