Navigator-level luxury goes compact.
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Often when you think of American Luxury the thought of large, grand, and plush vehicles comes to mind. Lincoln has set out to replace that thought process with their smallest SUV in the line-up, the all-new 2020 Lincoln Corsair. The smaller sibling to the Aviator and Navigator is set to compete in the largest segment in the SUV market with the likes of the Audi Q3, Range Rover Evoque, and Lexus NX. We spent a day with the Corsair to find out if it can hold its own to properly represent the Lincoln marque.

The Corsair may share the same platform as the Ford Escape, yet that’s where the similarities end. The exterior exudes confidence with its striking lines and modern stance. Designers were inspired by the motion and grace of a ballerina and positioned an “S-curve” within the bodyline, which is quite noticeable from the side profile. Many of the other styling cues are similar to the larger, Aviator from the perpendicular roofline to the blunted front-end.

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As you may come to expect from Lincoln, the cabin features all of the accouterments of a luxury vehicle. Engineers added a double-walled dashboard to reduce the noise from the engine compartment to create a quiet and tranquil experience when behind the wheel. One of their goals was to create a “sanctuary for the senses” within the cabin and I believe they achieved it successfully.

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From starting the vehicle to the significant decrease in road noise and traveling sound from a running engine - the experience is calm. Additionally, engineers incorporated pleasant sounds and chimes from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, to replace the typical harsh and often annoying sounds of electronic alerts for things such as an unbuckled seat belt. We appreciated the ability for wireless charging in the front-row armest and the power outlets located throughout the vehicle as having a powered device on the road comes in clutch.

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On the road, the Corsair drove nimbly on the highway and through the open backroads. Available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, 250 horsepower engine with an optional AWD upgrade as well as a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine with 295 horsepower and AWD standard.

Both engines are mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission and have five drive modes available - normal, conserve, excite, slippery, and deep conditions - which adjust steering, transmission shifts, engine response, etc. We found the vehicle to respond quickly with a little pep, cornering was precise, and the overall drive was very smooth.

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Lincoln prides itself on technology and innovation to create a personalized driving experience. One of these innovations include, “Phone As A Key,” also seen with the Aviator. Using an app, the owner is able to lock and unlock, open the liftgate, and start and drive the Corsair with their smartphone without a traditional key. Additionally, drivers can recall individual preferences such as front seat adjustment, side mirror placement, and steering column positions. Up to four “keys” can be provided to a family member or a friend providing them with access to the vehicle. We found the phone as a key to be intriguing and works well enough, but for instances such as valet parking your car it becomes more time consuming and could be a hassle with valet attendants.

As they say, big things come in small packages and the Corsair just does that packed with features and delivering a quality driving experience in a refined and modern-styled SUV. The cost of entry is reasonable starting at $36,940 for the standard FWD version, but from there it quickly escalates as options are added. The fully-equipped Corsair Reserve 2.3L version that we tested is north of the $60,000 range, which is quite significant in this class. Lincoln has introduced a contender to be considered with the new Corsair.

From $36,950, lincoln.com

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