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2021 Lincoln Corsair Review: More Than Just a Ford Escape

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Auto123 reviews the 2021 Lincoln Corsair.

Arriving on the market last year, the Corsair is the official replacement of the MKC in the Lincoln lineup. Lincoln is Ford's de-facto luxury division and several models across the two brands use common platforms. The Corsair is one of those, sharing many elements with the Ford Escape. Of course, as with all Lincoln products, finish, quality and luxury are what help the Corsair stand above.

The automaker has chosen in recent years to simplify its lineup. It has only one sedan, the MKZ (2020 model on the Lincoln Canada website); all its other vehicles are SUVs. Of those, the Corsair is the smallest, and above it sit the Nautilus, the Aviator and the gigantic, very luxurious Navigator.

Lincoln means luxury, and the pricing that comes with that. But the Corsair does a fine job introducing consumers to the Lincoln universe for a relatively reasonable base price, $45,200. For our test we drove the Reserve version of the 2021 Lincoln Corsair, offered at $65,950. There is, obviously, a substantial difference in price, and consumers will need to think about what they consider to be truly essential before choosing a version.

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2021 Lincoln Corsair, profile
Photo: Auto123.com
2021 Lincoln Corsair, profile

The exterior
Here the differences between the MKC and the Corsair are frankly minimal. They’re almost identical in size, the Corsair being just slightly larger than its predecessor. The front end has the same grille and the same type of headlamp, although both have been very lightly tweaked. Honestly, the Corsair has been on the market for two years now, and we still have a hard time differentiating it from an MKC on the road.

That said, Lincoln has also managed to make the Corsair look a little like an Aviator, which isn’t a bad thing. The compact SUV has internalized the elegance that characterizes its big brother.

In the back, it's the same story of… sameness. Aside from a few details, it's very difficult to tell the MKC from the Corsair. It's worth noting, however, that the Lincoln logo is positioned a little higher up and the rear light signature has been slightly modified. Finally, the window covers the entire rear part of the Corsair. These are the main changes that have accompanied the switch to a nautical-themed name.

2021 Lincoln Corsair, three-quarters rear
Photo: Auto123.com
2021 Lincoln Corsair, three-quarters rear

Inside
We’re happy to report there are far more significant differences here between the old MKC and the new Corsair. As we mentioned, the Corsair is an obvious blood relation of to the Aviator, and that’s clear inside. Unlike the MKC cabin, too Ford-inspired for many, the Corsair's interior exudes luxury and comfort, and all controls are accessible via buttons on the console.

Our Corsair Reserve tester was equipped with the optional Perfect Position seats, which allow you to customize the seat in 24 different ways, including a separate thigh-rest adjustment. With the massage functions in place, it's like you’re in a mini-Navigator!

In the back, there's enough room for three adults, though be warned comfort is less phenomenal than in front. It should also be noted that with the Corsair, the 60/40 rear seats can slide forward to provide more room for bulky items in the trunk.

2021 Lincoln Corsair, interior
Photo: Auto123.com
2021 Lincoln Corsair, interior

The drive
Overall, the Corsair's ride is focused above all on comfort. This is no god of thunder on the road, rather it knows how to transport occupants in the greatest comfort and silence - in short, what you expect from a luxury SUV. It’s worth noting however that our test model was equipped with the optional adaptive suspension system. This system uses sensors to monitor the movement of the suspension, body, steering wheel and brakes, all to adjust the suspension level in milliseconds.

In reality, this suspension is impressively efficient. It actually absorbs all the imperfections of the road to restore maximum comfort in the passenger compartment. We did not have the chance to test a model without this suspension, so we can’t comment on the driving experience in a Corsair equipped with the base settings.

2021 Lincoln Corsair, dashboard
Photo: Auto123.com
2021 Lincoln Corsair, dashboard

On-board tech
The Corsair comes standard with the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen and two USB ports; Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are installed on all versions. There's also an optional wireless charger, but it's located in the centre console. This location is not ideal because it is difficult to access.

Also as an option, your smartphone can also be used as a fob with the Lincoln Way application. This will allow you to remotely start your vehicle.

On the safety side, the Co-Pilot 360 technology suite with five route guidance functions is included as standard in all Corsairs. These functions include blind spot detection with cross-traffic warning, pre-crash assistance with automatic emergency braking, lane tracking system, rearview camera and headlights with automatic high beams.

For a small extra charge, you can add rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, lane centering and speed sign recognition, a 360-degree camera, and front and rear parking sensors. We could go on and on with lots of options that are available with this vehicle. As you can see, you can make your Corsair very luxurious, but expect to pay the price.

2021 Lincoln Corsair, front
Photo: Auto123.com
2021 Lincoln Corsair, front

The mechanics
The base model Corsair uses a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine making 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. We didn’t drive the model with this unit, instead our tester had the beefier 2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder developing 295 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Despite the raw power boost, the consensus is there's not much difference in performance between the two engines. Both engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that does an admirable job.

During our week-long test drive, we were also able to test the all-wheel drive system. The vehicle, equipped with good winter tires, provides all the comfort and safety needed during various comings and goings. The system switches seamlessly between FWD mode and all-wheel drive. In addition, the driver can choose between five different drive modes; Normal, Excite, Conserve, Slippery and Deep.

2021 Lincoln Corsair, three-quarters front
Photo: Auto123.com
2021 Lincoln Corsair, three-quarters front

Conclusion
The Lincoln Corsair, at least when equipped as when we drove it, offers luxury-level comfort and competes valiantly with models like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, which is saying something. The adaptive suspension impressed us with its ability to absorb all road irregularities. And the 2.3L engine is not stingy in terms of power; when you hit the gas pedal, it responds!

The only thing that cooled us ardour was the total price of our vehicle as equipped. $65,950 is hard to swallow, frankly. At that price, might as well go with a German model. However, the entry-level model at $44,700 is easier to recommend, especially if you’re looking to enter the Lincoln universe. Unless and until the automaker produces a smaller SUV, this is the port of entry.

We like

The drive
Engine
Interior design
Comfort
Rear camera with cleaning spray function

We like less

Exterior styling that looks a lot like the MKC’s
Too many options, that will drive up the price
High fuel consumption
Screen size is small for the category

The competition

BMW X3
Audi Q5
Mercedes-Benz GLC
Volvo XC60

2021 Lincoln Corsair, rear
Photo: Auto123.com
2021 Lincoln Corsair, rear

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