While a heatwave blankets the world, we’re throwing it back to winter. Earlier this year, we took the redesigned 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring off-road and into the snowing mountains of West Virginia after a pampered ride from NYC. Both on and off road, the Corsair is a truly impressive SUV, even if it had a little mud on the tires (we got it nice and clean after the test, of course!)
Highs: Tight build quality, stunning interior. Unexpectedly stable in the snow and ice. Genuinely useful drive modes.
Lows: Confusing hybrid drivetrain that sometimes went into electric drive even with 0% charge. No DC fast charging, rendering much of the Electrify America network unusable. Tiny gas tank.
In a sentence: On road and off, the Corsair offers a driving experience that is effortless but grounded.
First Impressions: the 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring
After posting a few images of the 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring (the plug-in hybrid variant of the Corsair SUV) amid deep drifts of snow, one of the comments it garnered was, “I don’t think that car belongs in the snow”. But with so many specific driving modes the Lincoln Corsair offers, I was keen to test its limits and perhaps prove the Corsair does indeed belong in the snow (and beyond). For this reason, I’m starting this review with the experiences of taking the Corsair off-road before diving into the classic luxuries of a Lincoln.
Following the fantastic experience of taking the 2021 Lincoln Aviator to upstate New York, I had no doubt the on-road experience of the Corsair would be in line with the principles of Lincoln’s mission of “sanctuary”. And indeed, in many ways, the Corsair is a scaled-down version of the Aviator, offering the same smooth ride and driver’s tech such as Lincoln CoPilot360, plush, highly adjustable seats, and excellent sound. Our Grand Touring test model adds a plug-in electric motor, which turns the Corsair into an adaptable small SUV with the ability to enjoy some travel in an electric-only arrangement, offering about 30 miles of electric-only driving, and an EPA rating of 26 MPGe.
Going Off-Road With The 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring
In the upper reaches of the Shenandoah Mountains, shadows go long and snow lays for days, compacting into a layer of ice that remains for the whole of winter. This snow layer is squishy and wet, ideal for driving upon. It was the right environment to see what Lincoln’s variety of drive modes could do. When I finally pulled the car out of the rut, the Corsair Grand Touring was crossing about seven inches of ice. I’d reached the limit of Corsair’s safe operation given the conditions, but I was already solidly impressed by its performance and agility.
The available drive modes, including Deep Conditions and Slippery, were in full use during this off-road tour. I toggled between them at regular intervals, both offering a degree of extra traction and changes to handling. The Corsair is offered with AWD at all trim levels, but is standard above the Reserve model. The AWD power is well distributed to each corner of the Corsair. Forget about any locking differentials or otherwise more advanced controlling the system. This isn’t the intent of Lincoln, which is more concerned with effortless cruising, not rock climbing.
Our model featured a 2.5L i-VCT Atkinson I-4 Hybrid Engine paired with a CVT transmission. For off-roading enthusiasts, a CVT can scare die-hards away for its style of shifting that seems counter to any idea of exhilaration. But on the snow and some ice, this transmission was smooth and confident. It really showed itself on the 30 miles of on-snow driving with the Deep Conditions engaged, which adjusts the driving experience to be an even more traction-oriented and adjusts pedal progression. In this setting, the Corsair was beyond assured, offering critical predictability on ice that was topped by a layer of snow. The Corsair showed no resistance when encountering muddy passes, moving smoothly across the terrain. The cabin is well-insulated so it can be almost disconcerting by how peaceful the interior is relative to the conditions outside. The suspension is so plush that you can sometimes forget you’re crossing mud, ice, and snow.
This was a new type of luxury I hadn’t really considered before, and Corsair owners can take comfort in knowing the vehicle can handle some fairly robust terrains. I rarely experienced slipping, sliding, or otherwise being stuck. I grew to really trust the Corsair until I hit the shadiest, most iced-over portion of the mountain where ice was so thick you couldn’t even walk across it. As the ice began to crack under the Corsair’s 4,300-pound body, I figured it wasn’t wise to go further, but not because of any issue with the Corsair.
