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2020 Lincoln Corsair: A DriveWays First Look…

by Frank A. Aukofer

New York, N.Y. — Looking back and into the future, the luxury Lincoln division of the Ford Motor Co. unveiled its all-new technology and serenity cocoon, the 2020 Corsair, here at the New York Auto Show.

ImageIt is a luxury compact crossover sport utility vehicle that looks forward with innovations like smart phone control, as well as a return to its heritage of giving its vehicles glamorous names instead of sterile alphanumeric designations.

At a time early in the 20th century, Lincolns were revered as staunch competitors to the likes of luxurious and high-performing cars from Duesenberg, Packard and Cadillac. They were named Cosmopolitan, Lido and Capri, and especially Zephyr, arguably the most beautiful passenger car of its era.

But that fell into a ditch somewhere along the line, as this quintessentially American car company tried to emulate German luxury cars with confusing letters and numbers to identify them.

Image-3In the burgeoning category of crossover sport utility vehicles, the Lincolns became identified as MKC, MKS and MKT, although its full-size body-on-frame SUV received the more appropriate name of Navigator.

Now the company has come full circle with the 2020 Corsair. It says the name comes from the Latin “cursus,” meaning “journey.” But almost anyone with a memory of history will relate it to the World War II F4U Corsair, the gorgeous gull-winged fighter plane that heroic U.S. Marine Corps pilots flew off aircraft carriers in the Pacific.

Obviously, Lincoln has no intention of evoking devastating wartime battles. Nope. The new Corsair was designed to be a serene, welcoming, comfortable place for youthful 21stcentury achievers with the wherewithal to step up from a Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Mazda CX-5.

Image-4And guess what? All the old letter designations have gone to the junkyard. The Lincoln SUV lineup, in order of size, now starts with the Corsair and moves on in price and size steps to the Nautilus, Aviator and Navigator—in short, the alpha and omega of current SUVs, though a subcompact may be in the offing.

So what’s the new Corsair all about? There’s some old and much that is new. It replaces the 2019 MKC and shares its basic power plants, though the new engines have been recalibrated, or tweaked in common parlance.

New are two four-cylinder turbocharged engines. The base 2.0-liter in the front-wheel drive models delivers 250 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive models can be equipped with that engine or a 2.3-liter with 280 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.

Image-9Power surges to the pavement through an eight-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually with paddles on the steering wheel. The previous MKC had a six-speed automatic.

There are five drive modes, similar to those on other vehicles, but Lincoln has chosen to give them descriptive names: Normal, Excite, Slippery, Deep Conditions and Conserve. In another place they might use aliases.

But the Corsair’s emphasis eschews the performance side of the equation to concentrate on exterior and interior design. Designers exult over the form, shapes and lines of the exterior, which is attractive even to a layperson but bears a passing resemblance to the Range Rover Evoque.

Image-10The interior is similarly elegant with attention to horizontal lines, modern design and quality materials. There’s also a manifest effort to isolate the driver and passengers from any unwanted sounds from outside or the engine compartment, isolated by extra insulation in the firewall.

Lincoln officials used the word “sanctuary” to describe the motoring experience. We already have sanctuaries in places of worship, as well as sanctuary cities. Now we have a sanctuary crossover. It even extends to warnings with “symphonic chimes” instead of beeps or buzzers.

Corsair’s kicker is its “phone as a key” technology, which enables owners to control and operate the luxury conveyance from their smart phones. Using the Lincoln Way app, drivers can lock and unlock doors, open the lift-gate, and start and drive their Corsairs.

Image-11For the more Luddite-inclined in the customer base, a standard key fob is included as a—whew!—substitute for the smart phone app.

If a smart phone’s battery dies, the owner can gain entry with the Corsair’s standard exterior keypad, then use the center touch screen to drive off. Also, if the phone is lost or stolen, “phone as a key” can easily be deleted.

The Corsair comes standard with driver assist features called Lincoln Co-Pilot 360. They include pre-collision emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, lane-keeping assist and automatic high-beam lighting. There’s also Wi-Fi and wireless charging for mobile devices.

Image-2An option, called “Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus,” adds adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane centering, roadside speed sign recognition, emergency evasive steering assist, reverse braking assist, and active parking assist, which automatically parks the Corsair in parallel or perpendicular spaces.

No prices were announced, but an educated guess puts them in a range from about $35,000 for the base model, marching through trim levels to a top-of-the-line Corsair that could have sticker price of around $57,000.

The Corsair, built in a plant in Louisville, Kentucky, will arrive at dealerships in the fall.

Disclaimer: This preview was gathered at a manufacturer-sponsored press event. The manufacturer provided travel, accommodations, vehicles, meals and fuel.

Image-6Photos (c) Lincoln

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2017 Lincoln Continental: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

The Ford Motor Co. resurrected a storied luxury nameplate with the 2017 Lincoln Continental.

