Ahoy me hearties. Lincoln has a swashbuckling new Corsair sailing the automotive Seven Seas.
In case you skipped that particular high school history lesson, back in the day, a Corsair was a speedy breed of pirate ship favored by the likes of such sea-going cutthroats as Bluebeard and Captain Kidd.
Fast forward to 2023, and this bestseller in the Lincoln armada just got a nip, tuck, and topsides refresh that should strengthen its appeal in this booming, compact luxury crossover section of the market.
With its bigger and bolder front grille, new sparkly LED front lighting, and fresh wheel designs, this fancy new Lincoln now 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 refreshed interior. The dash has been redesigned around a cool, new 13.2-inch touchscreen, though lovers of traditional buttons and knobs might lament the move to on-screen controls.
All that remains is a single volume control knob, a circular drive mode selector, and a row of piano-key style gear shift controls, which are as annoying to use as those in the previous model.
Arguably the biggest news is the addition of Lincoln’s new smarty-pants highway hands-free driving technology called BlueCruise. One of its multitude of features is a hands-free lane change function where, with a tap of a turn signal, it’ll ease you past that lumbering 18-wheeler.
What hasn’t changed is the baby Lincoln’s focus on upscale materials, impressive fit and finish, and generous levels of equipment which really do set it apart from the competition.
On most models, that means super high-quality leather with lovely stitching, genuine wood trim, and splashes of satin metal. For ’23, there’s also the option of two new interior themes: yummy-sounding Smoked Truffle, and rich Eternal Red.
As before, the model line-up kicks-off with the dull-sounding Standard (starting at $40,085), the Reserve (from $45,665) and loaded Grand Touring (from $55,930). All-wheel drive adds an extra $2,300.
Of course, this being Lincoln there’s a pick ’n mix of option packages, the most-lavish being the $10,730 Convenience III which can push the price of a Corsair to well over $60,000.
Power wise, the tried and trusty 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is retained as the entry-level engine for the Standard and Reserve models. Gone is the previously optional 2.3-liter four-cylinder that, apparently, no one opted for.
Check the box for the top-of-the-line Grand Touring Corsair and you get PHEV plug-in hybrid power that mates a non-turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor juiced by a 14.4kWh battery.
This gives a combined 266-horsepower—compared to the non-hybrid’s 250-hp—though the 27 miles of electric-only range is nothing too special.
I’ve just spent a week helming a turbo-powered Corsair Reserve and came away impressed. Of course, there’s some serious rivalry out there, including Cadillac’s cutlass-wielding XT4, BMW’s X3, the Lexus NX, Audi’s Q3, and the hugely appealing Genesis GV70.
But where the Corsair scores is through its luxury and refinement. This is one smooth operator, with its hushed four-cylinder, smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic, and sophisticated, lump-absorbing suspension.
No, it’s nowhere near as sporty or fun to drive as the BMW or Audi, but it can zip from standstill to 60 miles per hour in around six seconds and punch out of freeway on-ramps with authority.
Through the curvy bits, the steering feels nicely weighted though a little numb, while the body will lean like the Love Boat in a storm if a curve is taken a little too fast. But as an all-rounder, it is a delightful-driving compact SUV which can average close to 30-to-the-gallon on the highway.
Yes, this booming compact sport-ute market is filled with impressive offerings. But this latest Corsair should float your boat with its treasure chest of features, appealing design, and focus on luxury.