The Lincoln Corsair name may not be familiar to a lot of people, but this small luxury utility successfully set sail for the 2020 model year. Well now, Lincoln is on a mission to increase its profile, and hopefully pirate a few more buyers from other luxury brands. That means a pretty extensive update despite just a few years on the market. So, let’s see if it’s enough for this tech-savy ute to add more wind to its “sales”.

While the Lincoln Corsair has held Lincoln’s position in the small luxury crossover segment since just 2020, the Corsair name has existed in the Ford family since the 1950s. But, after being attached to the replacement of their MKC, it immediately became Lincoln’s best-selling model. 2023 updates are intended to extend that run.

Now, you could make the argument that that’s strictly because it’s a small 5-passenger crossover and that’s where the sales are these days. But, the fact that it was a major improvement over its predecessor counts a lot as well. Lincoln has been making premium luxury “the” priority of late, so if you haven’t been in one in a while, you’ll be wowed by what you see, even here in this entry level vehicle. Available Grand Touring trim delivers a near flagship-level experience, and the huge panoramic vista roof really opens up the interior.

Just about every makeover includes bigger screens these days, and among Corsair updates for ’23 is a new standard ultrawide 13.2-inch touchscreen. It’s still mounted on top of the dash, but takes up much more real estate than before. Just below it is a new control pod housing that protrudes almost shelf-like from the lower dash, and also includes switches for controlling the transmission. Driver info is displayed on a very clear and comprehensive 12.3-inch digital cluster, also standard. Front seats are sumptuously comfortable, with a multitude of adjustments for finding proper positioning; great comfort in the rear seats as well, with plus legroom for a compact.

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Grand Touring offers another unexpected surprise, a plug-in powertrain. It’s a 2.5-liter I4 based PHEV with standard all-wheel-drive and a combined output of 266-horsepower. It has up to 27-miles of EV driving available, and even though it works with a CVT, there are paddle shifters on the wheel for holding it in a specific ratio.

A 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 remains the standard engine; it’s mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, with all-wheel-drive a $2,300 option. The Sport package’s 295-horsepower 2.3-liter turbo is no longer available.

Another significant update for ’23, the Corsair now gets ActivGlide 1.2 hands-free driving assistance, which is Lincoln’s version of Ford’s BlueCruise and works at speeds up to 80 miles-per-hour for hands-free driving on select interstates.

We stayed fully engaged in the driving process at our Mason Dixon test track, and while there wasn’t a very aggressive launch or overwhelming sense of electric-aided power, it left the line quickly enough to get us to 60 in 6.8-seconds. Power delivery stayed consistent down the track, with simulated shifting in the CVT realistic enough to fool people into thinking it’s a traditional automatic. It was a very smooth and quiet ¼-mile trip, ending in 15.2-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.

With the luxury experience being the top priority, our expectations were low heading into the handling course, but this Escape-based utility performed quite well. The suspension firmed up nicely when pushed hard, keeping body roll to a minimum. The amount of feedback through the chassis and steering wheel was quite sports car-like. I guess that Excite drive mode is there for a reason. Braking performance was quite fine too; with consistent smooth stops averaging only 110-feet.

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There is also updated styling for ’23; the front adding a larger grille and wing-shaped daytime running lights, and of course there are new wheel options. Grand Touring’s grille is unique with a splash of blue added as a clue to its PHEV status. The charge port door mounted below the driver’s side A-pillar is a more obvious indicator. Cargo space is hindered with the addition of PHEV hardware, but only slightly, losing less than 1 cubic-ft. for a total of 26.9, expanding to 56.2 with the rear seatbacks folded.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the PHEV are 78-Combined for MPGe and 33-Combined for gasoline only. With minimal plug-in time, that’s what we saw, 33.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. And, it earns a great Energy Impact Score, using just 4.1-barrels of oil yearly, with 2.0-tons of CO2 emissions.

Corsair pricing starts with Premiere trim at $40,125, Reserve starts at $44,510; both with optional all-wheel-drive, which is included with top Grand Touring for $55,320.

Making something that was already good meaningly better is always a winning strategy in our books, and that’s what Lincoln has done with their entry-level crossover. First when launching the Corsair, and even more so now with the much-improved 2023 version. Lincoln is clearly getting more wind in their sails once again.


As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter I-4
  • Battery Size: 14.4-kWh
  • Horsepower: 266
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.2-seconds at 91 mph
  • EPA: 78-Combined MPGe | 33-Combined MPG
  • Transmission: CVT
  • EV Range: up to 27 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.8-seconds
  • 60-0 Braking (avg): 110 feet
  • MW Fuel Economy: 33.2 MPG (Regular)