Among Lincoln’s quartet of luxury-level tall wagons, the 2021 Corsair is the most compact, but it more than holds its own at the crossroads of style and technology.
For those unaware, the Corsair, which was new for 2020, replaced the MKC. With the recent and not entirely unsurprising retirements of the Continental and MKZ sedans for 2021, the Corsair assumes the entry-point position for the brand.
The design of this five-passenger utility vehicle has similar cues to the larger seven-passenger Aviator that was also new for 2020. The grilles are nearly identical in size and shape and the rest of the Corsair’s body panels are also similar but scaled down.
Compared with the departed MKC, the Corsair is about 3.5 centimetres longer, 7.5 centimetres wider and has about 2.5 centimetres more distance between the front and rear wheels. This contributes to a bit more stowage capacity behind the back seat as well as when it’s folded flat. It can be moved fore and aft up to 15 centimetres, depending on whether cargo or passenger space is the priority.
Compared with the MKC’s busy flight-deck dashboard layout, the Corsair’s is distinguished by a ribbon of air vents, an eight-inch or optional 12.3-inch tablet-style touch-screen propped up beside the gauges, and a control panel that protrudes just above the floor console. The transmission buttons extend horizontally below the vents and are within easy reach.
An unusual step, and one intended to make the Corsair classier, the alerts (unbuckled seatbelt, door ajar, etc.) are actually musical sound clips created by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Definitely better than the usual grating warning chimes.
The base Corsair Standard is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that puts out 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The optional Reserve trim level is fitted with a turbocharged 2.3-litre I-4 with a rating of 295 horsepower and 310 pound-feet.
New for 2021, the Corsair can be had with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, which is standard in the equally new Grand Touring model. Using a 2.5-litre four-cylinder and an electric motor, the system makes 266 horsepower. It provides the Corsair with up to 40 kilometres of electric-only range.
The turbo engines are connected to eight-speed automatic transmissions. The hybrid gets a continuously variable unit.
Official fuel-consumption numbers for the base 2.0 are 11.1 l/100 km in the city, 8.1 on the highway and 9.8 combined. The plug-in hybrid values are 6.9/7.3/7.1.
All-wheel-drive is standard with both the 2.0 and the 2.3 engines plus the hybrid. The on-demand system turns only the front tires under optimum traction conditions, but when they slip — such as on wet or icy surfaces — the AWD directs torque to the rear tires. There are five operating modes: Normal; Excite (sporty); Slippery; Deep Conditions (mud and sand); and Conserve (economy).
The Corsair Standard trim starts at $45,950 in Canada, including destination fees. It comes with 10-way power-operated and heated front seats, power liftgate, active interior noise control and a 10-speaker premium audio system.
Along with the larger-displacement turbo engine, the Reserve comes with voice-activated navigation, leather seat covers, panoramic sunroof and 19-inch wheels (18s are standard).
The Grand Touring hybrid boasts special trim plus an adaptive (continuously variable) suspension that adjusts the ride control according to road conditions and how the Corsair is being driven.
All Corsairs are fitted with numerous active safety technologies such as emergency braking, pedestrian detection and lane-keeping assist.
With innumerable competitors, the Corsair merits consideration for its tack-sharp looks and roomy, harmonious cabin. Together they could persuade buyers seeking a reasonably sized and priced utility vehicle as well as those who were in the market for one of Lincoln’s retired sedans.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: 2021 LINCOLN CORSAIR
Type: All-wheel-drive compact utility vehicle
Engines (h.p.): 2.0-litre I-4, turbocharged (250); 2.3-litre I-4, turbocharged (295); 2.5-litre I-4 with electric motor (266)
Transmissions: Eight-speed automatic; continuously variable (hybrid)
Market position: The only Lincolns available are utility vehicles, and the Corsair is the smallest. It has a lot riding on its shoulder, but styling improvements over the MKC — and the wide range of options — will help the Corsair compete bring in new customers.
Points: Styling resembles that of other Lincoln models, especially the bigger Aviator. • Engine choices produce reasonable power and fuel economy.
- Plug-in hybrid is a welcome addition, but only with for one trim?
- Standard active-safety tech covers nearly all contingencies.
- Symphonic chimes instead of bells and buzzers are a nice touch.
Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (std.); front and rear emergency braking (std.); inattentive-driver alert (std.); lane-departure warning (std.); pedestrian detection (std.)
L/100 km (city/hwy): 11.1/8.1 (2.0)
Base price (incl. destination): $45,950
- Base price: $46,200
- Third-generation model comes with a 272-h.p turbo I-4. AWD is standard.
- Base price: $41,550
- Recently redesigned utility vehicle uses a 228-h.p. turbo I-4. AWD standard.
Cadillac XT4 AWDs
- Base price: $46,700
- Attractive Caddy is on par with the competition. A 237-h.p. turbo I-4 is standard.
– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media