Luxury Comes in a Compact Size


The Lincoln Corsair may not have earned our 2020 SUV of the Year award (that prize went to the Kia Telluride), but the compact crossover still won us over enough that we deemed it “the sleeper hit of 2020 SUV of the Year testing.” Credit a multitude of factors, including the model’s available turbocharged four-cylinder engines (a standard 250-horsepower 2.0-liter unit and an optional 295-hp 2.3-liter), refined ride, and handsome exterior design. That said, the most impressive piece of the Corsair’s puzzle is arguably its attractive and well-crafted interior.

What Does the Lincoln Corsair’s Interior Look and Feel Like?

Like its larger Aviator and Navigator stablemates, the Corsair’s insides combine art deco design details with an almost Scandinavian-like simplicity. It’s an alluring combination that helps the Lincoln stand out from many of its competitors. The Corsair’s cabin is more than a pretty space, though. Soft-touch materials line the crossover’s upper dashboard and door panels, while smatterings of chrome and piano black trim pieces further spruce up the little Lincoln’s innards.

The feeling of quality extends to the Corsair’s controls, too. Common touchpoints such as the dashboard-mounted gear switches, knurled knobs for controlling the audio volume and fan speed, and the turn signal and windshield wiper stalks all move with an innate heft and deftness befitting this crossover’s $36,940 base price. 

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How Easy Is It to use the Lincoln Corsair’s Infotainment System?

Lincoln tacks an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system to the center of the Corsair’s dash, regardless of trim. The monolithic screen responds quickly to inputs but offers comparatively little real estate relative to a number of the Corsair’s competitors. For instance, the Acura RDX and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class both include center screens that measure in at more than 10 inches. 

Fortunately, the Corsair supplements its somewhat crowded on-screen controls with physical knobs and buttons for the audio and climate control systems. Steering wheel-mounted controls provide additional control of infotainment functions, while also affording the driver the chance to interact with the standard 6.5-inch and available 12.3-inch instrument cluster displays. The latter is part of the Reserve trim’s optional Technology package, which also includes a head-up display.

Although the large digital gauge cluster’s crisp and tasteful graphics nicely complement the interior’s decor, its scant on-screen options limit the feature’s usefulness relative to the equally large unit Audi offers in the Q5. The German brand dubs its setup Virtual Cockpit, and it all but replicates the dashboard-mounted infotainment screen’s functionality by displaying items such as the navigation system’s on-screen map and various audio-related data, including artist and song information.

Despite its digital gauge cluster’s shortcomings, the Corsair’s steering wheel controls at least offer visually pleasing and generally intuitive functionality. Directional pads on the left and right wheel spokes allow users to control basic audio functions and quickly navigate to common audio, phone, and—if equipped—navigation tools. Augmenting the steering wheel’s physical controls are backlit directional symbols that display distinct commands for navigating specific on-screen menu items and function. Additionally, a lone button at the steering wheel rim’s 10 o’clock position allows the driver to easily enable the crossover’s voice command system. 

While the Corsair’s center stack and steering wheel controls are intuitive and ergonomically friendly enough for most, its available digital gauge cluster’s limited capabilities, as well as its center screen’s relatively small size, certainly leave room for improvement. Lincoln might also want to consider trading the piano black trim pieces that surround the steering wheel and center stack controls for something less prone to collecting fingerprints.

How Comfortable Is the Lincoln Corsair’s Interior?

Comfort is king in the Corsair, which comes standard with heated, 10-way power front seats. Ventilation is optional, as are 24-way power front seats with an integrated massage function, the latter of which are available exclusively on the higher-end Reserve trim. Thanks in part to the dashboard’s floating center stack, which houses the physical controls for the audio and climate control systems, the Corsair’s front passenger compartment feels especially roomy. Furthermore, the center console offers ample storage space for small items by way of a large covered bin located directly beneath the center stack, as well as a voluminous void beneath the center armrest.

The three-across rear bench seat is similarly accommodating. Sliding seat bottoms and reclining seatbacks allow those in the rear to take full advantage of the area’s 38.6 and 38.7 inches of legroom and headroom—figures that come within an inch of the 9.4-inch longer and $4,100 pricier Lincoln Nautilus. Air vents aft of the center console and available heated outboard seats bring additional opulence to the Corsair’s rear-seat space.

It might not have nabbed our SUV of the Year award, but the Lincoln Corsair remains a noteworthy luxury compact crossover. While its merits are many, the Corsair’s interior continues to stand out as one of its most admirable qualities.



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