CARMEL, Calif. — Sleek and loaded with advanced features, the 2020 Lincoln Corsair five-passenger SUV gives Ford’s luxury brand a vehicle that can compete with compact and subcompact luxury SUVs like the Acura RDX, Audi Q3, BMW X3 and Cadillac XT4.
The Corsair replaces the MKC, which was 1.4 inches less long and 1.1 inch less tall than the new SUV. Despite having more room and features than the old vehicle, the Corsair weighs 100 pounds less than a 2019 MKC.
The Corsair is loaded with technology, including several features it shares with Lincoln’s bigger and more expensive Aviator SUV, which went on sale recently. The Corsair is based on the same architecture as the Ford Escape compact SUV. The vehicles are built in the same plant in Louisville, Kentucky.
Inside and out, the Corsair looks nothing like the Escape. Virtually every part you see or touch is unique to the Lincoln. Other differences from the less expensive Ford include a more powerful optional engine, unique rear suspension for a smoother ride and acoustic insulation for a quiet interior.
The Corsair looks bigger than it is, thanks to its long hood and roof and relatively low height.
Lincoln’s designers lowered the beltline — where the windows meet the doors and fenders — about 1.1 inches to improve visibility.
Lincoln expects Corsair sales to begin this fall.
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A 250-horsepower 2-liter turbocharged engine is standard equipment. It’s available with either front- or four-wheel drive. A 2.3-liter turbo that produces 295 horsepower and is available only with four-wheel drive is a $1,140 option. All Corsairs get an eight-speed automatic transmission.
A plug-in hybrid will be available in 2020. There’s no word yet on its power, fuel economy or price.
Corsair prices start at $35,945 for a base front-wheel-drive model. The tab escalates quickly as you add features like the bigger engine, automatic parking and a feature that lets a smartphone replace your key fob.
I tested a loaded 2.3-liter Corsair Reserve that stickered at $57,970. All prices exclude destination charges.
Adaptive cruise control with speed limit sign recognition
Smooth lane-centering that’s much less annoying than the intrusive lane-departure alert some companies offer.
14-speaker Revel audio
24-way adjustable, massaging leather front seats.
Phone as a key
Automatic emergency front and rear braking
Automatic high beams
20-inch aluminum wheels
60/40 split folding rear seat
Automatic parking for parallel parking and backing into perpendicular spaces
“Seatbelt,” “door open” and other alerts using sounds recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Quiet on the road, with powerful optional engine
I spent a long day driving the 2020 Corsair in conditions ranging from congested downtown San Francisco to twisting hilltop roads and fast highways.
The 2.3-liter turbo provides more than enough power for zipping around curves, jaunts around town and high-speed cruising.
The Corsair was quiet and comfortable on a long drive. The suspension absorbed bumps and kept the vehicle level and stable in quick maneuvers.
The interior is luxurious and quiet. Lincoln uses real leather, wood and aluminum trim so its vehicles look and feel exclusive.
The optional 24-way power seats include several massage settings that will come in handy on long drives.
Lincoln’s combination of buttons and dials for some features with touch screen and voice recognition is simple and easy to use.
Lincoln projects a head-up display onto the windshield in front of the driver. The optional color display can include information about cruise control settings, speed limit, navigation and more.
What Lincoln calls “intelligent” adaptive cruise control adjusts the Corsair’s speed to match changing speed limit signs, and allows the driver to program their preferred number of miles an hour above or below the posted limit.
The front seat is roomy and has plenty of storage space. A rear seat that slides 6 inches fore and aft can be adjusted for maximum passenger comfort or cargo space
Notable exterior features
Long nose and roofline create impression of a larger vehicle
Deep S-curve stamped into outer door panels
Full-width LED taillights
“Clamshell” tailgate that wraps around the SUV’s rear corners
A dual-wall dash for sound insulation
Active noise cancellation
Tires designed to reduce “rumble” and “ring” road noise
2020 Lincoln Corsair SUV at a glance
Base price: $35,945 (excluding destination charges)
Compact five-passenger SUV
Front or all-wheel drive
Assembled in Louisville, Kentucky
Three power sources:
250-hp, 280 pound-feet of torque from the 2.0L four-cylinder turbo
295-hp, 310 pound-feet, 2.3L four-cylinder turbo
Plug-in hybrid coming in 2020
Eight-speed automatic transmission
EPA fuel economy ratings
FWD: 22 mpg city/29 highway/25 combined
AWD: 2.0L 21/29/24
AWD: 2.3L 21/28/24
Wheelbase: 106.7 inches
Length: 180.6 inches
Width: 76.2 inches
Height: 64.1 inches
Base curb weight: 3,742 pounds 2.0L front-wheel drive to 3,848 pounds 2.3L AWD
Towing capacity: 3,000 pounds
Follow Detroit Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan on Twitter @mark_phelan.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Review: 2020 Lincoln Corsair small luxury SUV competes with the best