When you think of comfortable vehicles, the first ones that come to mind are big sedans and SUVs that ride like you’re on a cloud. They isolate you from everything else as if occupants are inside a cocoon of serenity. However, there’s a trade-off for all of that cushiness because these vehicles aren’t exactly the ones you want to drive around if you live in the city or anywhere that’s congested. There’s one vehicle that promises to give you big car comfort without the massive exterior footprint and that’s the 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring. This compact luxury crossover aims to blend the sheer cushiness of its bigger siblings but in a smaller package. How does it do that? That’s what we’re about to find out.
Downsizing ‘Quiet Luxury’
The 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring immediately lets its family lineage known. Its exterior styling is reminiscent of the Nautilus, Aviator, and Navigator. Compact dimensions and a low, sweeping roofline give the Corsair a distinct presence that’s more akin to a slightly lifted wagon. Get inside and you’ll immediately get a heightened sensation of that. Yes, you get a higher seating position but it’s not that much more versus a typical sedan. This also emphasizes the crossover’s compact size because you don’t feel like you’re in a hulking behemoth.
No cutting corners
Don’t let the entry-level Lincoln fool you into thinking it’s short on practicality because it’s quite versatile. Despite it being among the smaller entries in the compact luxury SUV segment, the Corsair seats four comfortably. Five will even work in a pinch thanks to the nearly flat floor. The cargo area is pretty useful thanks to its squared-off shape; it also helps that the rear window isn’t at an odd angle. Adding to the Corsair’s versatility are rear seats that recline generously, slide, and fold completely flat via buttons on the right side of the cargo area. For small items and mobile devices, there’s a nicely sized bin just below the center stack. The available 24-way Perfect Position seats offer excellent support, adjustability, and cushiness. For most folks, these are among the best seats in any vehicle. However, people with larger frames might find the side and thigh bolsters too aggressive, making them feel like they’re sitting on them rather than in them.
Lincoln should be applauded for doing a wonderful job at making a compact crossover as luxurious as its larger siblings. The Corsair’s fit and finish are simply top-notch from the consistent use of materials to the way the controls operate. Everything you touch feels expensive and areas you interact with often are either soft or padded. Like its big brothers, the Corsair’s cabin is serene and incredibly quiet at all speeds, enhancing its premium aura. Additionally, the Corsair’s interior avoids feeling intimate thanks to the generous glass area afforded by the nearly upright greenhouse.
There’s a sense of elegance in how Lincoln approaches luxury that makes it truly appealing. From the design to the way everything is laid out, there’s no mistaking this for anything but a distinctly American take on a premium compact crossover. The fact that the Corsair also gets the same chimes from the Aviator, which were recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, makes it feel special. While small, it’s a unique touch that pays homage to the brand’s Motor City roots and gives the vehicle authenticity.
Intuitiveness comes standard
All Corsair models use the older Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touch screen. We wish the car had a bigger main display because it looks dated next to the digital gauge cluster. Other than that, the interface is intuitive thanks to minimal submenus and a simple layout. However, it could be a little quicker because it’s not as responsive as the newer Sync 4 system used on certain Ford and Lincoln models. The available 14-speaker Revel surround sound system offers an epic listening experience and is easily one of the best. It’s clear, crisp, easy to customize, and does a great job enveloping the cabin.
An older version of the Lincoln CoPilot 360 suite of driver assistance features is standard on the Corsair. You can upgrade it to include lane centering, adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, evasive steering assist, and rear automatic emergency braking. Overall, the system works quite well! Corrections are subtle, gently bringing you back into your lane if you start drifting. It will also help you navigate gentle turns on the highway with adaptive cruise control active. The distancing component isn’t overly conservative and does a good job maintaining your set gap without feeling like it’s being overly cautious.
Comfort meets agility
The carlike demeanor shines once you get behind the wheel of the Corsair. It’s like you’re driving a sedan because it’s not top-heavy. As a result, it handles quite well and takes corners without much fuss. Switching to Sport mode tightens the adaptive dampers and nearly eliminates body roll, further enhancing the Corsair’s agility. Direct and communicative steering adds to confident road manners and lets you know what the front wheels are doing. A low center of gravity afforded by the floor-mounted battery also improves the car’s stability, helping it stay planted during emergency maneuvers.
