By Peter Perrotta
I must preface this week’s review by telling a funny story.
Way back when, in my college days at Syracuse University – Go Orange! – I purchased a used Lincoln Continental from one of my brother’s friends.
It was a beautiful, big cruiser type sedan with a fantastic upgraded sound system.
Late one night while cruising with my buddies, one of my friends in the front passenger seat reached between the seat and discovered a plastic bag of a green leafy herb. I had no idea this was a fringe benefit that came with this car.
I could only imagine that someone stuffed it between the seat during a traffic stop and forgot it was there.
Needless to say, the rest of the ride that night went very smoothly and that stereo never sounded so good.
This week’s review of the 2021 Lincoln Corsair AWD Reserve was not as event-filled as that night in the Continental, but this relatively new compact luxury SUV in the Lincoln lineup is a smooth operator in its own right.
Introduced in 2020, the Corsair – the Latin word for journey – is an extremely smooth riding small SUV that is handsomely designed inside and out to exude a luxurious feel and look.
The 2021 AWD Reserve model I recently road tested for one week was outfitted with a very responsive 2.0 liter in line four cylinder turbo charged engine that puts out 250 horsepower. It is also available in a 2.3 liter four cylinder turbo charged engine that delivers 280 horsepower.
The 2021 version of the Corsair is pretty much the same as the 2020 debut Corsair; however, there is a third engine choice available this year – a 2.5 liter four cylinder with an electric motor plug in hybrid version that is available in the Grand Touring edition.
All of the engine choices are paired with a very smooth shifting 8 speed automatic transmission.
For overall smoothness, luxury, feel and comfort, you can’t beat the ride of this new Corsair. The engine and transmission combination is responsive and energized enough to pull you through and in and out of any everyday traffic situation you may encounter.
This model doesn’t handle like its European competitors though. It isn’t a performance driving type SUV. This model is athletic, but in its own way. It glides smoothly around curves almost effortlessly.
Case in point, the editors at Car and Driver gave it high marks for its “fantastic” looks, “plush ride” and upscale interior.
However, Car and Driver gave out low marks to the Corsair for its handling – “isn’t as lively as it could be” – and said it doesn’t compare with European rivals like the Porsche Macan, BMW X3 or Mercedes GLC.
While the Corsair I tested carries a price tag – $57,530 with options – up there with the European imports, I’m not sure its fair to knock it for what it isn’t.
The German import SUVs are engineered and designed differently. Their DNA is to give you a stick-to-the-road performance oriented ride that propels you tightly through all the bends and curves in the road.
The American – and Japanese imports for the most part – vehicles send you gliding over the bumps in the road and floating through the bends in the road.
So, if you are looking to play Mario Andretti with this SUV, then maybe the Corsair isn’t for you. I found enough to like in the ride of the comfortable new Corsair to rate it as a serious contender in the compact luxury SUV segment.
The base price of the Reserve AWD Corsair I tested is $45,090. With options and destination and delivery my tester was stickered at $57,530.
Option packages included: $4,200 for Equipment Group 201 A; $3,000 for the technology package; $1,600 for a monochromatic package; $1,100 for 24-way leather seats; $695 for pristine white paint and $700 for and adaptive suspension system.
Included in the equipment group package is: heated and ventilated front seats; heated rear seats; heated steering wheel; rain sensing wipers; adaptive cruise; parking assist and windshield de-icer.
The technology package includes: heads up display, using your phone as a key option, and a wireless charging pad for your phone.
The EPA fuel economy ratings for the Corsair come in at 24 miles per gallon overall – 29 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg in city driving.
The EPA also estimates that the Corsair will cost about $1,700 a year in fuel for the average consumer as it uses 4.2 gallons of gas per every 100 miles driven.
The new Corsair earned very impressive marks in the government’s five star safety ratings crash tests. It received the highest grade of 5 stars in its overall rating.
For the frontal crash test it earned 5 stars for both the driver and passenger side tests and it also got 5 stars for the side crash test for front seat and rear seat. It received 4 stars in the rollover test.
The inside ergonomics of the Corsair are plush. It has soft leather seats, nice wood trim and all around luxurious appointments. The 8 inch touch screen infotainment system works well and the voice command system is adequately responsive. I thought that for a vehicle of this character they should make the infotainment screen a bit larger.
Overall, though this relatively new Corsair model should be considered a serious contender in this segment.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears weekly. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments.