What a difference 23 years makes. The same month I began writing about cars for a living (or part of one, anyway), September of 1997, Lincoln introduced the original Navigator as a 1998 model.
Some wondered what Lincoln was doing, introducing an SUV. Some wondered if it could last. And now, here we are. Lincoln, as of 2021, will be an all-SUV brand, the Continental revival and the MKZ put out to pasture.
The Corsair is the smallest of the four SUVs that now are Lincoln (Navigator, Aviator and Nautilus are, in descending order of size and price, the other three). And yes, all four are based on less-glamorous Fords, but this is not the badge engineering of the bad old days. I haven't driven the Aviator, but the other three, including the Corsair, are very much their own vehicles.
Under the hood is a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 280 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Zero to 60 happens in six seconds flat, and the EPA fuel economy estimate is 22 miles per gallon city/28 highway. We saw 21.8 in the all-uphill climb from Folsom (220 feet above sea level) to Truckee (5,817 feet).
Corsairs are available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Ours was AWD. The Corsair was buttery-smooth, quiet, yet quick and sure-footed, too. It felt like a perfect balance. While there are adjustable drive modes (Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery and Deep), it seemed happiest in Normal.
Accomodations are top-notch---very much on par with the other SUVs in the Lincoln line-up.
Our tester was the Reserve trim. Base price is $42,630 for FWD, $44,830 for AWD. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the full list, but among the standard equipment highlights are a panoramic vista roof, dual-zone climate control, heated, leather-trimmed seats and a 14-speaker Revel audio system.
The window sticker below doesn't include prices, but Lincoln sent along a rundown showing the cost of optional equipment.. The Flight Blue Clearcoat paint is $695, the head-up display $1,700, the 20-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels $1,150 and Equipment Group 202A (the Elements Package, including heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control and an adaptive suspension) is $11,540, but carries an instant discount of $1,250.
With $995 destination and delivery charge, the as-tested price comes to $59,660.
We've tested a lot of vehicles that cost that much or more and weren't as quick, quiet, or comfortable. It may be small, but the Corsair is very much worthy of the Lincoln brand.