If you’re looking for big car comfort in a compact package, the Corsair should be on your shopping list. Even with the optional 20-inch wheels shod in wide 245/45R20 low profile tires, it manages to retain the same cushy ride as its larger siblings. Road imperfections are dispatched effortlessly, meaning you barely notice harsh impacts. Its suspension simply eats them up and does a fantastic job isolating the passenger compartment. The Corsair doesn’t get upset that easily either, giving it the same level of solidity as larger crossovers and sedans.
Since its FWD-based, the Corsair Grand Touring uses a power-split plug-in hybrid system. This layout is similar to what you’d find in FWD-based Toyota and Lexus hybrids and PHEVs. It’s essentially the same unit found in the Ford Escape PHEV but with one major difference: it has AWD courtesy of a second electric motor on the rear axle. Together with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, front electric motor, planetary gear set, and 14.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, there’s 266 hp combined under your right foot.
Although the Corsair is the only one with less than 300 hp among its competitive set, it’s no slouch. The crossover accelerates without much effort despite weighing over two tons. Between the gas engine and the instant torque from the two electric motors, you get smooth power whenever you mash the accelerator. Since it doesn’t use a traditional gearbox, the system transitions between its operating modes seamlessly, meaning you won’t get jerked around when the four-pot turns on or off. You get power delivered in a refined manner, enhancing the SUV’s sophisticated road manners.
The Corsair Grand Touring’s second electric motor effectively gives it an e-AWD setup. Unlike a mechanical configuration, there’s no connection between the front and rear axles. Thankfully, it avoids the typical pitfalls of this layout because the system reacts right away and provides the necessary traction to get the vehicle moving. You don’t sense the front wheels tugging left and/or right because the rear electric motor’s immediate assist allows the car to grip immediately. On the move, it also helps the Corsair turn in better by overdriving the rear wheels, enabling the rear end to come around predictably.
Further adding to the Corsair’s sophisticated character is the brake pedal operation. It’s among the most natural experiences among electrified vehicles because you can’t tell where friction braking takes over from the electric motors’ regeneration. Even during emergency stops, you’re not getting jerked around. Modulating the pedal is a breeze because the car doesn’t suddenly give you everything. Although there’s no one-pedal driving, there’s enough energy recuperation to give you better control of your speed.
Charging the Corsair Grand Touring takes just over 3.0 hours using a level 2 AC charger. A level 1 charger like a household outlet extends that to almost 11 hours. That’s longer than most competitors, which is likely due to it using a 3.3-kW onboard charger instead of a 6.6- or 7.2-kW unit used by some of its competitors.
In all-electric mode, the Corsair Grand Touring is good for 28 miles according to the EPA. During our time with it, we found it easy to beat those figures, consistently getting 30 to 35 miles per charge. However, getting the vehicle to stay in all-electric mode was a challenge, especially after turning it on for the first time. Like its mainstream counterpart, the Ford Escape PHEV, the Corsair turns on the gas engine until you’ve warmed it up. Additionally, it takes some time for it to turn off even after you’ve selected all-electric mode on the drive mode selector.
A value option?
The 2022 Corsair Grand Touring starts at $53,435 and comes with a generous list of standard equipment including adaptive dampers, a digital gauge cluster, and interior ambient lighting. Our test car came with several optional packages and stand-alone features, increasing the sticker price to $64,730. The Corsair PHEV is eligible for a federal tax credit of $6,843 plus local and state incentives.
The luxury crossover for the holdouts
It’s easy to dismiss the 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring as a crossover in name only because it’s so carlike. But you need to look at these vehicles as part of a spectrum; not everything needs to be rugged, big, and imposing. There’s room in this utility vehicle-crazed world for entries that veer into the car end. The Corsair s one of the best examples of how to take big vehicle comfort and blend it with compact car road manners. Best of all, it retains Lincoln’s distinct take on luxury, elegant, fresh, and unmistakably American.
At a glance
- Year: 2022
- Make: Lincoln
- Model: Corsair
- Trim: Grand Touring
- Type: 4-door compact luxury crossover
- Combined horsepower: 266
- MPG ratings (city/highway/combined): 34/32/33
- EV range: 28 miles
- Pros: Excellent ride and handling balance, smooth powertrain, quiet cabin
- Cons: Small infotainment screen, seats aren’t for everyone, doesn’t always stay in all-electric mode
- Base price: $53,435
- Price as tested: $64,265