Lincoln debuts all-new Corsair SUV

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News
Lincoln Motor Co. will introduce here Wednesday an all-new compact SUV geared toward bringing new customers into the brand.

New York — Lincoln Motor Co. will introduce here Wednesday an all-new compact SUV geared toward bringing new customers into the brand that's been launching larger, more expensive vehicles in recent years.

The vehicle gets a new name. Formerly the Lincoln MKC, the new vehicle is called the Corsair. It's based on the same vehicle architecture Ford Motor Co. is using for the new Escape SUV, and updates Lincoln's entry-level nameplate with a sleek exterior and an interior that takes cues from the larger Navigator and Aviator SUVs.

More: Lincoln continues transformation with compact SUV

"This is our most dramatic interpretation of quiet flight," said Joy Falotico, president of Lincoln. "This is a truly global vehicle."

The two-row SUV takes some direction from the Escape, which Ford unveiled in early April. The Corsair has sliding second-row seats new to the model. David Woodhouse, Lincoln design director, and his team redesigned the interior to introduce the "floating" center stack, flatten the dashboard to bring in Lincoln's signature horizontal theme, and give Lincoln's smallest vehicle a more spacious feel than its predecessor. 

On the outside, the SUV is tipped back and tapered more than the previous model — another design cue that pulls from other Lincoln SUVs. But the Corsair was designed for a smooth ride and a quiet interior. John Jraiche, Corsair chief engineer, said the customers he's trying to sell to aren't interested in power and engine noise. 

Formerly the Lincoln MKC, the new SUV has been branded the Corsair.

"That's not us," he said. "We're not looking to out-German the German brands."

Ford executives have stressed the importance of silence in new Lincoln vehicles. Lincoln designers and engineers don't want drivers to hear the engine. They don't want road noise. The automaker replaced the beeps and dings to signal an open door with chimes developed and recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

The Corsair interior features a "floating" center stack and a flattened dashboard to bring in Lincoln's signature horizontal theme.

A dual-wall dashboard further separates the cabin from the engine, and multi-link suspension should keep the ride smooth. The highest trim Corsair gets Lincoln's massaging, 24-way adjustable seats, to make the ride more opulent. The vehicle comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen display and Sync 3. And the automaker is debuting new interior colors with the Corsair, including a vibrant "Beyond Blue" leather that adds a shock of color to the seats and trim.

The vehicle has two four-cylinder engine options: a standard 2.0-liter engine with targeted 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. There's also an available 2.3-liter engine targeting 280 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Both are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. 

The SUV has an intelligent all-wheel-drive system and five drive modes. The all-wheel-drive system can fire power to the front wheels or to all the wheels depending on road conditions. 

The Lincoln Corsair uses the same vehicle architecture that Ford uses for the new Escape.

Lincoln is debuting new Phone as a Key technology on the Corsair that would allow users to lock, unlock and open the trunk without using a key, or having the key anywhere near the vehicle. Using an app on a smart phone, the vehicle is able to detect a phone in a pocket or bag, and let the driver and passengers into the vehicle. 

If the phone goes dead, owners can use a backup code to get into the vehicle and fire it up. The vehicle has wireless charging pads and USB ports inside. The vehicle comes standard with Ford's Co-Pilot360 suite of driver assist features like pre-collision assist and blind-spot monitoring. Customers have an optional upgrade that gives the vehicle more driver-assist features.

The Corsair is scheduled to launch this fall in the United States. The models for sale in North America will be built at Ford's Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky. Models for sale in China will be built in China with Ford joint-ventures. 

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau