Lincoln's Corsair feels like Navigator luxury in a smaller package

Now with massage seats that don’t stop.

Lincoln's goal of filling its lineup with luxury SUVs continues. With the Corsair (starting at $36,940, it's the newest and tiniest SUV in the automaker's lineup), Lincoln has entered the small SUV market as a vehicle that cares more about the occupants being comfortable than trying to be sporting.

At the heart of the vehicle are two powertrains. A four-cylinder 2.0-liter or the punchy four-cylinder 2.3-liter. Both are turbocharged. The engines push out 250 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque or 295 horsepower and 310 foot-pounds of torque respectively. For the money, most will be happy with the lower-power 2.0-liter engine. During my tests, that variant of the Corsair had no trouble charging up hills, onto the freeway and passing slower drivers. You can opt for the larger engine and Lincoln does offer a sporty "energize" mode in its vehicles, but I suspect most buyers will use that mode sparingly as the vehicle itself is really meant to be a cruiser than gunning for the SUV rockets coming out of Germany.

To that end, the interior of the Corsair is a roomy affair even though it's the smallest vehicle in the automaker's SUV lineup. The seats were a tad firmer than I like in a luxury vehicle, but I was comfortable during my time behind the wheel. That was probably helped by the ability to turn on the front-seat massage feature without it automatically turning off after a set amount of time. Typically after about 15-20 minutes, car seat massages come to an end. Not on the Corsair. It's great.

The rest of the interior continues Lincoln's pursuit of American elegance, with wood trim and nautical or aircraft themes. The Corsair isn't as over the top as other Lincoln SUVs in this field. The center console control panel has a light aquatic feel, but that's about it.

Above that console is the infotainment display, and, while it's crisp and I noticed very little in the way of latency, it looks out of place with the rest of the vehicle. The fonts are too large and the navigation map is cluttered with information that could easily be consolidated. At least it has the information you need and the 8-inch standard touchscreen or 12.3-inch optional display support CarPlay and Android Auto (if you decided to go that route).

2020 Lincoln Corsair first drive

It's unfortunate that the infotainment system is so boring because the dash cluster ahead of the driver is so cool. It features a minimalistic aesthetic and the animations between the drive modes is worthy of showing off to your friends.

Another "hey look at this" feature is using your phone as a key. Tesla and other automakers did this a while ago. But those automakers tend to appeal to a younger audience. Lincoln wants new (younger) blood behind the wheel of its vehicles. The automaker is clearly shooting for a younger demographic here. Yes, even grandparents have smartphones, but it's their children and grandchildren that will use this feature. Plus, it's also a great way to loan out the vehicle to friends and family members without giving them an actual key. Up to four virtual keys can be created for use with the companion app.

Having a semblance of peace of mind while your car is being driven by close friends and younger family members is important, and Lincoln has thrown in a bunch of safety features including automatic braking, lane-keep assist and cross-traffic alerts for backing up.

The advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) seems to have gotten a bit of an upgrade since the last Lincoln I drove. It's better at centering the vehicle in the lane, and following and reacting to cut-ins seems to been finessed. I never had the Corsair jam on the accelerator to get up to speed or slam on the brakes when a vehicle cut in front of it. It's a more civilized affair.

2020 Lincoln Corsair first drive

That's the deal with the Lincoln lineup. Sure that can go faster in Excite mode, but frankly, they're unabashed cruisers meant to appeal to folks that don't necessarily want their SUV to also be a sports car. They want to sit back, turn on the massage seat and go about their day while looking good. The Corsair is the impressive-looking comfy chair of the road is that's what you're looking for.