Much ado has been made about Lincoln’s glow up. Now that the tides are finally turning, the storied American nameplate is looking to electrification and SUVs — like its 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring — to keep that momentum going. In a vacuum, the electrified Corsair has the goods to be one of the best entries in the luxury crossover space money can buy.
Thing is, we don’t live in a vacuum. Fortunately for us, that means we probably won’t suffocate the next time we go outside. Unfortunately for Lincoln, that means the Corsair Grand Touring faces a lot of stiff competition, and it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd.
Most SUVs and crossovers in this space vie for your attention by blending luxury and sportiness, but the Corsair Grand Touring makes no such concessions: poise, comfort, and luxury are the prime directives here, and it’s a refreshing break from most luxury sport-utes pretending to be something they’re not. Of course, the plug-in hybrid powertrain plays a significant role here, even if the numbers are a bit of a snooze-fest on paper.
In the Grand Touring, a normally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine works with two electric motors and a 14.4 kWh battery, pumping out a combined 266 horsepower. That’s a bump of 16 over the base Corsair and its 2.0L turbo-four, but falls short of the optional 2.3-litre turbo-four and its 295 horses. Further differentiating the Grand Touring from its non-electrified siblings is the transmission; the Corsair plug-in hybrid uses a CVT, while the rest of the lineup gets an eight-speed automatic. Factor in the curb weight — it weighs just under 700 pounds more than the gas-powered models, and it’s clear the Corsair Grand Touring favours miles- over smiles-per-gallon.
We’re more than OK with that, because without that misguided focus on sportiness, the Corsair Grand Touring is all the better for it. Rather than brisk acceleration, tight reflexes, or a vocal soundtrack — come to think of it, the gas engine alone sounds rather coarse — the Corsair offers one of the most soothing and relaxed experiences in the business. The steering is light but effortless, the pillowy ride is as serene as a Sunday afternoon nap, and the switch between gas and electric is seamless.
Fuel economy is impressive, but there’s an asterisk. Officially, the Corsair Grand Touring is rated at 3.9Le/100 kilometres — that’s litres equivalent per 100 kilometres — when the gas and electric bits are working together. Running only on the gas engine, it’s rated at 6.9 city, 7.3 highway, and 7.0 combined. After covering about 450 kilometres, the Corsair’s trip computer settled at exactly 8. L/100 kilometres. That’s a sizable gap, but par for the course for the middle of a Canadian winter and with generous remote starter use. In similar conditions, we averaged 10.3 with the gas-only 2.3 turbo Corsair.
If you have a dedicated charger at home or office, jobsite, or wherever you spend most of the day, and your trips are short, you’ll barely use a drop of gas. The Corsair Grand Touring can cover 45 kilometres on electricity alone, while topping up the battery takes roughly 11 hours on a standard 110-volt outlet, and about three hours on a level 2 charger. The Corsair takes 87-grade gas, but with $2-a-litre around the corner for regular, keeping some electrons on hand is worth it. All that said, the new-for-2022 Lexus NX 450h+ can do 61 kilometres on batteries alone, and it’s more fuel-efficient overall.
Something else we played with often were the drive modes. For the most part, these are a set-it-and-forget-it deal, but the Corsair’s were surprisingly useful, even though there are seven. Typically, hybrids are most efficient at lower speeds around town, so we found ourselves flipping between “Normal” to make good use of the electrons around town, and “Preserve EV” on the highway to use only the gas engine and put some juice back in the battery.
Visually, you’ll probably need a magnifying glass to pick out the Corsair Grand Touring’s differences over its gas siblings: the only real giveaways is the charging port up front, and the blue-accented badges. Otherwise, it’s the same subtle but classy bodywork, with LED lighting all around and 20-inch wheels finishing off the look. You’ll never guess the Corsair is based on the Ford Escape, which is more than we could say about the MKC.
The Corsair continues to impress inside, again hiding its Ford Escape roots very well. The environment is well-isolated from the outside, fit-and-finish is excellent, and the overall look continues the subtle-yet-stylish theme with convincing wood accents and just the right amount of brightwork. Interior space is competitive, with plenty of passenger space all around and up to 1,593 litres of cargo space on tap with the rear seats folded flat. We could bellyache about the gloss black trim on the centre console and steering wheel, but the former houses physical switchgear for the climate and audio controls, and the latter cleverly disguises some of the functions on the steering wheel, lending to the subtlety. Could be worse!
That being said, there are a few aspects that caught us off-guard. The seat motors, especially with the massage function working its magic, are oddly loud. The seats themselves are a mixed bag; Lincoln makes a big deal about their optional 24-way adjustable seats, but it takes a bit of fine-tuning to fully get comfortable. The shifter, a row of P-R-N-D switches on the dash, are unconventional at first, but we’ve seen worse. And the tech; there’s nothing terribly egregious about the reskinned version of Ford’s Sync 3 handling infotainment, but the all-digital instrument cluster could use a rework, as it’s not very configurable and doesn’t really use the 12.3-inches of real estate effectively. Most of the Corsair’s key competitors do digital better.
But those nit-picks are hardly dealbreakers, unless you really can’t get used to the seats. Even still, the Corsair Grand Touring is a solid attempt from Lincoln at an efficient luxury crossover — until you get to the price. While the base Corsair with the 2.0 turbo starts at $45,600, the Grand Touring will run you at least $58,100. Pile on the options — Lincoln wants $900 for fancy paint, $1,200 for the 20-inch wheels, and just over $10K in various packages for all the bells and whistles — and you’re looking at $71,700 as-tested, before destination fees. That’s a fairly wide spread compared to the gas Corsair, and more or less on par with the well-equipped-but-not-full-jam BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC PHEVs we recently tested; both offer a better driving experience, if you’re into that.
The Corsair Grand Touring delivers the goods: if you don’t give a hoot about sportiness and the interior quirks aren’t dealbreakers, it’s an efficient, smooth, and incredibly comfortable antidote to the SUVs and crossovers out there pretending to be sporty. Trouble is, everything else out there is good, too. The 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring is good all around, but If Lincoln reworked the tech and gave it some more beans, it has the potential to be great.