Caraganza First Drive Review 2021 Lincoln Corsair: It’s only for the big kids

I’m not a big car guy. I mean I am a big car guy, just not a big-car guy.  Sigh, what I mean is yes, I like cars, all sorts, just not the big ones.  Of course, I don’t care if you want to have a big car, whether it’s a big ole HUMVEE, or SUV or pickup truck. A neighbor just bought a new pickup truck. A Ford. An F-Series. Specifically, an F-750 which is the largest truck in the lineup. My neighbor is all of about five foot five inches tall. The first time I looked out my window and saw him climbing up into his new big ole F-750 I tried not to laugh too loud. He looked like a six-year-old behind the wheel and could barely see above the dashboard.

No, I’ll keep my preference for smaller vehicles. I like to be able to know that I won’t have trouble finding a parking spot or worry about taking up an entire lane in traffic. And since I have no plans to buy a big boat or some sort of something I need to tow, I think I will be just fine.

Fine with things like the SUV Lincoln sent me for a recent week. It was the Corsair, the small SUV Lincoln introduced last year to replace the MKC. Small in an SUV is also a good thing, in my opinion. I’ve tried all manner of SUVs throughout the years and frankly the big ones make me a bit nervous. Especially the ones with interiors so big you could hold a dance contest in the back. I was always afraid I would lose things in them, like my kids, though in hindsight that might not be a bad thing, I guess. My kids could learn to live in the wilds of the SUV raising themselves and learning how to work the pedals and cruise control. And of course, the complicated infotainment systems so have.

But no, a smaller SUV is my preference, and the Corsair fits that mold perfectly.

The Corsair debuted in an all-new SUV for the 2020 model year, replacing the Lincoln MKC. By the way I’m glad that they’ve dropped the lettering system, I never could figure out all the MK’s Ford had.

The Corsair has three trims: Standard, Reserve, and Grand Touring. The base Standard version is a Lincoln, and as with all such vehicles named after the guy on our dollar bills, it’s very nicely equipped. Moving up to the Reserve trim adds a few more enhancements inside the cabin along with a larger engine. The Grand Touring trim is new for 2021 and is a plug-in hybrid version. The Standard and Reserve versions can option in all wheel drive, with the Grand Touring all-wheel drive is standard.

Under the hood, a 2.0 4-cylinder delivering 250 horses is standard, with a 2.3 liter that bumps up the horses to 295 optional. Both have 8-speed transmissions. The Grand Touring hybrid powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

While it shares architecture with the Ford Escape, since it’s a Lincoln, the Corsair is a very nice place to be. While I’m sure the Standard trim is very nice the Reserve tester I had for my week had such nice things as genuine leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power-folding rear seats, a panoramic roof, a hands-free power liftgate, navigation, in-dash navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, a power-adjustable steering column, genuine wood interior trim and a 14-speaker Revel stereo.

I also had the 201A package which gave me such things as heated and ventilated seats, a surround-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, and an automated parking system. It also had as part of this package, 24-way power-adjustable front seats with my favorite option on any car, seat massagers. My tester also had the Technology package which included a wireless smartphone charger, active headlights, and a head-up display. Finally, my tester had 19-inch wheels and looked pretty darn sharp setting still.

Inside the cabin there seems plenty of room to carry five adults, and behind the back row, there’s a decent amount of space with 27.6 cubic feet of room. Folding the seats down increases that space to 57.6 cubic feet so I suspect all of us average folk could live with it just fine.

On the road the Corsair is well, alright, alright, alright (you knew that was coming). The 2.3 engine delivers plenty of power and the infotainment controls are easy to use. Overall, it was a very nice week, and my only wish is that I had a chance to drive it some more.

So for those of you who like the big things, trucks, SUVs and the like, move along, there is nothing to see here. For those of us who enjoy vehicles that are smaller and easier to live with, the Corsair is an obvious choice, unless of course you don’t enjoy being swaddled in luxury while getting massaged while cruising around town. I do however, and unlike my neighbor, I can see very well over the dashboard and won’t look like a six-year-old behind the wheel.

2023 UPDATE. Lincoln would make me wait until April of 2023 before I had a chance to spend another week with a Corsair, also the Reserve. There were a few minor changes in the ensuing years. In 2022 they added some option additions including a head-up display and a 13-speaker Revel stereo system to the Luxury package. The Elements Technology package also got some more features like LED fog lamps, a hands-free power liftgate, rear heated seats, a heated steering wheel, adaptive LED headlamps, 24-way Perfect Position front seats, additional USB ports, ambient interior lighting, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a wireless smartphone charging pad.

The wireless charging pad is an a somewhat odd place; in the canter console stuck to the side. I can’t decide if it’s annoying or brilliant. Maybe annoying since I didn’t find it until the second to last day, so I guess it’s actually sort of brilliant.

Speaking of the center console, that center console got a small redesign as part of an overall cabin makeover that includes new climate controls, and a larger 13.2-inch infotainment screen, and a new standard 12.3-inch digital gauge display.

The 2023 is also the first model year to get the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 2.1 Drive advanced driving assistance system, which is Lincoln’s name for parent company Ford’s Super Cruise. Co-Pilot360 allows for limited hands-free driving on the highway and is available as part of a pricey optional package (around $2600). It allows a driver to drive without assistance. However, there are several conditions that must be met. One of those conditions is that you drive on one of the roads already identified by Lincoln’s development team. I got a chance to try it out, briefly, after the system alerted me to the fact that we were on one of those identified roads, and it worked pretty well. The Co-Pilot360 system also includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping system with blind spot assist, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, evasive steering assist, rear cross traffic braking, a rear view camera and parking sensors,  and a 360-degree camera with front washer.

Other changes include a new optional cabin filtration system, standard adaptive cruise control across the board, and the discontinuation of the available 2.3-liter turbocharged engine.

The 2023 also got an exterior facelift with a redesigned grille and exterior lighting elements and new wheel designs. The plug-in hybrid Grand Touring model gets a new satin metallic exterior trim with blue accents.

The price ticked up a bit with an MSRP of $45,375 with my 2023 Reserve topping out at $60,785, but at the end of the day, it still had all the goodness of the 2021 model, and a bit more. Now, if I could just figure out where I left my phone.

The 2021 Lincoln Corsair Reserve AWD
MSRP: $45,090
MSRP (as tested): $57,680
Engine (as tested): 138 cu in. I-4 295 hp @ 5500 rpm, 310 lb-ft torque @ 3000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Curb weight: 3988 lb

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase: 106.7 in
Length: 180.6 in
Width: 74.3 in
Height: 64.1 in
Passenger volume: 103 cu ft
Cargo volume: 28 cu ft

Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity: 5
Passenger Volume (cu. ft.): 102.5
Front Head Room (in.): 39.5
Front Leg Room (in.): 43.2
Front Shoulder Room (in.): 57.1
Front Hip Room (in.): 55.6
Second Head Room (in.): 38.7
Second Leg Room (in.): 38.6
Second Shoulder Room (in.): 56.3
Second Hip Room (in.): 50.8
Cargo Volume to Seat 1 (cu. ft.): 57.6
Cargo Volume to Seat 2 (cu. ft.): 27.6
Cargo Volume to Seat 3 (cu. ft.): 27.6

4 Basic Years / 50,000 Basic Miles
6 Drivetrain Years / 70,000 Drivetrain Miles
5 Corrosion Years / Unlimited Corrosion Miles
Unlimited Roadside Assistance Years / Unlimited Roadside Assistance Miles
4 Maintenance Years / 50,000 Maintenance Miles


Greg Engle