First Drive: 2020 Lincoln Corsair Is Stylish and Refined

The all-new luxury compact SUV is pleasing to drive and easy on the eyes

2020 Lincoln Corsair front three-quarters view

Update: Since this first drive was originally published in November 2019, we finished testing the Corsair.

See the complete Lincoln Corsair road test.

The all-new Corsair replaces Lincoln’s previous luxury compact SUV, the MKC. The Corsair was developed as an upscale version of the also all-new 2020 Ford Escape, but thanks to its luxurious, high-quality cabin, you won’t mistake the Lincoln for its less expensive cousin. 

The Corsair is Lincoln’s smallest SUV, slotting below the luxury midsized Nautilus. It’s intended to compete with luxury compact SUVs such as its crosstown rival, the Cadillac XT5, as well as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus NX, and Volvo XC60

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We’ve already driven our Corsair nearly 2,000 miles, cataloging our impressions on every aspect of the vehicle’s ride, interior comfort, features, and feel. The Corsair will go through more than 50 specific tests at the CR Auto Test Center, including those to evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls.

Prices for the Corsair range from $35,945 to $44,830 for the top Reserve trim.

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What we bought: 2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve AWD
Powertrain: 250-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine; eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $44,830
Options: $4,845, which includes Elements package, Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus, and Active Park Assist Plus
Destination fee: $995
Total cost: $49,920

CR’s Take

Based on our initial impressions, we believe the new Corsair will be a worthy alternative to other small, high-end SUVs. It delivers the goods in two key areas that luxury SUV buyers typically crave: The first is a refined driving experience, thanks to its smooth and powerful drivetrain and impressively quiet cabin. The second is the Corsair’s classy styling, both inside the cabin and in the exterior bodywork. That posh cabin is consistent with other Lincoln vehicles, which is a good thing when it comes to fit and finish, but it also means the Corsair shares some odd quirks, including an unintuitive push-button gear selector and awkward steering-wheel controls.

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