Lincoln is making handsome and sophisticated vehicles these days. Between the Corsair, Nautilus, Aviator, and Navigator, they offer a full line-up of crossovers and SUVs. The Corsair is the smallest of these vehicles but still seats five adults in comfort, while its 181.4″ length makes it easy to fit into parallel parking spaces and garages. It’s got a smoothly flowing body design with Lincoln’s large mesh grille dominating its front end. Three trim levels are available: the base Corsair Standard (renamed Corsair Premiere for 2024), the premium Corsair Reserve, and the deluxe Corsair Grand Touring, which has a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The vehicle reviewed here is the 2023 Reserve III, the fully-loaded gas model.
Under the hood, the Corsair’s got a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine that produces an ample 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. of torque. The Grand Touring’s PHEV system provides 266 horses and an unspecified amount of torque. The gas Corsairs come in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive variants, while the hybrid is all-wheel drive only. Working in concert with a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, the AWD Corsair accelerates swiftly with no noticeable turbo lag. Its 0-to-60 time is right around 6 seconds. Fuel economy is pretty good – I averaged 27.1 mpg during a week of mixed highway and city driving. However, if you’re looking for the most fuel-efficient model, the Grand Touring’s hybrid drivetrain is the way to go. A low ride height and short wheelbase provide car-like handling, while a softly-tuned suspension insulates the cabin from rough roads and vibrations. An adaptive suspension is available as an option, though I didn’t get to test this feature. I was particularly impressed with the Corsair’s sportier-than-usual braking, which stops confidently and with excellent pedal feedback.
Even though the Corsair shares a platform with the Ford Escape and Bronco Sport, you’d never know it was related thanks to Lincoln’s distinctively upscale styling. Adding to the luxury, Corsair Reserve models get features like jeweled LED headlights, leather seating, ambient lighting, and 19″ aluminum wheels. My loaner was outfitted with spiffy 20″ aluminum wheels in Jet Black and wrapped in Continental CrossContact LX Sport all-season tires.
Lincoln loads up the Corsair with safety and convenience technology, including a digital instrument panel, adaptive cruise control, lane-centering assist, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, a 360-degree parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, and more. The Sync 4-based multimedia unit has a 13.2″ touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. There’s a wireless charging dock too. One minor annoyance is the placement of the push-to-talk button on the steering wheel itself. Several times, I accidentally pressed this while driving.
I also got to test out Lincoln BlueCruise 1.2 (fka ActiveGlide), which upgrades the cruise control and lane-centering features with sensors and software to allow for hands-free driving on many divided highways. Once you’re on a supported stretch of highway and the system detects that it’s safe to activate and your eyes are on the road, it switches into a fully hands-free mode. I found this version of BlueCruise worked much better than the earlier version I tested on a Navigator, with less ping-ponging between lane markings and doing a much better job detecting my eyes through my Transitions eyeglasses. Ford’s highway database currently covers over 130,000 miles of divided highways in the U.S. and Canada. You can view a map of covered “Blue Zone” highways here.
Inside, the Corsair offers its passengers a pleasant and comfortable environment. It’s a nice, quiet place until you hit about 65 mph. Above that speed, some wind noise penetrates the otherwise well-insulated cabin. The upgraded 24-way Perfect Position front seats are especially accommodating, providing great support and plenty of width thanks to the placement of seat controls on the doors. One rarely-seen feature is the independently adjustable left and right leg extensions, which help fine-tune the seats precisely to your body and seating position. The front seats are available with heat and ventilation and a delightful massage feature to help soothe sore muscles on long road trips or while in traffic. Pushbutton transmission controls enable a floating center console design for an airy look and a little extra storage space for phones and wallets.
The optional Paldao wood trim on the dashboard adds to the elegance, and there are two aluminum trim options if you prefer metal to wood. The 14-speaker Revel audio system is fantastic, with excellent surround imaging, deep bass, punchy dynamics, and tremendous volume without noticeable distortion. Revel makes some of the best car sound systems on the market, and this setup doesn’t disappoint.
The well-cushioned rear seat provides good legroom and headroom, even for taller passengers, and if you don’t mind losing a few inches of cargo space, they also slide up to six inches and recline six degrees for added comfort. There’s enough space for three passengers on the bench, and the center seat converts into an armrest with dual cupholders. Heated rear seats are available, and the center console provides access to four USB-C charging ports. A large panoramic glass sunroof brings lots of light into both rows.
Cargo space is sufficient for a smaller crossover, with 57.6 cubic feet total and 27.6 cubic feet with the second row in use. The second row folds in a 60/40 split for versatility, and there’s a bump-out behind the right rear wheel well to accommodate taller sets of golf clubs. The Reserve trim has a standard power liftgate, which can be activated hands-free by waving your foot beneath the rear bumper.
Overall, the 2023 Lincoln Corsair is an enjoyable everyday crossover that’s ideal for smaller families. Lincoln did an outstanding job differentiating the Corsair from its Ford cousins with upscale styling and materials, along with available features like massage seats, adaptive suspension, and a high-end sound system. You can get into a base model Corsair for a very reasonable $38,730, though our well-equipped Corsair AWD Reserve III had a sticker price of $61,535, thanks in large part to the add-ons that make it luxurious.