Mon | Oct 14, 2019

2020 Lincoln Corsair luxury SUV comes at key time for automaker

Published:Sunday | June 16, 2019 | 12:15 AM

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Lincoln spent lavishly to make its new 2020 Corsair compact SUV a legitimate luxury vehicle, not a thinly disguised version of a mass-market vehicle.

Debuting at the New York Auto show recently, the Corsair has a luxurious interior with features like 24-way adjustable massaging seats. The Corsair will come with a long list of safety and driver-assistance features, including automatic emergency braking, pedestrian assist, blind-spot alert, lane-keeping assist and automatic high beams.

The Corsair arrives at a vital time for Lincoln. The Navigator large SUV Lincoln introduced 18 months ago is a hit, and expectations are high for the midsize Aviator that goes on sale shortly. A strong showing by the Corsair would give Ford’s luxury brand its best line-up in its 102-year history.

Unique looks and features

The Corsair uses the same basic structure as the new 2020 Ford Escape but doesn’t share a single piece of sheet metal or interior trim for a unique appearance inside and out.

The design features a long roof that falls from front to rear and a sharply angled tailgate and rear window. The metal on the lower part of the doors is deeply scooped to create a sculpted shape.

The Corsair’s roof is a full two inches lower than the new 2020 Ford Escape. The body is also 2.1 inches wider, and the rear track — the distance between the centre of the rear wheels — is 1.6 inches wider.

Lincoln went to unusual lengths to ensure that the Corsair drives and sounds unique. The rear suspension is completely different from the Escape for a smoother and quieter ride. The wall between the passenger compartment and engine is also unique, consisting of two separate metal panels with an air gap in-between to insulate against engine and road noise.

Automakers often share parts like those when they build multiple vehicles on an architecture. Lincoln spent extra time and money to make its new SUV more than a dressed-up Ford.

Booming sales

Compact SUVs are the No. 2-selling type of luxury vehicle, Lincoln president Joy Falotico said. “This is the first step into luxury for many buyers. We want to capture buyers early and introduce them to the brand.”

Lincoln expects the Corsair to help it attract younger buyers and women. Women account for more than half of sales of compact luxury SUVs.

Compact luxury SUV sales have grown 50 per cent in the last three years as new vehicles flock to the popular segment.

The Corsair will compete with compact luxury SUVs like the Audi Q3, Cadillac XT4 and Lexus NX.

The Corsair’s interior, exterior and some key pieces of engineering are unique to the Lincoln. Other parts are shared with the Ford Escape, which is built alongside the Corsair in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Corsair replaces the MKC in Lincoln’s line-up. Sales should begin this fall.

Power and technology

The Corsair will offer front- or all-wheel drive. A 250-hp 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard, with an optional 280-hp 2.3L turbo. An eight-speed automatic and five drive modes — including one with driver-selectable preferences — are standard.

The interior features soft materials and wood or aluminum trim. Horizontal vents running the width of the dashboard create an impression of space.

The controls have a ‘floating’ panel that projects from the lower dash to make climate and audio controls easy to reach. The centre console has plenty of storage, including an easily accessible bin beneath the floating panel for smartphones.

Available features

- Head-up display

- Adaptive cruise control

- Lane centreing

- Evasive steering assist

- Speed-limit recognition

- Automatic rear braking

- 14-speaker Revel audio

- Power, hands-free tailgate

- Phone app to unlock and start

- 6.0 inches of rear-seat travel