Small continues to be big, as Lincoln has rolled out its smallest new sport-utility, the all-new 2020 Corsair, at the New York International Auto Show.
The Corsair replaces the outgoing MKC and slots below the Nautilus (the former MKX), Aviator (built on the Ford Explorer’s platform), and the full-size Navigator. The Corsair bases on the same architecture as the Ford Escape.
The company said the name is inspired by “cursus,” Latin for “journey,” but Lincoln reached into the vaults for it. It was used on a series of British Fords in the 1960s, as well as being a model of the ill-fated Edsel in the late 1950s. War or aviation buffs will also recognize the name from the Vought F4U Corsair, an American fighter that saw service in the Korean and Second World War. We think it’s a refreshing change from the number-or-letter names that most luxury automakers use these days.
Two engines will be offered, both turbocharged four-cylinders. The base 2.0 L is expected to produce 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, while an optional 2.3 L will churn out an estimated 280 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Both will use a new eight-speed automatic.
All-wheel drive is standard equipment, primarily driving the front wheels and powering up the rear as needed. In a first for Lincoln, the Corsair will have an integral bush suspension – one with its connecting joints dampened with rubber compound bushings, which soak up road impacts for a smoother ride.
There are five selectable drive modes. It really hurts us not to insert a comment, but we’ll resist the temptation and simply say that they include Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery, and Deep Conditions.
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The five-seater is a very handsome beast, with styling cues that tie it to the Navigator and Aviator. It’s also expected to be a very quiet ride, with a dual-wall dashboard separating the engine and passenger compartments, and with an active noise control system. Instead of warning chimes, the Corsair warns about unbuckled seatbelts and open fuel doors with notes recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. If you want to listen to a full session by the orchestra – or whatever type of music turns your crank – there’s an available 14-speaker Revel premium audio system.
To complete the luxury experience, the Corsair is available with 24-way front seats with massage. The rear seats slide fore and aft for legroom, and fold flat for more cargo space.
The Corsair is big on technology, and includes Phone as a Key, an app that lets you use a compatible smartphone as a key fob to start the engine for driving, lock or unlock the doors, or operate the liftgate. By setting a profile on your phone, you can pre-set the seat, mirror, and pedal positions as well. If your phone goes dead, you can still get in by entering a code on the exterior keypad, and if you lose your phone, the app can be remotely deleted. Wireless charging is available, while Wi-Fi is standard.
Along with a standard suite of blind spot monitoring, emergency braking, lane-keeping and automatic high-beams, the Corsair will offer Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus. With this system, the adaptive cruise control functions in stop-and-go traffic, and it scans speed limit signs and slows down if the limit drops (you can turn that off if you prefer). It’ll help steer you around something if you can’t stop in time, and will hit the brakes if you’re about to back into something. There’s also a self-parking feature, but unlike most that just handle the steering duty, this one does everything, including shifting, braking, and accelerating.
Lincoln was up front in its press conference: it’s not about performance, but about coddling its customers – the car “glides” instead of drives, and the cabin’s supposed to be a sanctuary. It’s also aiming the Corsair at younger buyers and at those new to the brand. It’ll be built in Kentucky, and it goes on sale this fall.