Christopher Little

Sanctuary: 2020 Lincoln Corsair

Debuted at the New York International Auto Show, the 2020 Corsair replaces the MKC as Lincoln’s small luxury SUV. Built on the same platform that underpins the all-new Ford Escape, the Corsair attempts to bring Navigator-level luxury to new buyers. By paying careful attention paid to design and materials, Lincoln has delivered a sanctuary on wheels.

In sparkling Pristine White Metallic, the 2020 Corsair presents as a sophisticated and elegant SUV. The smooth curves and crisp body lines are a welcome change from some of the competition’s busy styling. Gloss black pillars and privacy glass disguise the visual height and chrome trim accents the falling roofline. Welcome lighting fades up as you approach with the key in your pocket, hinting at the experience to come. But the best part of the Corsair comes once you open the door.

Our Corsair Reserve tester features the stunning Beyond Blue Interior Package, an option that outfits the cabin’s leather-covered surfaces in a lovely shade of blue with white trim. And when you open the door, those aren’t the typical annoying beeps you’re used to hearing. Lincoln recorded the Detroit Symphony Orchestra playing several unique chimes for use in the Corsair as warnings for things like open doors or unbuckled seat belts. The horizontal design of the interior and cantilevered console provide a feeling of openness without moving the controls out of reach. Unfortunately, the infotainment screen’s placement and size make it feel like an afterthought. Abundant interior lighting and a fully digital dash screen offer several configurations to match cabin visuals to the driver’s mood. Front occupants enjoy 24-way heated and cooled seats with massage capability. They’re extraordinarily comfortable, though not quite as sophisticated as the Navigator’s 30-way seats. Rear occupants make due with heated seats, though the second row does tilt and slide, offering surprising comfort and exceptional legroom. The massive glass sunroof adds plenty of light to the cabin as well.

The Corsair comes standard with a 2.0T engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. Our tester featured the optional all-wheel-drive system and 2.3T engine, good for 280hp and 310lb-ft torque. But as with the design and interior, the driving experience is more focused on serenity than sportiness. An all-new rear suspension is designed to absorb impacts and provide a smooth ride. Despite the large wheels and slim sidewalls, the Corsair delivers a comfortable and fairly connected ride. Not only does the ride help filter out the world around you, Lincoln engineered the Corsair’s body to do the same. A dual-wall dashboard, dual-pane glass, and Active Noise Control keep the cabin so quiet, you’re left hearing the air flow over the door seals. Until, that is, you turn on the radio.

I’m not Limited Slip Blog’s leading audiophile, but I have heard a good sound system or two in my years behind the wheel. The 14-speaker Revel audio system in the Corsair is something special. Crisp bright highs, deep lows, and almost no perceptible muddiness in the mid-range left me charging an old iPod (remember those?) and digging deep into my catalog to find new delights in old music. And for the first time in quite a while, I found myself behind the wheel not for the drive, but for the serenity of the cabin. With the global pandemic forcing me to work from home for the better part of 7 months, I lost the 25 minute buffer between the two phases of my day. That transitional time allowed me to focus in or decompress. Without it, home life bled into work, and work bled into home life.

The Corsair became my buffer; a short drive in the morning for a drive-thru coffee, a longer drive after work to enjoy the sunset. With the driver’s seat set for a hot massage, the Revel sound system cranked high, and the sun rising or setting thru the windscreen, it was my escape. It wasn’t all perfect, however. When fully optioned, the as-tested price of $60k is incredibly difficult to justify for the segment. We also experienced a few electronic gremlins, temporarily preventing us from adjusting our lumbar support or disabling the entry assist capability of the steering wheel. The later meant we had to manually adjust the wheel down and telescope it out each time we started the car. This went on for several days until both features suddenly began working again. But the Corsair was a safe place to be and a reason to leave the house. A buffer between work and home, and a new way to enjoy the “outside” world in a safe way. Before the ad campaign even launched, the 2020 Lincoln Corsair was my sanctuary.

-Christopher Little

2020 Lincoln Corsair AWD Reserve$44,830
Equipment Group 202A$10,290
Pristine White Metallic$695
Beyond Blue Interior Package$500
Heads-Up Display$1,700
Reserve Appearance Package$1,600
Destination Charges$995
As-Tested Price$60,610

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