It didn’t happen without controversy. When the concept was introduced, the chief designer at Great Britain’s Bentley accused Lincoln of copy-catting the Bentley Flying Spur, a luxury sedan which, curiously enough, was built off the same platform as Bentley’s own Continental, a high-performance coupe and convertible.

17LincolnContinental_06_HRBut Bentley could not gripe about the name because Lincoln had an unassailable prior claim, having introduced its Continental in 1939 — also as a coupe and convertible. It carried on through 10 generations of sedans, coupes and convertibles, with arguably its most beautiful and famous the Continental coupe of 1956-57.

Lincoln canceled the Continental in 2002 as superfluous because it already had the big Town Car and the LS model, which did double duty as the British Jaguar S-Type at a time when Ford owned Jaguar.

Over the later years, Lincoln sagged as Ford neglected it, along with the now-defunct Mercury, to concentrate on high-profit models, especially the Ford F-Series pickup trucks. Lincoln was eclipsed by Cadillac and new luxury cars from Japan and Germany.

2017-Lincoln-Continental-Gary-Clark-Jr_L1390370-HI-RESAfter the recession of 2008, Ford started a campaign to recapture Lincoln’s aura, renaming its luxury division as the Lincoln Motor Co. Yet by 2012, its U.S. sales remained the lowest in a group of luxury and near-luxury vehicles behind Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.

Now with the livery-centric Town Car gone, the 2017 Continental reigns as Lincoln’s pinnacle in a competitive fleet of luxury cars and crossovers, as well as the full-size body-on-frame Navigator sport utility vehicle.

17LincolnContinental_09_HRThe new Continentals are starting to turn up as classy for-hire conveyances, though the complaint from drivers is that they do not have big enough trunks compared to the sturdy old body-on-frame Town Car sedans, which had a run from 1981 to 2011.

But Lincoln already has finessed that by revamping its full-size three-row crossover sport utility vehicle, the MKT, with the second row of seats moved back to provide additional leg room and the third row eliminated entirely for luggage space.

Oh, and just so everybody gets the message, that special MKT bears a Town Car badge.

17LincolnContinental_10_HRRegardless of any resemblance to the Bentley Flying Spur, the new Continental looks the part of a classic luxury car (though it sells for less money than most of its competitors, some of which break into six figures). The model tested for this review, the top-of-the-line AWD (all-wheel-drive) Reserve, came with a starting price of $57,000 and, with full safety equipment and a complement of optional convenience and luxury features, topped out at $75,020.

For luxury car fans, this is one to salivate over. It has a comfortable, even cushy, ride without inducing motion sickness like some of the big luxury sedans of yore. The tested Continental even had built-in massage therapy for the driver and front passenger, including settings to knead both the back and buttocks.

1421874_17_LNC_CTN_200097_RHS_Hires_RGB_160803Three engines are available, each linked to a six-speed automatic transmission: 245-hp twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6, 305-hp 3.5-liter V6 and the top 400-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 on the tested Reserve model.

Though the Continental is nearly 17 feet long and weighs 4,547 pounds, it is not a slug in urban traffic, and is blessed with relatively nimble handling. The all-wheel drive incorporates dynamic torque-vectoring — a system that selectively applies the rear-wheel brakes to ease handling around corners. Even so, it’s not the sort of car you’d use to chase sports cars or even small sports sedans on curving mountain roads.

As a premier luxury car, the Continental comes with state-of-the art safety and convenience equipment. They include a twin-panel glass sunroof, backup camera with a 360-degree overhead view, pre-collision detection and warning, three-zone automatic climate control, and electronic door latching and opening. Inside or outside, merely touching the button opens the door.

1395139_17_LNC_CTN_200135_CHL_Hires_RGB_160620One caution: Don’t mess with the entertainment and information systems, including the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, without a thorough briefing or detailed reading of the owner’s manual. Trying to access some of the obtuse functions without instructions can be infuriating.

The Continental’s forte is as a boulevardier around the city and suburbs, and as a long-distance road car. Settle into the soft leather seats, tune in the satellite radio or your choice of music from your own smart phone, set the adaptive cruise control and make sure the lane departure warning is activated. You’re in for a pleasant, quiet trip without fatigue.

Specifications

  • Model: 2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Reserve four-door sedan.
  • Engine:0-liter V6, twin turbochargers, 400 hp, 400 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic with manual-shift mode.
  • Overall length: 16 feet 9 inches.
  • EPA passenger/trunk volume: 106/17 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 4,547 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 16/24/19 mpg.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $57,000.
  • Price as tested: $75,020.

Disclaimer: This test drive was conducted at a manufacturer-sponsored press event. The manufacturer provided travel, accommodations, vehicles, meals and fuel.

17_LNC_CTN_200200Photos (c) Lincoln.

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