2023 Lincoln Corsair Review: First Drive
|2.5-liter I4 + Plug-in Hybrid
|Fuel Economy (MPG):
|Fuel Economy (L/100 km):
|Starting Price (USD):
|$38,690 (inc. dest.)
|As Tested Price (USD):
|$56,675 (inc. dest.)
|Starting Price (CAD):
|$48,900 (inc. dest.)
|As Tested Price (CAD):
|$62,395 (inc. dest.)
Lincoln’s bestselling Corsair SUV has been refreshed for 2023, and there’s a lot going on here beyond the somewhat modest exterior styling changes that meet the eye.
In addition to exterior design freshening, the Corsair also receives an interior update, an enhanced BlueCruise driver assist suite, a larger multimedia display, more connected tech and a revised powertrain lineup.
On the outside, the Corsair receives a larger grille, wing-shaped daytime running lights and new wheel designs. For the plug-in hybrid Grand Touring model, its grille features a sundown satin metallic foil with blue accents to separate it from gas-powered models.
Two new exterior finishes have been added to the color palette, Crystal Red and Whisper Blue (shown), with the latter being new to Lincoln. The Jet Appearance Package, which includes a black roof and other black trim accents, is available as an option.
The center stack layout also receives a refresh. It offers more space below the transmission control tabs and other buttons housed in a panel below it. A wireless smartphone charge pad is available with a cover that has an applique with a backlit Lincoln star.
As for interior color schemes, there are two new options: Smoked Truffle (shown), a lighter neutral beige tone with darker trim accents, and Eternal Red, with Pista aluminum accents.
2.3-Liter Turbo Dropped
Lincoln continues to offer the Corsair with two powertrains, gas and plug-in hybrid, but with just one engine for the former. The 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder has been dropped in favor of a 2.0-liter turbo four for all gas-only models. This powerplant produces 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. of torque and is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission with either front or all-wheel drive configurations.SEE ALSO: 2022 Acura RDX vs 2022 Lincoln Corsair Comparison
The Grand Touring plug-in hybrid uses a 2.5-liter Atkinson four-cylinder paired with a CVT that works in conjunction with an electric motor and battery pack. Total system output lists at 266 horsepower.
The 2023 Corsair comes standard with BlueCruise 1.2 (also known as Lincoln ActiveGlide 1.2). It’s a hands-free driver aid that is now available on highways in North America and works at speeds of up to 80 mph (129 km/h). Version 1.2, which is available on roughly 130,000 miles (209,215 km) of divided highways across North America, arrives with new features, including Lane Change Assist, where the car can change lanes hands-free when the driver taps the turn signal. It can also recommend lane changes in slow moving traffic.
Predictive Speed Assist adjusts vehicle speed when the car encounters a sharp curve and will also signal when a speed limit change is about to occur, while In-Lane Repositioning helps to keep hands-free driving feel more natural by subtly moving the car away from vehicles in neighboring lanes.
More Tech, Bigger Multimedia Screen
Tech changes for the cabin include a new 13.2-inch multimedia touchscreen powered by SYNC 4 software, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that features Lincoln’s Constellation interface. Both screens are standard. In addition to previously available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, the Corsair now comes with Alexa Built-in with complementary access to Alexa for three years. Alexa can be used for listening to music, navigation and more via voice command.
More Enhanced Safety
The 2023 Corsair comes with a broad array of standard advanced safety tech including two new features. First, there’s Intersection Assist 2.0 to help drivers avoid pedestrians and prevent collisions while turning. The other new feature is Blind Spot Assist that alerts the driver with a light on the side mirror. It will apply a ‘nudge’ on the steering wheel to caution against an unsafe maneuver where the driver may have missed warnings from the car’s Blind Spot Information System. This feature will also detect vehicles, including motorcycles traveling in the car’s blind spots.SEE ALSO: 2021 Lincoln Navigator Review: Wedding Chariot of Choice
Getting Behind the Wheel
We spent about two hours driving a Grand Touring tester finished in Whisper Blue on the streets of Manhattan. We took it up to a lunch spot in Westchester County located north of the city and back and come away impressed with 2023 Corsair’s enhancements. Later, we got a chance to drive a black Reserve gas model for about an hour to test the BlueCruise 1.2.
The styling enhancements are subtle but make an already handsome car even more attractive. The new paint finishes, wheel designs and redesigned grilles, with the latter differing between electrified models and gas give the Corsair a more refined and polished appearance.
Inside, the bigger screens are simply gorgeous and very easy to use. Lincoln has created more space in the front row area with changes that are both straightforward and aesthetically pleasing. The center stack is uncluttered, with a minimal number of buttons and knobs and we like that. It would be nice if more climate controls were on hard keys and not in a touchscreen, but at least commonly used climate functions are fixed to the bottom of the panel and don’t require extra searching.
Both GT and Reserve testers we drove offered decent acceleration, with excellent braking and good overall handing. Traffic in the New York City area involved a lot of bumper-to-bumper traffic, but once out of the city, power delivery from both cars felt responsive. The electric motor in the GT produces more cabin noise than we were expecting, but it wasn’t too disruptive.SEE ALSO: 2021 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring Review: Mixed Signals
We come away quite impressed with BlueCruise 1.2, which did a fine job of keeping our Reserve tester centered in its lane, while providing flawless hands-free lane changes and easily modulated traveling during our tests on the West Side Highway in Manhattan.
2023 Lincoln Corsair: The Verdict
Overall, the 2023 Lincoln Corsair’s package of updates from styling to tech and safety make an attractive vehicle even more compelling. The updated BlueCruise 1.2, new digital displays and new exterior and interior colors schemes really stand out. While it doesn’t offer particularly impressive performance, the Corsair’s lengthy list of standard and available content should keep it on the short list for those shopping in the small premium SUV segment.
Does Lincoln Corsair come in a plug-in hybrid?
Yes. The Grand Touring trim includes a 2.5-liter engine paired up to a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
What is the mpg on a 2023 Lincoln Corsair PHEV?
Officially, the Corsair PHEV has a rating of 34 mpg (6.9 L/100 km) city and 32 mpg (7.4 L/100 km) on the highway.
What is the range of the 2023 Lincoln Corsair plug-in hybrid?
On all electric power, a full charge should delivery up to 28 miles (45 km) of range.
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- New Style Inside and Out
- BlueCruise 1.2
- Screen Layout
- PHEV Cabin Noise
- Some Missing HVAC Hard Buttons
- No AWD on Plug-in
With more than 20 years of industry experience, which includes automotive retail, motorsports PR, and writing and editing for various automotive publications, Lee is an AutoGuide freelancer, and car guy to the core. For nearly a decade and a half, he has married his two consuming passions together – journalism and the automotive industry. Whether it’s providing coverage on debuts from an auto show floor, writing road test reviews, or previewing a new model coming soon, Lee is eager to share his passion for the automotive industry with his readers. He is a long-standing member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and won a feature writing award in 2018.
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