2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring Electric Drive: A Great Idea With A Lot of Potential
Like the Aviator Grand Touring, the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring features a plug-in hybrid engine with the ability to maximize efficient driving by way of Pure EV, Preserve EV, and Conserve modes. Conserve mode is most like driving a classic hybrid, with tighter braking for more regenerative capability and more languid acceleration. Preserve EV and Pure EV are exclusive to the hybrid models of Lincoln vehicles, with Pure EV offering the possibility for strictly electric driving.
Preserve EV is designed to save the electric range for later use and return charge to the vehicle while driving with the gas engine. The great parts of electric driving are present in the Corsair: the regenerative braking and instant torque. The Preserve EV mode is ripe for deeper application. The mode is designed to recover battery charge, which I was dependent upon due to the fact that J1772 charging connectors are not easy to find. A portable dual-voltage charging cord with a standard J1772 connector is included with purchase, and the vehicle can reach Level 2 charging speeds. Critically, the Corsair Grand Touring cannot use all CCS chargers. CCS chargers may have 2 extra pins for DC fast charging, which the Corsair does not have.
Lincoln does try to incorporate the capabilities of the electric engine when possible. Even in Deep Conditions and Slippery modes, I was able to engage electric driving and charging without doing anything extra. It just worked. But you’ll wish Lincoln took the ideas of the hybrid engine further in line with their ideas of sanctuary and ease. More sophisticated application of the electric motor could have involved allowing instant torque be available at all times by way of a reserve of electricity. The instant torque is a very satisfying aspect of the electric motor, as is the silence. But I felt the distinct jump from the quiet electric motor to the sudden growl of the gas engine to be uncharacteristic of Lincoln.
In the end, I felt generally satisfied by Lincoln’s application of the electric engine, but somewhat overwhelmed. Lincoln could simplify the experience further by removing the noise of charge statuses, icons, and gauges and replace these with a single range number and perhaps a symbol indicating the electric engine is running.
2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring Exterior Design: Influenced by the Aviator
While not as imposing as the Aviator, the Lincoln Corsair is a tastefully-scaled vehicle. In fact, it felt more ‘ready’ in its appearance, more eager to go. The Aviator offers this as well, but in a more languid, grander atmosphere. Our test vehicle was done in a beautiful Flight Blue, which is quite dark save for the glint of metallic that follows the sun and your eye. In some light it almost appears to have an aquatic tint of green.
The front view of the Corsair is defined by Lincoln’s signature grille and wingtip-style headlights, pushed to the extreme corners of the fascia with the separate turn signal unit hovering just below. It’s hard to fake quality, and Lincoln has doubled down in making sure you’re feeling their efforts. The fit and finish of the Corsair is very good, with the classic proof such as heavy, muffled door closings and uninterrupted body lines along with more subtle shows of care including the aforementioned taillight design and finishes that make for continuous lines of chrome or metal along door frames and light units, altogether harder to execute at scale than you might expect. All around, the center of gravity looks and feels extremely natural and low, the overall shape emphasizing the wide wheelbase. Available Turbine-style wheels, another nod to the aviation theme, fill the geometrically circular wheel wells.
The belt line is high and straight, shooting away from the headlights and through to the taillight, which is defined by an uninterrupted strike of red running the width of the rear. A black painted D-pillar gives a contemporary flair while the “Corsair” name is emblazoned at the corner of the front doors and quarter panel. The sideview mirrors are mounted on the door, clearing the view along the sides.
One of Lincoln’s more powerful design tricks is the tapering of the roofline toward the rear, paired with an integrated rear bumper. The rear overhang is very abbreviated, giving a degree of cuteness, but doesn’t negate the overall “jewel box” character of the vehicle. The taillights are very sculptural and detailed, featuring a wing-like motif dividing the individual LEDs and flaring out toward the extremities. It’s this kind of tiny detail that I haven’t been able to forget but take delight when I encounter it.
