Ahoy me Hearties, Lincoln has a swashbuckling new Corsair sailing the automotive Seven Seas.
Love the name. Corsair was a speedy breed of pirate ship favored, in the day, by the likes of such sea-going cutthroats as Bluebeard and Captain Kidd.
And a bag of doubloons to Lincoln for jettisoning the previous, dull-as-seaweed MKC badge used for the Corsair’s predecessor. All that spaghetti-soup of lettering always confused me.
What we have here is a terrific compact crossover competing in the fastest-growing sector of the market. Pricing goes from a few pieces-of-eight under $37,000, to a bag o’ gold $50,000-plus for a loaded-to-the-gunwales flagship model.
Aimed in its cross-hairs are the likes of Acura’s latest RDX, Audi’s Q3, BMW’s X3, Mercedes’ GLC and perhaps its fiercest foe, the cutlass-wielding Cadillac’s XT4.
Together with Lincoln’s new, three-row Aviator and the battleship Navigator as the flagship of the fleet, this pint-sized Corsair showcases the luxury brand’s distinctive new design language. This thing is gorgeous.
Curvier than a busty galleon figurehead – there’s hardly a straight line or flat panel on the body – I love the swoopy roof, the high waist, and all the lovely detailing. The Corsair badge beneath the door mirror is a piece of art.
The distinctive grille is now Lincoln’s signature, and is flanked by sparkly LED headlights and blade-like daytime running lights. In a sea of look-alike SUVs, this new Lincoln stands out like Jack Sparrow on the poop deck of the Black Pearl.
Where Lincoln has really pushed the boat out is with the Corsair’s interior. This maybe an entry-level model, but you’d never know it looking at the upscale materials, the terrific fit and finish and great design.
For a compact sport-ute it’s also impressively roomy. Rear-seat legroom in particular, is stretch-out generous. And I love how the back seat can slide rearwards by up to six inches. It gives you the flexibility of deciding whether you want more kneeroom, or more space in the back for luggage.
That feeling of lots of interior space is heightened by the Corsair’s huge panoramic glass roof and slender roof pillars, which improve all-round visibility.
While this new baby Lincoln shares most of its greasy bits with Ford’s latest Edge crossover, the two models are like night and day when it comes to refinement.
With the Corsair, Lincoln has installed a sound-attenuating windshield and front side glass, layers of sound-deadening insulation, and active noise cancellation technology through the stereo.
It works. At 75mph on I-75 it’s as hushed as a sailor sleeping off a hangover. Even when you’re accelerating hard, the engine hardly utters a peep.
Talking of engines, the new Corsair offers a choice of two four-cylinder turbo motors. The base engine is a 2.0-liter with 250-horsepower, or you can step up – like I did – to the feisty 295-hp 2.3-liter version which comes with all-wheel drive as standard.
The bigger engine is worth the extra gold as it delivers plenty o’ performance. And with 310 pounds-feet of muscley torque, off-the-line sprinting is swift and there’s strong, immediate response for safe, fast passing.
The Corsair’s eight-speed automatic is smoother than the Saragossa Sea and enhances the SUV’s focus on delivering an elegant, refined, luxurious ride down the road.
Point that distinctive bow along a curvy backroad, and the Lincoln’s precise, nicely-weighted steering, supple suspension and grippy rubber at each corner do make the Corsair fun to drive. Available adaptive suspension adds to the fun.
Yes, this booming compact sport-ute market is filled with impressive offerings. But this new Corsair should float your boat with its treasure chest of features, stunning design and focus on luxury.