One of the most anticipated releases of the New York International Auto Show was the 2020 Lincoln Corsair. The Corsair is the replacement for the Lincoln MKC, and with that, Lincoln has only two MK vehicles left in production, the MKT which is surprisingly still in production, and the MKZ which may go away once the Ford Fusion dies out. Lincoln upgraded the MKX to Nautilus for 2019. That same year, the MKC got a refresh to look more like the rest of the Lincoln lineup for the 2019 model year only and that was an evolutionary step to the Corsair we see today.
To say that the Corsair is a step up from the MKC is probably an understatement. Though similar in exterior form, the Corsair wears its styling in a much more confident fashion. It is more upright and assertive a look than the outgoing MKC. While the Corsair shares a platform with the 2020 Ford Escape (My first impressions of the 2020 Escape here), this isn’t a simple badge job as all the sheet metal is different, and though they share the same wheelbase, the Lincoln is longer and wider than the Ford. While originally derided as derivative, the big Lincoln grille is really coming into its own as a signature look. I’m glad that Lincoln has kept at it and not listened to critics of the look. The full-width tail lamps also are a continued improvement, this time reminding me of the Lincoln Continental. The overall look is a much more cohesive design than the MKC which could look like a design compromise from some angles.
The Corsair deserves the award for “Most Improved Interior”. While the MKC was never a bad design, it hasn't aged well and still had some recession-era components. This new interior looks well above its class. While I detected some areas of cost-cutting on door panels and lower trim, nothing seemed out of line for the class and the excellence of the styling will let most people overlook it. I am a big fan of Lincoln’s interior styling direction and they are greatly outpacing crosstown rival Cadillac in that department. There is the “stuck on iPad” look of the infotainment system, but such is life in most vehicles these days. The infotainment system runs Sync3 which I’ve had good experiences with in the past. Lincoln’s toggle button shift control and the pod of buttons that reaches out from the dash feels almost like a 1950’s steampunk spaceship (that is a compliment). Front seating position seems just right and the leg room in the 2nd row is what I would expect from this class. It’s adjustable too, as the second row can slide 6 inches fore and aft to give more cargo room or more legroom as needed. I clock in at 5’10” and found there to be more than enough headroom. Lincoln’s 24-way adjustable seats take a while to get set up, but once you do, they feel great.
Both the 2.0T and 2.3T from the MKC carry over, though the 2.3 has been tweaked slightly to add a bit more torque (Now 280 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque) and both come with an 8-speed automatic. Neither engine is a bad choice and should move the Corsair along with zest. A plug-in hybrid variant is coming. All-Wheel drive is optional on the 2.0 and standard on the 2.3. The AWD system is able to decouple the rear axle in order to save fuel and recouple it when traction is needed. Up to 100% of the torque can be directed to the rear. Hopefully, the 8-speed automatic and decoupling AWD will improve the only average fuel economy of 20/27 city/highway that the MKC gets, but if not, at least there will be better performance.
Corsair will likely start around $35,000, which makes it a better value than the smaller and less powerful Cadillac XT4 that starts around the same price. It will also likely be a better value than anything coming from Europe. The most direct competition, in both size and price, will come from the Acura RDX, Infiniti QX50, and Lexus NX. I expect the Corsair to do well against them.
The Corsair will be in dealerships by the Fall.
The Lincoln Corsair Gallery has been updated with shots from the show floor.