The 2020 Lincoln Corsair 2.0L, our tester in this article is the successor of the MKC in the Lincoln model range and represents Lincoln in the compact luxury segment.
As in the previous generation, Corsair shares the same platform with the Escape and this makes sense as before from a cost management point of view.
In accordance with Lincoln’s new branding strategy, like other models, the former MKC is renamed as Corsair. For me, personally, a real name sounds better than a combination of letters. But the advantage of using letter combinations is that companies face less potential issues or registration problems than using names in one or more of their markets. And Lincoln is not a truly global brand like, for instance, Toyota which is sold in several dozen countries. For Lincoln, the possibility of experiencing problems with registering names is less likely. Outside North America, Lincoln vehicles are sold in the Middle East, China, and South Korea.
The Lincoln Corsair has an appealing look inside and out. The exterior design with the now “well-established” chrome grill and all other details of the body has a mature look and the vehicle looks bigger than a compact SUV. The organic flow of the design, apparent especially on the roofline is dynamic and beautiful. The dashboard, the seats, and doors all look nice. Only at the second and a closer look you notice that there is still room for improvement in material quality especially in the lower and less-touched parts of the interior. The shift buttons in the far part of the centre console are a Lincoln feature you’ve probably got used to. The buttons for power seat adjustments are now installed on the door panel are very functional. This is a proven method Mercedes has been using for decades. The sound insulation is very good. The digital and customizable instrument panel offers a “calm screen” mode with the most important information.
During our test drive, the infotainment screen froze once and for a while, but turned to normal by itself. A reminder the car electronics gets more complicated with every generation and can be a headache not only for lincoln but any other brand.
The recent progress of Lincoln
Every time I test-drive a Lincoln vehicle, I become somewhat emotional and my inner voice whispers to Ford:
“Anything less than perfect with a Lincoln spells trouble for you.”
Our long-time followers may remember our comments about Ford’s way of managing luxury brands.
The blue-oval company once owned multiple luxury brands including not only Lincoln and Mercury but also Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin.
Ford’s former CEO Jacques Nasser formed The Premier Automotive Group in 1999 to create synergies and save costs by sharing platforms and parts. However, this initiative went too far, the brands partially lost their identities and market share with problems in quality.
Finally, Alan Mulally, the legendary CEO of Ford who managed the big transformation of the company early this century, killed the organization, and shortly thereafter, Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Indian carmaker Tata Motors. Ford killed also Mercury in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Also, Volvo and Aston Martin are no longer part of the FoMoCo.
Since Mulally first focused on Ford, the core brand, transformation at Lincoln began at the beginning of this decade.
In my humble opinion, Ford’s consistent efforts to rebuild this century-old brand stated to bear real fruits in the last two to three years.
As the times dictate Lincoln will entirely focus on SUV’s and the sedans, MKZ, and the reborn, legendary Continental will be discontinued.
So, the only option for Lincoln (and actually Ford itself) is to build luxury vehicles that excel in quality with its own identity.
However, in today’s hyper-competitive auto industry, like other manufacturers, Ford will continue to create synergies by sharing basic architecture (aka platforms) with comparable Ford models.
Engine and transmission
Lincoln offers the Corsair with two engine options; with 2.0L and 2.3L. Both are 4-cylinder engines with turbocharging and mated to an 8-speed transmission.
The four-way independent suspension gives you a ride-quality not less than a luxury car. The acceleration is smooth thanks to first the well-calibrated shift map of the 8-speed transmission. I suppose that Lincoln engineers performed refined work and big efforts in this area.
Our tester was the base model with the smaller 2.0L engine which delivers 250 horsepower and 280-lb-ft of torque. I found this engine torquey and powerful both in the city and on the highway. We may test the version with the bigger engine in the next few weeks, but I can tell you with confidence that you will never feel underpowered with the base engine.
To have a comparison, you can read our previous test with the 2019 Lincoln MKC with the 2.3L engine:
For more tests of older Lincoln MKC, please use the Search button on our website.
As its mostly the case our tester was fully loaded with leather and technology packages as options.
I was glad to experience after a one-week test drive, that the current Corsair is well-differentiated from the Escape, its corporate cousin. I am convinced that Ford puts particular efforts and emphasis on the distinct identities of its mainstream and luxury brands.
Visiting the Niagara Region
During our one-week test drive with the 2020 Lincoln Corsair 2.0L, we also visited the Niagara Region to see how Canada’s top tourist destination is recovering from the Covid-19 crisis.
On the most exciting day behind the steering wheel of the 2020 Lincoln Corsair, we took a day trip to the Niagara Region with a friend of mine and stopped at two main destinations.
Sadly and unsurprisingly, the good and old days for Niagara are still far ahead. With the US border remaining closed (and for very valid reasons) and almost no visitors from abroad, Canada’s top tourist destination struggles to survive by relying on domestic business with day visitors from Toronto and close places, as well as overnight tourists from farther parts of Canada.
Our first stop was the beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL). NOTL is the second most important destination (after Niagara Falls) in the region. The historic downtown with houses reflecting the 19th-century British architectural elegance, the landmark Prince of Wales Hotel and specialty shops had far fewer visitors than usual. Driving along the famous Niagara Parkway, many families were picnicking or bicycling and people stayed closer to nature than to cities.
In Niagara Falls (NF) the centre of the region, we did not have much difficulty finding a table with social distancing at the Garden Restaurant in the Oakville Garden and overlooking the Rainbow Bridge. Also in NF, many restaurants were closed. At the Sheraton Hotel in the heart of Downtown, the number of people who lined up with their luggage to access to upper floors gave me some hope.
Many restaurants remain closed and the open ones serve at their patios with social distancing measures at the place. The legendary cruises with Hornblower on the Canadian and Maid of the Mist on the American side you can observe two different approaches on two sides of the border. In Canada where Coivd-19 measures and restrictions remain strong, Hornblower started its operations in early July with much fewer passengers onboard and a much higher price (C$70). On the American side Maid of the Mist runs fully loaded boats at regular prices and with much higher exposure to the pandemic.
At the end of our one-week test drive, we measured and an average consumption of slightly above 10 liters. Our mixed-mode test included about 65 percent highway driving and the rest in the city. And this is a good figure for an AWD vehicle even in the compact class.
Pricing and conclusion
Our tester’s MSRP was C$62,225. This figure includes C$9,625 of options plus C$2,100 of destination charge.
From a pricing point of view, Ford consciously raised the bar, and understandably wants to position Lincoln as a luxury car. However, considering the competitors of the Lincoln Corsair in this segment like Lexus 300, Mercedes, BMW X3, Acura RDX, and more, I think further improvements in quality and craftsmanship are still necessary. Ford is successfully moving ahead and it is still unfinished business.
These reservations set aside, I was glad to see that a distinguished brand like Lincoln is on the right track to deserve its 103-year old place in history.
For the most up-to-date and detailed information, please visit http://wwwlincolncanada.com
Article by Varol McKars
Photos by Varol McKars, Burak McKars and Cagdas Onen