2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring Interior Design: The Soft Escape
Just as is the case in the Aviator, the interior of the Corsair is where much of Lincoln’s magic takes place and remains one of my favorite interior arrangement in the industry. Fully featured but not overwhelming, Lincoln has preserved much of its modernist flair along the dashboard, letting chrome use have a generous quota. The plentiful chrome accents are not too gaudy as the buttons, dials, and materials feel upmarket to the touch. Our model had a contrasting camel and black interior which felt extremely luxurious and looked sophisticated against the blue and chrome exterior.
The dashboard serves as host to the 12” digital gauge cluster and 10” touchscreen infotainment system. The Lincoln SYNC 3 continues to improve, and the standard navigation system is my favorite in the industry, mostly for its drive recaps at the end of a drive, which tells you interesting information about the trip you just took. Unfortunately, you cannot use SYNC 3’s excellent navigation and Apple CarPlay simultaneously.
Soft-touch materials are used extensively in the interior, even on the upper reaches of the dashboard.
One of the most ergonomic developments at Lincoln is that gears change at the touch of a button while freeing up space. The drive modes (up to seven in the Corsair Grand Touring model) are controlled by a knob at the center of the console. Charging ports are plentiful as is storage.
The rear seats have a special feature: optional heated seats and manually-adjustable positioning. The front seats offer 24-way adjustments for achieving exacting preference. These seats also have a variety of massaging functions available, activated by the touch of a button. Lincoln has been modernizing this system and an all new, even quieter version is found in newer models.
The Heads-Up Display (HUD) for the driver is clear and organized, offering a variety of information most relevant at different times (cruise control information or the time, for example).
The wide digital gauge cluster is packed with information, particularly in regard to electric drive modes. However, these views can become somewhat overwhelming if you’re not sure where to look or don’t know what everything means. Animations are rich and sounds are engaging, especially when shifting drive modes.
There is no third row in the Corsair, but the rear seats can be folded in a 2/1 divide at the touch of a button. . There’s 18.3 cubic feet of space behind its second-row seats, 41.8 cubic feet with these seats folded.
While the Corsair is spacious, it’s not going to stand in for a moving van. That said, there was plenty of space for two suitcases and a ski kit, by way of folding seats.
2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring Tech Suite
The Lincoln Corsair’s standard tech and convenience features include a 10.1-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, a Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite radio, a 10-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, four USB ports, keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
The Corsair’s infotainment system remains uncluttered and elegant in its design, and Lincoln has extensive concierge and owner support services for vehicle owners, so you’ll have all the help you need to get familiar with the vehicle, including the features of the infotainment system. Most essential features are only a few taps away, and mercifully, climate control is mostly controlled by tactical buttons. The Lincoln SYNC 3 continues to improve, and the standard navigation system is my favorite in the industry, mostly for its drive recaps at the end of a drive, which tells you interesting information about the trip you just took. Unfortunately, you cannot use SYNC 3’s excellent navigation and Apple CarPlay simultaneously.
Lincoln Co-Pilot 360, the suite of tech and safety features, are standard equipment for all Lincoln models and includes a backup camera, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assistance, automatic high-beam headlights and a driver monitoring system. Lincoln owners can choose to use all or some of these systems and can program alert and response sensitivity, to personal preferences.
Lincoln’s driver assist and safety systems continue to improve and truly support the driver, not overpower them. Driven by the idea of “sanctuary”, we left all systems in the default settings for the duration of the review and found the systems to be helpful and aiding in a peaceful drive. When off-roading at low speeds, the overview cameras and sensors became indispensable, helping us guide the Corsair in and out of tight places and snowy areas.
The Corsair Grand Touring is, without a doubt, one of the most underrated small SUVs on the road. Unexpectedly useful in the snow and ice, the Corsair climbed all over West Virginia with as much finesse as it did on the highways of New Jersey and Virginia. The Lincoln Corsair for 2022 starts at just under $37,000 for the Standard Model, and climbing to just under $80,000 for this top-of-the-line Corsair Grand Touring, with a base price of $51,485. It features just about every extra and includes the plug-in hybrid capabilities with electric driving range. Our recommendation is this Grand Touring model with its AWD and electric motor making it a very functional SUV.
Learn more about the 2022 Lincoln Corsair at www.lincoln.com.