2022 Lincoln Corsair AWD Reserve Review

Pretty good might not be good enough


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: High-end materials hide Ford roots, compliant suspension tuning, handsome brand-appropriate styling.
Negatives: Lacks the driving verve of European rivals, plug-in hybrid powertrain only offered on most expensive trim, hands-free driving tech sold separately.
Bottom Line: The Corsair is a competent, comfortable, and stylish option among compact luxury SUVs, but rivals from Europe offer more allure.
Looking at the Corsair, you'd never guess it platform-shares with the Ford Escape. Lincoln did a great job of setting it apart from its more affordable sibling, and it also nicely departs from the slow-selling MKC which it replaces. The Corsair gets three available powertrains: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four, a 2.3-liter four-cylinder; or a plug-in hybrid powertrain (only on the top-tier Grand Touring trim). The interior is definitely upscale, and you can even get turquoise leather seats from the concept vehicle if that tickles your fancy. In a crowded field of competitors like the Audi Q5, Genesis GV70, and the BMW X3, the Corsair has an uphill battle when it comes to driving thrills, exterior styling, and in-car tech, but it does offer a distinctly American ethos. We drove the Reserve trim for a week. Read our full review below.
 

Driving Experience

7

 

The Corsair Reserve is a comfortable vehicle with enough pep to entertain with the 2.3-liter engine, but it's not particularly fun to take into the turns, and it lacks some of the excitement of the competition. Lincoln has focused more on comfort and luxury than on driving dynamics, and that should prove to be more than adequate for most buyers. If you care more about steering and handling, then take a closer look at the BMW X3 or the Genesis GV70.

Ride Quality: The ride in the Corsair is comfortable and compliant. With the optional Adaptive Suspension, it manages all surfaces remarkably well.

Acceleration: The 2.3-liter did ran from 0 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds. It's not as quick as most of the European competitors, but it's enough to get up to highway speeds and off the line quickly. The 8-speed transmission works well in Excite (Sport) mode.

Braking: The Corsair's brakes exhibit good progression and avoided any mushiness or dead spots.

Steering: Steering is light and lacks feedback. That said, it remained on-center at highway speeds.

Handling: The Corsair feels lackluster in turns with some mild body roll, but it's not nearly as rewarding to drive as the BMW X3, Acura RDX, Mercedes GLC, or the Genesis GV70, which the Corsair competes with.

Technology

6.6

 

The Corsair's in-car tech is fair to middling for a luxury crossover. When competitors provide larger standard screens and better graphics, the Corsair falls behind. The somewhat dated Sync 3 OS could use an upgrade to Sync 4. Overall, the tech is just decent, and the screen just isn't up to snuff.

Infotainment System: The somewhat dull 8-inch touchscreen is just ok. Responsiveness is about average. Screens from Audi and BMW measure over 10 inches, while the Genesis GV70 provides a huge 14.5-inch screen. Lincoln needs to do better.

Controls: As much as we like the presence of physical controls in the Corsair, they could be better executed. The buttons are too clustered together and there's very little visual separation. The shift levers are annoying and hard to use quickly, despite the fact that they look nice and save space.

Styling

8.4

 

The Corsair is a serious upgrade from the MKC in terms of styling. It looks more upscale, and it definitely communicates American luxury better than the Cadillac XT4 which can't seem to make up its mind and poorly toes the line between sport and luxury. We like the Lincoln design language that looks handsome from the Corsair all the way up to the Navigator. The language borrows some Aston Martin for the back end and Jaguar and a tiny bit of Rolls-Royce in the front, so it's not wholly original. Still, it works.

Front: Lincoln's tame use of chrome in the grille frame is well-executed, along with the black Lincoln badge-shaped mesh. The headlights are less stylized than the MKC's which is a good thing.

Rear: The winged full-width taillights look good here, coupled with the tasteful Lincoln lettering and the twin round exhaust outlets.

Profile: The clean profile is conservatively styled but has nice elements like the sloping greenhouse, the long crease at the beltline, and some good sculpting in the doors. Even the badge on the front quarter panel and doors is well done.

Cabin: The interior is attractive with a linear and layered dash. Materials quality is very good overall, but we just don't like the overuse of piano black in the center stack or the plasticky seat adjustment controls.

Comfort

8.5

 

There's a lot to love about the accommodations in the 2022 Corsair with soft leather 24-way adjustable seats and good amounts of room for 2nd-row occupants. The adjustable ambient lighting is also a nice touch that adds a soothing glow at night.

Front Seats: These are some of the best front seats in the industry with tremendous levels of adjustability, heat and ventilation. You can move the individual thigh bolsters, a feature not found on other vehicles and wonderful for the driver.

Rear Seats: The 36.7 inches of legroom is good for tall occupants, and the seats are very comfortable. The middle position has a bit of a bulge in the seatback and cushion, so it won't be ideal for long trips.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The sound deadening in the Corsair is pretty good, and we didn't experience any issues with road or wind noise. Interior build quality also seem to be good.

Visibility: The glass is big enough for good views, and the pillar size doesn't obstruct much. We also had a good seating position over the hood which isn't overly tall.

Climate: Heat and AC worked very well, as did the heated/ventilated seats. Front and rear vents moved plenty of air and provided good adjustability.

Safety

8.5

 

The Corsair does very well in safety tests, as evidenced by its top rating from both testing bodies. In terms of safety tech, it comes with a good set of standard safety features but doesn't include adaptive cruise control as standard like some of the competition.

IIHS Rating: The Corsair earns the Top Safety Pick with "good" in all categories except for "marginal" in the side impact category and "acceptable" and "poor" for headlights, depending on trim.

NHTSA Rating: The federal government gave the Corsair five stars overall with only a one star demerit in the rollover resistance category.

Standard Tech: Our Corsair came standard with a lane-keeping system, rear parking sensors, pre-collision assist w/ automated emergency braking, and a SOS post-crash system.

Optional Tech: Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control and a 360-degree camera came as part of the rather expensive $5,300 201A Equipment Package.

Storage/Cargo

8.2

 

We had no trouble storing small items and getting luggage, gear, and groceries into the Corsair. It provides accessible storage compartments that are well-sized, and the back of the Corsair is plenty big for most endeavors. It competes near the front of the pack in terms of cargo space.

Storage Space: There's a good front compartment with a retractable door, and the armrest is good enough to keep large smartphones and other medium-sized everyday carry items secure. The door pockets aren't long, but they have good depth.

Cargo Room: The gas versions of the Corsair have 27.6 cubic feet behind row two and 57.6 with the seats folded flat. The hybrid Corsair drops a cube or so from both. It's bigger in back than the Audi Q5 and the Lexus RX but smaller than the BMW X3.

Fuel Economy

7.4

 

The extra 0.3-liters doesn't seem to harm the Corsair's gas mileage all that much since we were able to get decent numbers in our combined (and sometimes heavy-footed use in sport mode) driving. It manages to get close to its EPA rating and would, no doubt, have no trouble getting there with more conservative habits.

Observed: 22.3 mpg.

Distance Driven: 142 miles.

Audio

8.7

 

The 14-speaker premium Revel audio system is a very good one and, thankfully, it comes as standard equipment on the Reserve trim. The sound is very good, and there was no distortion. Bass and clarity are also very good.



Final Thoughts

We like the Corsair for its distinctly American flavor. It's a very comfortable car to ride in, and the seats are cossetting and great for long drives. The style is well-executed, the vehicle is very safe, and the efficiency is quite good. We just wish it was more fun to drive, and the tech needs a serious upgrade, as well. In terms of price, it's up there with the competition. We'd much rather have a GV70 or an X3, all things being equal.
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