Car Review: Prestigious Corsair gains momentum

In its third production year, Lincoln’s little luxury utility is gaining in popularity. Based on the Ford Escape, the Corsair is a gussied-up version rivaling some big names in the industry — BMW X-3, Lexus NX and Acura RDX.

The Corsair slots below the Nautilus, Aviator and Navigator and is available as a Standard, Reserve and new Grand Touring hybrid. While the base price is reasonable at $37,200 with an array of standard equipment, the Reserve is probably the best choice at $42,285 including high-tech gear. Corsair’s new plug-in hybrid tips the scale at $52,550 and can easily top $60,000 large giving pause to some buyers compared with lower priced competition, some offering more panache for less coin.

The Reserve trim includes all-wheel drive, a panoramic sunroof and heads up display. Posh interior appointments include full leather, digital gauges, wireless phone charging and upgradeable audio settings.

Stepping in the cabin, we were reminiscent of Mercedes door mounted seat adjustment levers that control 24-way adjustable seating positions. It’s easy to duplicate your favorite easy chair for those long road trips without fidgeting about.

Elegant materials line door panels and dashboard with high end trim materials in all the right places. Rear seat passengers enjoy the same coddling and accommodate up to three passengers with room to stretch.

We found cargo room is plentiful with nearly 28 cubic feet behind second row seats and 58 cubes with seats folded behind the first row, besting Acura, Lexus and Cadillac XT4.

The center console gives the driver easy controls for climate, navigation, entertainment and phones — although we think the touchscreen looks like an afterthought while rivals have more of a built-in appearance.

While underpinnings are from the Ford Escape, the Corsair has been engineered to outperform its distant cousin. Overall, we liked the ride and handling of the Corsair. It’s 250 horsepower turbo four-cylinder powers the Standard and Reserve models providing acceleration okay while mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Our test car upped the engine pep to 295 ponies in a 2.3-liter powerplant. Surprisingly, the bigger engine wasn’t much quicker compared with the standard engine. Go figure.

In our straight-line independent test from zero to 60 miles per hour, the Corsair clocked a respectable 7.6 second run, about average for this segment.

We found steering was precise and brakes firm. Aggressive cornering maneuvers gave way to some slippage and body roll but for most drivers these traits would not be an issue.

Available adaptive suspension on our tester smoothed road imperfections while providing firm footing with its 20-inch blackened wheels and all-season paws. Exterior fit and finish are precise and the Corsair has good curb appeal.

Mostly a carryover from last year, the Corsair looks elegant from the outside. It’s horizontal grille and vertical badging are centered on thin headlamp housings.

We did notice that rear pillars obstruct driver view while backing and those same pillars cut into head and shoulder space for rear occupants.

We’d recommend test driving the Lincoln Corsair along with its rivals above before making your buying decision.

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