Review: 2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve

The 2020 Lincoln Corsair is the smallest SUV that the American luxury brand produces. It replaced the aging Lincoln MKC and now adopts Lincoln’s new, and less confusing, naming structure. But while this 2020 Corsair Reserve starts at a reasonable $50,500 CAD ($42,600 USD), it can go up to over $67,000 CAD ($60,500 USD) which puts it in the firing range of the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and Volvo XC60 to name a few. So the question is, can the Corsair compete against its European counterparts?

2020 Lincoln Corsair


Engine – You can get the 2020 Lincoln Corsair with a 250 hp 2.0L engine which is very traditional in small crossovers these days, or you can get it with a 2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine as equipped in this demo vehicle. The 2.3L engine produces a healthy 295 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Like many other turbocharged engines, the peak torque number arrives at low rpms – 3,000 rpms in this case – which gives you the good “kick in your backside” feeling when accelerating. But while it feels quick at low rpms, it runs out of puff when you get closer to the redline. However, this is a luxury SUV, how often are you going to be taking it to the redline anyway?

Fuel economy is not too bad. Both engines are nearly identical – strangely – which makes me wonder why Lincoln even offers the 2.0L engine. But regardless, this 2.3L engine is rated at 11.1 L/100km (21.2 mpg) in a city and 8.2 L/100km (28.7 mpg) on a highway. The 2.0L engine has the same city rating and only 0.1 L/100km less on a highway.

2020 Lincoln Corsair

Transmission – Mated to the engine is an 8-speed automatic which for the most part is a smooth transmission. At times in 1st or 2nd, it can make the Corsair feel jerky when you lift off the throttle momentarily and then apply the throttle again after half a second or so. It doesn’t happen often and through the rest of the gears, the transmission works flawlessly.

Braking – The brakes take a bit of getting used to. When you first apply the brakes, they feel overly sensitive and grabby making for jerky stops. After the initial bite though, they are easier to modulate so stops can be smoother. It’s just that initial bite that is a bit too strong for a luxury SUV. Forward automatic emergency braking is a standard feature on the 2020 Lincoln Corsair.

Handling – For not being a sports SUV, the Lincoln Corsair does a decent job of going around corners with dignity. It does tend to lean through corners but the body roll can be better controlled with the optional adaptive dampers in the sporty setting. Steering weight and effort is balanced, as in, it’s not too heavy requiring you to be a bodybuilder to turn the steering wheel and not too light that it feels completely void of feeling.

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2020 Lincoln Corsair


Ride Comfort – This particular Corsair came equipped with the adaptive suspension. Bumps, road imperfections, road undulations are barely felt in the cabin of the Corsair thanks to the soft but composed suspension dampers. This Corsair also had the 24-way Perfect Position seats instead of the standard 10-way adjustable seats. These seats have a lot of adjustability but you’ll be spending a lot of time trying to find that perfect position for your specific body type. I recommend going to a dealership and sitting in a Corsair with the standard seats and another with these 24-way seats and see which one fits better for you.

2020 Lincoln Corsair

Interior Space – Front head and leg room is generous even for someone of my height at 6’4”. As mentioned, the 24-way seats provide a lot of adjustability so finding a good position takes some time but it can be found. Rear space is a bit more tight for someone of my height. My knees touch the backs of the front seats and my hair gently brushes against the headliner. But the seat backs can recline and fold 60/40 with heating on the outboard seats. Trunk space is rated at 780 Liters (27.5 cu-ft) with the rear seats up and 1,631 Liters (57.6 cu-ft) with them down.

Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The 2020 Lincoln Corsair excels in this area. The cabin is very well insulated from engine, wind, and tire noises. Even with the 20-inch optional wheels, driving down a highway is as quiet as driving on city streets. The only time that it gets noisy in the cabin is when you turn up the volume on the radio :p. 

2020 Lincoln Corsair

Odds and Ends

Gadgets – As mentioned, this Reserve trim starts at $50,500 CAD (the standard trim starts at $44,700 CAD, $35,900 USD) and for your money you get the usual amenities that one would expect from a small luxury crossover. Heated seats, leather upholstery, 8” touchscreen with navigation, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot sensors, LED headlights, and power liftgate just to name a few. Add on all the packages and options such as heads-up display, ventilated seats, 24-way seats with massaging, wireless phone charging, and so on & you’re looking at a crossover that costs just over $67,000 CAD ($60,500 USD) before fees & taxes. The base price does undercut the European competition but once the options get added on, it’s a tougher sell.

Interior Design – For the most part the interior looks and feels like a quality luxury product. Almost everywhere you touch is soft leather or soft plastics. However, the lower extremities of the Corsair are hard plastics such as the lower door panels and lower part of the center console. But you usually don’t touch those areas anyway. The floating center console is a unique feature to the Lincoln but the piano black surface is a magnet for fingerprints. 

2020 Lincoln Corsair

Exterior Design – While the 2020 Lincoln Corsair is a fresh model for this year, it still retains a few design touches from the older MKC. The liftgate still has a clamshell-like design and features the light bar that extends from one side to the other. Up front, the grille and headlights look like pretty much every other current Lincoln product which makes it very easy to recognize it. But unlike the Lincoln Navigator, the Lincoln badge in the center is not illuminated. Bummer. Overall, the exterior design exudes luxury, as it should.


So for broadly the same price as a small European luxury SUV, is the 2020 Lincoln Corsair worth the money? If you’re looking for the overall package in terms of performance, style, luxury, features, etc. then the BMW X3 or Mercedes-Benz GLC are better bets. But if comfort is your priority above all else, then the 2020 Lincoln Corsair needs to be at the top of your list. Very few can compete with the Corsair in that category.

Thank you to Lincoln Canada for providing the vehicle.

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