Luxury for landlubbers

Lincoln delivers with the Corsair, a name rooted in pirate days of yore


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About 10 or 15 years ago, Ford sent a Lincoln MKZ sedan to Winnipeg for testing. Despite Ford trying to downplay the obvious connection to the Ford Fusion of the day, in the trunk was a pair of front floor mats that fit the MKZ perfectly.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/10/2021 (403 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

About 10 or 15 years ago, Ford sent a Lincoln MKZ sedan to Winnipeg for testing. Despite Ford trying to downplay the obvious connection to the Ford Fusion of the day, in the trunk was a pair of front floor mats that fit the MKZ perfectly.

Stitched into the mats? The Fusion name under the Ford blue oval.

So it’s with that history in mind we take a look at the 2021 Lincoln Corsair, the latest in a long line of Ford products to bear the word long associated with 16th-century piracy. Certainly an interesting choice of names given Lincoln’s history of looting Ford parts bins for everything from Aviators to Zephyrs.

Yet, while the Corsair is loosely based on the Ford Escape, this is more than a warmed-over Ford.

The differentiation begins when you walk towards the Corsair. There’s a lot more bling than on Escape, starting with Lincoln’s signature grille featuring openings in the shape of the Lincoln logo. The grille typically comes in chrome, but there’s also a monochromatic package that for $2,250 makes the grille body colour (among other things). There are chrome nameplates on the leading edges of the front doors.

The Corsair also looks more substantial than Escape, with a steeper front end that differs from the tapered look on the Escape.

Inside, the styling is 100 per cent different. If anything, the interior design is a grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth. It has the right mix of materials, the right amount of chrome bling and a linear design to the dash that ties it all together.

Levers below the Sync touchscreen compose the gear selector (P, R, N, D (specific forward gears can be selected using the steering wheel paddles)).

Despite Ford continuing to advance the technology of its Sync connectivity software, the most frequently used controls are brought out to actual buttons and knobs. While there are menu items for functions such as setting temperature, turning on the heated seats or steering wheel or changing radio stations or audio volume levels, these can also be operated using actual buttons or knobs.

Of course, the Sync 4 infotainment system also brings out a surprising amount of commands to the voice-recognition system: “Sirius First Wave” tunes the radio to Sirius Channel 33; “set temperature 21 degrees” does exactly that. “I’m hungry” activates the navigation system to find a restaurant nearby.

Under the hood is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder good for 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and delivers power to all four wheels, with all-wheel drive standard in Canada. Also available is a 2.3-litre turbo delivering 295 horsepower.

The 2.0-litre turbo driven probably has just enough power for average drivers, but those seeking a bit of sportiness may wish to upgrade to the 2.3. The vehicle has several driving modes — Normal, Excite, Conserve, Slippery and Deep — and with the smaller motor, you really need to choose Excite (sport on many other vehicles) to keep the revs up and the downshifts quick for a sportier drive. The vehicle defaults to Normal, so you have to consciously choose the mode you want each time you drive.

Ford may not be recycling the Escape design in the Corsair, but it is recycling the name: the first Ford to bear the name was the Edsel Corsair in the 1950s followed by the Ford Corsair in the late 1960s (and late 1990s in Australia).

How it stacks up

At $45k to start and $50k for the reserve model, the Corsair makes a fair bit of sense. Competitors from Mercedes-Benz (GLB), Audi (Q5) and BMW (X3) and Lexus (NX) are all near that range. As the price climbs towards the $66,000 asked for the tester, your mileage may vary. One factor in Lincoln’s favour is that with 95 dealerships in Canada, it has almost twice the number of its German competitors: proximity to a dealership might sway some buyers towards Lincoln.

Kelly Taylor

Kelly Taylor
Copy Editor, Autos Reporter

Kelly Taylor is a Winnipeg Free Press copy editor and award-winning automotive journalist. He's been a member of the Automobile Journalists' Association of Canada since 2001.


Updated on Friday, October 29, 2021 10:17 AM CDT: Fixes headline

Updated on Friday, October 29, 2021 10:19 AM CDT: Adds subheadline, formats fact box

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