The new Lincoln Corsair, introduced this week in advance of the New York auto show, is predictable in that it plugs the dike in the company’s SUV lineup, being a compact crossover to take on the Audi Q3 et al. And in another way it is unpredictable, as its design departs somewhat from the bigger, bulkier peers in the group.
Lincoln presented the Corsair to media at the Altman Building, a renovated former department store that once stood amid a shopping district known, in the late 1800s, as the Ladies Mile. The setting seemed appropriate. Lincoln’s primary targets for this vehicle are empty nesters and, more to the point, “a woman starting to make a name for herself, starting to afford the experience she wants in luxury,” according to a marketing spokeswoman.
Think, spa on wheels.
The key words buzzed by chief designer David Woodhouse and design manager Robert Gelardi were “beauty, gliding human sanctuary,” by way of describing the objective.
The exterior features an S-curve on the side panels flowing from front to back fenders, with soft and deep indents. The interior emphasizes horizontal lines and a non-intrusive, angled panel housing various controls. Driver and passenger don’t feel boxed in. It’s airy and bright, in contrast to the Navigator that evokes the established comfort of Westmount mansion’s library.
“The cantilevered floating console was completely necessary in this car,” Gelardi said. “We needed to open that space … so you get that sense of East Coast to West Coast.”
Gelardi pointed to four photos on a board as inspiration for the interior and exterior – a ballerina in dance, flying glider, woman’s finger pressed to the other side of a steamy glass panel and a sigh-inducing beach horizon.
The driver and front passenger can individually activate five massage functions in the seats – although, alas, no aloe spray. The library quiet is cushioned by a dashboard with dual walls, an air gap to suffocate vibrations, and a noise control materials to enhance the optional 14 Revel speaker system.
As the driver approaches, the Corsair reads your mobile phone to set up seats and cabin temperature, and trigger the ignition. There’s optional wireless charging for that phone, a media bin, numerous power outlets, 24-way adjustable front seats, thigh extenders, and a sliding rear seats to increase leg room up to six inches. The back compartment holds four regular-sized suitcases.
Three interior colours are also being introduced: “Beyond Blue,” a blue and white palette; “Cashew,” tan and black, and “Medium Slate,” grey with ebony.
There’s a suite of modern tech as standard. For the parking challenged, an optional package includes a function enabling the car to steer itself into a perpendicular or horizontal position.
As for the now familiar electronic safety-tech beeps that contradict a hushed ride like toddlers chatting away during a church service? Gone. The Corsair replaces them with chiming sounds recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, six in all to alert drivers ever so melodically to strap on seat belts, close the door tight, recover from a lane drift and more.
Compact luxury SUVs are flash flooding the market. Lincoln’s strategy to separate the Corsair – derived from the Latin for course, or life journey – is to project the SUV as a “moment of quiet in the chaos of everyday life,” group head Joy Falotico said.
Oh, incidentally, there’s a choice of two turbocharged four-cylinder engines, a 2.0-litre with 250 horsepower, and the optional 2.3-litre with 280 horsepower, both paired with the same eight-speed automatic transmission.
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