2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve – Bottom Line Review

2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: Privateer among compact luxury crossover SUVs is marked by bounty of booty

MARK OF A COMMISSIONED PRIVATEER: Not to be confused with the run of the mill open seas pirate outlaws, the Corsair was highly manueverable armed naval merchant vessel commissioned by the King of France to plunder foreign merchant shipping during guerre de course. The booty they seized financed armed conflicts. Sinister though their mission must now seem, the role of privateer ships was vital to French colonial exploration of North America.

REFLAGGED WITH RICHES:  Converted from French navy to American cavalry, the 2021 Lincoln Corsair is a maneuverable steed. Formerly flying the flag of Mark C this compact luxury crossover has pilfered from a lesser fleet member, yet offers decidedly superior accoutrements.

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WHAT: 2021 Lincoln Corsair Reserve 2.3T AWD , 2nd generation CX483, assembled on the Ford C2 platform, related to the Mk. 4 Ford Escape.

Standard Power: 1998 cc, twin-scroll turbocharged, direct injection 2 x Ti-VCT DOHC 16V I-4 cylinder gasoline engine, start-stop idle = 255 hp/ 280 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm + 8-speed planetary automatic transaxle. 5 selectable drive modes.

Optional Power: 2256 cc, twin-scroll turbocharged, direct injection 2 x Ti-VCT DOHC 16V I-4 cylinder gasoline engine, start-stop idle = 290 hp/ 310 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm + 8-speed planetary automatic transaxle. 5 selectable drive modes.

2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: 300 cc upgraded turbo DOHC gas engine nets +45 hp, to nearly 300 &+30 lb-ft, matched with 8-speed autobox for respectable shove, returning 234 mpg

Available Drivetrain: PTU to viscous multi-clutch differential all-wheel drive.

WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: For 2021, Lincoln Corsair is cosmetically unchanged from its recent “MarKC” past. Cues shared with the other Lincoln crossover sport utes include tall wheel arches, sharply raked windscreen and a rear sloping sport wagon profile resembling the Range Rover line. Those put off egregiously mammoth grilles common to the luxury bracket should find a home with the demure face of Corsair. Equally less ostentatious are smaller headlamp housings with directionals / DRLs separated laterally mid bumper cover. Corners are solid body color concave with but a darkened straked lower valance.

2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: For the discerning taste in modest grilles

On the body sides an upper belt-line crease doesn’t alter slope much, while the cheat line crease is underlined by a mirror chrome plate signaling luxury. Meanwhile all pillars are darkened to signal a floating roof effect. C & D -Pillars are upright canted slightly forward. Door mount side mirrors go two-tone while many should find the application of chrome pseudo vent containing “CORSAIR” handsome.

2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: optional variable damping suspension makes riding on 20″-inch wheels quite comfortable

A rather upright rear liftgate denotes luxury in contrast to a sporty deep roof spoiler and short backlight. Svelte horizontal raceway style LED tail lamps below the glass are connected by a full spanning LED light bar.  Ford Edge was already adorned by a tall greenhouse, sporty exaggerated D-pillar kink, lower body cladding, a rising belt-line commencing below the hood-line, an exaggerated D-pillar kink meeting short sloped backlight to form a floating roof, a prominent Kammback liftgate meeting a low load floor, mid liftgate wraparound trapezoidal LED taillamps, a layered muscular lower rear bumper cover with dual verticals corner vents and exhaust outlets, and front, rear simulated skid plates.

2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: acreage of panorama glass roof

WHY: Yankee mark of privateer compact luxury SUV vessel hosts abundance of rich booty in the hold.

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Autumn 2020

WHERE: Lincoln new vehicle dealers

WHERE MADE: Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.

WHERE TO: Front-wheel biased all-wheel drive, electronically transmits up to 100% of torque rear-wards; side-to-side ABS torque vectoring; 8.1″-inches ground clearance; Inclement weather survivor; -1 No AWD lock

  • Center console twist knob Drive Mode selector: Slippery, Normal, Conserve, Excite, Deep Snow / Sand


The extra 500 cubic centimeters turbocharged displacement and 55 horsepower in the tested new Lincoln Corsair Reserve‘s optional gasoline powerplant, backed by an 8-cog automatic, impresses with serene effortless bolts down the boulevard. There is some extra oomph mid rev band. Though don’t look for it to smoke anything by a Euro in-house tuner.

Even with a sport package worth of bushing rates the mid-pack wheelbase Corsair 2.4T Reserve‘s optional adaptive damping ($700) really smooths the nearly 2-ton ride. Deeper road divots dispatch but a slight thud through the oversized 20″ wheels, without any seat jolt or body upset. Continental V-rated all-season tires deliver more on silence, however lean is avoided until the dry grip limits. Tracking true requires minimal steering input, while both effort and notes from the road remain low. Large plate brake rotors, though, deliver a more measured bite response.

    • +/- Toggle style mid center stack transmission selector switches in the audio and climate grouping
  • 2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: Abundant front center console storage owing to floating shelf center stack and toggle button transmission selector
    • -1 Chintzy steering wheel dorsal shift paddles

HOW FAR: 24 combined miles per gallon fuel economy. 540 miles highway range.

HOW BIG/ LITTLE: This compact family crossover, sized mid-pack among the competition, suits 4 substantial adults well. A slighter fifth wheel won’t mind the suite. +1 Sliding 60/40% split 2nd Row seat cushion w/ tilting backs.

