2023 Lincoln Corsair Reserve AWD Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Lincoln, SUV, Test Drives

2023 lincoln corsair reserve

The Lincoln Corsair has positioned itself to be a better smaller version of its bigger SUV siblings that doesn’t compromise for its smaller size when it comes to serving up luxury. For the 2023 model year, that formula elevates such a position and somewhat simplifies things by now only offering just two powertrain choices, the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder or a Grand Touring model with a unique plug-in hybrid setup for 266 horsepower and a 28-mile all-electric driving range.

Being described as a smaller version of other new Lincoln SUVs, such as the Aviator and Nautilus, the Corsair finds itself bringing most of the same goods that you can get on the bigger SUVs, especially when you opt for the higher trim levels like my Corsair Reserve test vehicle with the Jet Appearance package. The slightly updated styling with a new larger grille makes the Corsair appear classier and more fitting for its luxury segment, especially when it’s adorned with the Jet Appearance package to darken the trim, color-match the fenders, and sport 20-inch black wheels.

2023 lincoln corsair reserve side

Powertrain and Driving Character

Where you find the major difference in the new Lincoln Corsair compared to its larger siblings, apart from the obvious smaller size, is the powertrain. The Corsair is no longer available with the 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and makes do with the 2.0-liter turbo that produces a healthy 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The powertrain fits the compact Corsair just fine and gets it up to 60 mph in about 6.4 seconds. The brisk feeling of the Corsair hardly ever has you feeling as if it needs any extra power, even when you load up a few additional passengers. Overall, the ride quality attempts to mimic that of larger luxury SUVs with a soft and supple quality that tends to bounce a bit more for my tastes. The adaptive dampers do well to absorb road imperfections, but the extra bounce in their default normal drive mode feels like you’re driving something much larger. However, placing the drive mode into Excite, which is Lincoln’s “sport” mode, the dampers firm up, and in my opinion, the Corsair actually rides better and limits the extra body bounce to keeps things more grounded.

2023 lincoln corsair reserve rear

The maneuverability of the Corsair is likened to its compact size, as is the smaller steering wheel, which is mostly numb but has a good, weighted feeling. The large 20-inch black wheels, as part of the Jet Appearance package, don’t seem to make the ride feel firm and do well for lateral grip. I would have liked to see a customization option of the drive mode where you can set the dampers in a firmer setting but allow the engine and transmission to be more relaxed instead of using the lower gears most of the time when in the Excite drive mode.

2023 lincoln corsair reserve gauge cluster

Fuel Economy

The Lincoln Corsair’s 2.0-liter turbo engine does well to return consistent fuel consumption figures and seems to get better as you drive the vehicle learning your driving style. The EPA figures of 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined are easily attainable in the real world, but you should not expect to get much better on the highway.

Interior and Technology

Inside the new 2023 Lincoln Corsair is a slightly reworked dashboard for the midcycle refresh that now fits in a larger 13.2-inch infotainment touchscreen running the updated Sync 4 software. The newer system is welcomed, but it comes with its own issues, from being a bit more complicated to use and having occasional system delays in responding to your inputs. While I was hoping that the new Sync 4 system would speed up response times and provide a friendlier interface, but it seems to have gone backward in many areas, which is rather disappointing. Here, Lincoln could have done a lot better considering how well other competitor infotainment systems have come together using larger touchscreens. Moreover, the Sync 4 system in the new Lincoln Navigator is so much more responsive and overall better than the build that we find in the Corsair. I hope Lincoln doesn’t bring this version to any other vehicles. While the system has its faults that can be distracting and frustrating, the 14-speaker Revel audio system attempts to make up for the faults with a delightful sounding setup. Also, the integration of the wireless Apple CarPlay worked seamlessly, which I expect Android Auto to probably do the same – which can both also be paired via USB connection.

2023 lincoln corsair reserve dashboard

The Corsair also gets a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster mimicking what you find on other new Lincoln SUVs with a simplified display, which is another area that Lincoln could have used the large screen real estate more to their advantage to offer something like a live navigation map, but you’re stuck with a mostly downplayed display of relevant vehicle information.

2023 lincoln corsair reserve front seats

The seating areas are surprisingly accommodating, and you get 24-way power-adjustable front seats with heating, ventilation, and a massage function for both the seat back and bottom. Other clever touches throughout that once again mimic the larger Lincoln SUVs bring the compact crossover to an expected level of luxury appointments, such as having a large color head-up display with an abundance of information, multiple-color adjustable LED ambient lighting, bright aluminum trim, and unique color selections like my test vehicle’s Eternal Red-colored perforated leather. The one downfall of the interior space, other than the placement of some hard plastics, is that it takes a while to properly adjust the front seats to find a comfy positioning.

2023 lincoln corsair reserve back seats


There’s a full bevy of expected active safety features found in the Lincoln Corsair, with the addition of having ActiveGlide, Lincoln’s version of the Ford BlueCruise semi-autonomous driving system. Use of the ActiveGlide system proves to be a welcomed experience on properly mapped interstates and highways, which seemed to be improved upon from my last experience with the system with quicker reactions to other vehicles moving in your lane. Otherwise, you still get the highlighted features of blind-spot monitors, lane-keeping assist/departure warning, forward collision warning/emergency braking, rear cross-path detection/emergency braking, and a 360-degree camera system that has a larger image thanks to the larger infotainment screen display.

2023 lincoln corsair reserve cargo


The new Lincoln Corsair remains to be at a decent price level when you consider how much luxury and technology it offers in such a small package starting at $46,770 for the base model. However, the shortcomings of its “new” infotainment unit could have consumers or newcomers to the brand giving pause to considering a vehicle with so much potential when you look at the fully loaded Reserve trim with the Jet Appearance package price of my test vehicle coming in at $61,535.


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