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DRIVEN: 2021 Lincoln Corsair AWD Reserve [Review]

This Handsome, Luxury Crossover Rolls With an Air of Elegance

2021 Lincoln Corsair in front of san jose mural

Too often, major automakers want us to believe that SUVs and crossovers have the qualities of a sports car. But are SUV and crossover buyers truly looking for performance? Thankfully, the folks at Lincoln remain true to their luxury roots, foregoing the pretensions of high performance. We recently test drove the 2021 Lincoln Corsair to see if the brand presents us with the best luxury available in its price category or if we were fooled by the emperor’s new clothes.

We test drove the 2021 Lincoln Corsair AWD Reserve, outfitted with optional Adaptive Suspension, Technology Package, head-up display, and 20-inch black aluminum wheels. It’s the smallest in Lincoln’s lineup of crossovers and SUVs, comparable in size to the Acura RDX, Infiniti QX50, Cadillac XT5, Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Volvo XC60.

2021 Lincoln Corsair: Style & Grace

2021 Lincoln Corsair

The 2021 Lincoln Corsair successfully incorporates Lincoln’s design language and downsizes the dimensions to fit into the compact crossover segment. The result is a handsome, luxury ute that rolls with an air of elegance.

Its high roofline and tall stance cut a solid presence. The front-end treatment boasts a clean, uncluttered fascia that adds to the premium quotient. Take notice of the few shiny trim accents which add a little flair and class, and you get a hint of its affluent aspirations.

The standard mill for the front-wheel-drive Corsair is a 250 hp, 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine rated by the EPA at 22 mpg city, 29 highway, and 25 combined. The all-wheel-drive Reserve trim that I drove for a week comes with the 295 hp 2.3L turbocharged inline-four that achieved 24 mpg after 300-plus miles and matches EPA estimates for combined driving.

Impressive Cabin Accoutrements

The 2021 Lincoln Corsair’s interior is as stately as the exterior suggests. It may be the smallest crossover in the Lincoln family, but the interior designers fitted the cabin with stellar materials and rich touchpoints.

The standard trim gets faux leather seat coverings and 10-way power adjustments. Check off the option for Perfect Position leather seats, and you get 24-way power seats that are heated, cooled, and have separate thigh adjustments for the left and right legs. Plus, that adds on the built-in massage functions that keep going and going, like the Energizer Bunny.

Back seat dimensions are roomy for a compact crossover and will easily accommodate three passengers across. The seats even have a few degrees of recline in addition to sliding fore and aft to provide more comfort for rear passengers on lengthy trips. Legroom is measured at 38.6 inches when the rear seat is set all the way back.

Top Tech & Stellar Sound

The center point on the dashboard is an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that sits above the floating center stack, which features buttons and knobs with a quality, weighty feel. The integration of the infotainment screen with the dashboard design could be better, but the display has excellent resolution and clarity.

The system uses the latest version of Ford’s SYNC infotainment software, improving functionality and making navigating the controls a relatively straightforward user experience. Naturally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard with two convenient charging ports (USB-A and USB-C) upfront. Qi wireless charging is tucked away in the bin under the center armrest.

Audiophiles will thoroughly enjoy the 14-speaker Revel premium sound system. Soundstage reproduction is outstanding and gives listeners a sense of sitting in front of the performers. I listen to mostly jazz, funk, and some pop, and each instrument was clearly defined with incredible levels of detail. There was no harshness or edginess from the tweeters. And the bass response was crisp and clean, with no hint of muddiness. Whatever type of music you enjoy, it’ll sound rich and immersive on the Corsair’s sound system.

2021 Lincoln Corsair: Driving Impressions

2021 Lincoln Corsair

There is an air of tranquility about the 2021 Lincoln Corsair that drivers can’t readily find elsewhere. A serene and comfortable ride, a composed suspension that prefers to waltz rather than jitterbug, and a largely polished powertrain all factor into this assessment.

The 8-speed automatic transmission — used with both engines — is engineered to deliver smooth, imperceptible shifts. Acceleration is quick enough to get you onto the freeway without any drama once you get past the turbo lag. Overall, it is a spirited and energetic drive.

With five separate drive modes, you can tailor the ride to almost any road and surface condition — just don’t expect too much from Excite mode. When activated, it firms up the dampers and increases the throttle response. However, this is as far as Corsair’s sporty aspirations go. More performance-minded drivers should look to the Mercedes AMG GLB 35, Porsche Macan, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, or Jaguar F-PACE sport-utes to satisfy that itch.

Luxury Has Its Price

2021 Lincoln Corsair

The base figure for the AWD Reserve trim is a tad over $45,000. Add in the options and destination charges, and the grand total comes to $57,530. For a luxury-class crossover, the sticker price is pretty attractive and thousands less when compared to the upper trim levels of the GLB 35 or XC60.

Dollar signs aside, the 2012 Lincoln Corsair is an outstanding option if you prefer the American flavor of luxury, desire comfort over sport performance, and appreciate a quiet, happy spot behind the wheel to pleasantly get from Point A to wherever the road leads you.

2021 Lincoln Corsair AWD Reserve
Base Price $45,090
Price As Tested $57,530
Engine 2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder
Power (hp) 295 @ 5500 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.) 310 @ 3000 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
EPA Combined w/AWD (mpg) 24
Drivetrain Layout Longitudinally-mounted front-engine, all-wheel drive
Suspension Front: adaptive, Rear: adaptive
Brakes Power-assisted four-wheel discs w/electric parking brake
Dimensions (length x width x height) 180.6 x 76.2 x 64.1 inches
Wheelbase (inches) 106.7
Ground Clearance (inches) N/A
Approach/Departure Angles (degrees) N/A
Headroom front/rear (inches) 39.5 / 38.7
Hiproom front/rear (inches) 55.6 / 50.8
Legroom front/rear (inches) 43.2 / 38.6
Shoulder Room front/rear (inches) 57.1 / 56.3
Passengers 5
Passenger Volume (cu. ft.) 102.5
Cargo Capacity Behind 2nd row (cu. ft.) 27.6
Max Cargo Capacity rear seat folded (cu. ft.) 57.6
Curb Weight (pounds) 3,848
Towing Capacity (pounds) 3,000

Price out your own Lincoln Corsair, and find your local dealer, HERE.

Derek Mau
About Derek Mau

Derek is an adept wordsmith and grammar sleuth that lives, breathes and dreams all things automotive. Not satisfied with only reporting what is happening in the automotive industry, he is also skilled at crafting a story that goes well beyond the specs and shiny paint. From time to time, practicing and growing the photography skills serves as a gratifying diversion when not occupied with cars.