2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: tilting & sliding 60/40% split 2nd Row seats

√ 2021 Lincoln Corsair wheelbase = 2.7″ < Cadillac XT-4 , 2.0″ > Lexus NX 300

+1: 40.6″-inches Row 2 legroom = 1.0″ > Cadillac XT-4, 2.0″ > Lexus NX 300

HOW USEFUL: Tall load aperture; Power remote release 60/40% split fold 2nd Row seatbacks; Low load floor adjusts to 2nd Row seat incline fold; Floating center console storage + deep armrest bin; Hands-free power liftgate; -1 Thick A, D pillars hinder forward, rear visibility; +1 Decent front & rear door pocket storage; +1 Tow Rating: 3500 lbs.

  • +1 Cargo space (max.) = 14% > Cadillac XT-4; 3% > Lexus NX 300
  • +1 Substantial door pocket space
    2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: Low load liftover, good width between wheel arches & near flat split folding 2nd accommodate large cargo for class

HOW SAFE: STANDARD: 8 airbags; Rear camera w/ predictive grid; Audible rear park assist; MyKey restrictive access; Lincoln Co-Pilot360: Blind Spot, rear cross traffic Warning; Post collision S.O.S. alert; Lane Departure Warning & Steer Prevention; Forward collision, pedestrian detection warning w/ avoidance braking; Automatic high beam headlamps

Available: ♦ Rain sensing windshield wipers; ♦ Bi-LED headlamps

Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Assist Plus: Full adaptive cruise control; Emergency evasive steering, Lane center steering.

Active Park Assist: +1 Impress the neighbors with a precise perpendicular park job. Almost as excellent at perpendicular parking, but sometimes sonar placed the Corsair off-center.

    • +1 Tall side mirrors, thin pillars and low front cowl enhance outward view, rear visibility;

HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY:  An appellation of Reserve promises the refinement expected of a nobler vintage. The tested Lincoln Corsair Reserve delivers the sensational color contrast, tandem French contrast stitching, floating center stack brightwork, above waist height which surpasses the business executive appearance in the Teutons. Larger panel gaps than found in any Lexus, a hard plastic glove box door, lower cabin panels suited to a Ford, and a media display with mid-level resolution smack of economizing. Still switchgear is far more artful, responds with superior precision feedback than in any Blue Oval While, even if the canted lower center stack jams up all the shiny bits without much physical distinction. The care paid to details and avoidance of a touch pad or scrolling knob remote media control device door stands out in this segment.

Leather seating, heated & cooled, 24-way power adjust front buckets, 3-position memory driver’s; 4 power windows = front full express; Power folding side mirrors; Heated, tilt & telescoping, cross-stitched leather wrapped steering wheel; 2-zone Automatic climate control; Easy access left lower dashboard dimmer & rotary light switch; Heated, sliding, tilting split 2nd Row seats; Panorama moonroof;

2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: driver & front pax entries

+1 Power massaging seats (optional); Wind & road noise isolation; Center console knee padding; Ample front seat lumbar support.

Cool Gizmo(s): Lower center stack multi-tab toggle transmission selector; Shelf style floating center stack; 12.3″ -inch configurable color LCD dual flanking gauge cluster multi-function display; Lincoln Vision steering wheel horizontal spoke variable virtual soft switches.

2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: driver’s door w/ elegant torso shaped power seat controls

Details Done Right: Floating center stack shelf w/ mirror finish audio & climate control switch grouping; Ivory dash inlay contrasting with stitched turquoise Beyond Blue leather dash top, door arm & hand area inserts; Human torso outline door panel front seat controls; Machined metallic audio volume & transmission selector rotary dials; Variable color cabin door, foot-well and console ambient illumination.

2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: cabin illuminated at night


Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Cheap looking hard plastic glove box door; Relective glare from lower center stack metallic switch bezels.

HOW “APP” -LICABLE: Dash-top 8.0″-inch Sync3 3-pane capacitive touch LCD infotainment screen; +1 Large icons; +1 Extensive voice commands; Voice learning hands-free communications; 14-speaker, 12-Channel, 810 W Revel by Harman audiophile w/ streaming audio & HD radio; Mobile powered Android Auto/ Apple Car Play application & navigation overlays; Pandora mirror application; MyKey restrictions; Phone as a Key smart phone remote vehicle access / start.

2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve: native navigation displayed on dashtop tri-pane 8.0″ touch LCD media screen w/ directions in the Heads Up Display

Subscription based: Sirius XM radio (90 day free trial); Sirius TravelLink traffic, weather, sports scores, movie listings, fuel prices, ski conditions apps (5 years); WiFi hotspot;

Power supplies – Row 1: USB-A x 1, USB-C x 1, 12V x 1; Row 2: USB-A x 3, USB-C x 1; Cargo bay: 12V x 1; +1 Covered lower center console wireless device bin

+/- Native navigation won’t operate with Android Auto activated.

HOW MUCH: $57,680 = 2021 Lincoln Corsair 2.3T AWD Reserve . -1 In excess of $12,000 in options added on a compact CUV which starts at $36,665.

WHAT’S MISSING: A high power powertrain option.

ANY COMPETITION: Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Cadillac XT-4, Infiniti QX50, Lexus NX 300, Mercedes Benz GLE 300,

BOTTOM LINE:  There was never going to be as nice a Ford Focus derived Lincoln entry luxury compact sedan. Beware that Corsair Reserve commands a hefty bounty for its riches.

(Contributing Editor: T. Paluch)

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