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Tech reviews

SUV Review: 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring an approachable blend of posh and tech

By the time you read this, I’ll have driven over 6,000 cumulative kilometres of cross-province driving in two separate Lincoln Corsair variants over the past few years. The Lincoln Corsair is one of a multitude of choices in a highly contested segment occupied by the likes of the Porsche Macan, Acura RDX, Genesis GV70, Audi Q5 and a boatload more.

I’d happily call the Lincoln Corsair a favourite amongst those, with a premium stereo system and abundantly adjustable Perfect Position seats with built-in massage make even eight-hour highway drives glide on by with ease. I particularly recommend the Level 3 Circular Cushion massage with seat heater on after leg day.

Anyhow, it’s an approachable blend of posh and tech, brimming with unique touches and features to help set it apart. The highway ride is creamy, the cabin is generously trimmed and nicely built. In all, I’d tell you this is a machine with many strengths — as well as a potentially serious weakness that shoppers should be aware of.

More on that later.

For my latest long-distance Corsair journey, the Grand Touring Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) was the unit of choice.

The neat and tidy cabin of the 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring is welcoming and calming. Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News - Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News
The neat and tidy cabin of the 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring is welcoming and calming. Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News – Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News


The plug-in hybrid is a special type of hybrid that can work wonders for your fuel bill. Most hybrids don’t have a plug. The Corsair GT is a PHEV, meaning it’s one of the rare hybrid crossovers that does. On the rear of the vehicle is a flap concealing a fuel filler where you gas up. Around front, a second flap conceals the electric charger connection.

That’s two energy sources to propel this ride: a battery full of electricity, and a tankful of good-ol’ liquid dinosaur.

If you’re unfamiliar with this setup, the most important thing to understand is that you never have to plug the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring in. In this type of hybrid, you put gas in the tank, and you’re good to drive. Charging is never mandatory, there’s no situation where you need to stop and recharge and, if you wanted to, you could drive this SUV for years without ever connecting it to a charger.

Here’s how that all works:

Under the hood, it’s a 2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid engine running on gasoline, teamed up with a pair of integrated electric motors. These motors run on electricity stored in the hybrid battery, which is fitted to the floor where it doesn’t take up obvious space.

A portion of that battery’s capacity is recharged automatically as you drive around, enabling gas-electric driving typical of conventional plugless hybrids. The PHEV tech adds a battery that stores a lot more energy than a regular hybrid’s does — so much so, that you’ve got to connect it to an external charger to juice things up completely (hence the charge port).

When the hybrid battery is full, it holds enough energy to drive about 50 kilometres without using any gas. So, imagine having an Electric Vehicle (EV) for shorter trips, and a seamless switch to gas-electric hybrid drive for longer ones, and you’re in the right ballpark.

The 50 kilometres of charge arrive in about 11 hours (call it overnight), when you plug into a standard household outlet. If you’ve got got a spicier Level 2 charger handy at work, home, or the mall, 11 hours becomes about 2.3 to a full 50-kilometre charge-up. All of these numbers are approximate and will vary.

The 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring boasts generous rear-seat leg and knee-room for adults and more-than-adequate headroom for most. Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News - Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News
The 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring boasts generous rear-seat leg and knee-room for adults and more-than-adequate headroom for most. Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News – Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News


I saw as many as 56 kilometres of EV driving per charge on my watch. Colder temperatures drop the electric range, perhaps from 50 kilometres at room temperature to 35 on the coldest winter days.

So, while you never have to plug this machine in, doing so means your sub-50 kilometre drives virtually stop using gas. This means that some in-town drivers may only wind up filling the tank a few times a year, instead of a few times a month. With nightly charging at home, I handled a week’s worth of errands in my tester before its fuel pump ever turned on. Hydro isn’t free of course, but when it comes to propelling a PHEV, it’s the far less expensive way to move down the road.

When the 50 kilometres of EV range runs out, automatic gasoline backup comes online seamlessly, and gas-electric hybrid driving continues. The process is totally invisible and automatic. You’ll hear a faint grumble as the gas engine spins up and that’s about it.

In fact, on some all-electric drives, you’ll notice the gas engine occasionally turning itself on and getting up to temperature. During electric driving, the gas engine will also occasionally kick in at speeds beyond about 110 km/h, when additional pickup is required.

The nice thing about electric motors is that they gush quiet, smooth torque — and the Corsair has two of them. When driving in pure EV mode, a slight electric whirr is all you’ll hear and the machine is responsive and smooth. When used in conjunction with the gasoline engine, the electric motor torque can smooth out and fatten up the power curve, bumping output and throttle response with no additional noise. The hybrid motors boost the engine like a turbocharger, but with much faster response — and while saving fuel as opposed to ramming more of it into the cylinders.

From the driver’s seat, the electric-boosted throttle response in the Corsair’s ‘Excite’ drive mode provides a steady supply of grins. Expect a remarkably quiet and smooth glide up to speed on electric-only power, supplemented by a smooth and muted sound from the four-cylinder engine when some heavy-footed driving gets it revved up. Under a heavy foot, there’s a potent punch of electric torque blended smoothly with combustion power that glide the Corsair swiftly up to speed.

The cargo space of the 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring features a low load-in. Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News - Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News
The cargo space of the 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring features a low load-in. Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News – Justin Pritchard/Postmedia News


Especially off the line, it’s a highly responsive launch that non-electrified gas engines can’t match. In all, this smooth and quiet engine goes nicely with a smooth and quiet drive — most of the time.

Drivers will see some of the Corsair’s best work on smooth roads and especially highways. It’s a soft and comfortable glide over most highway and secondary roads, and the ride seems smooth, dense, and solid — about mid-point between sporty-stiff and comfy-squishy. It’s not too much of either, but strikes a nice balance between relaxed and responsive. The Corsair doesn’t beg for fast cornering, but it’s not opposed to it either. Most will find it feels very chilled-out and easy to drive.

But the rough and crumbling backroads surrounding Sudbury, Ont. coaxed out my tester’s biggest weakness. After my initial visit to the Corsair a few years back, I noted that certain bumps and craters in a crumbling backroad setting brought a notable hit to ride comfort, often stirring more noise and feedback from the suspension than I expect for the money.

The complaint remains and I left my decked-out $70,000 tester wishing for better isolation from the smashed-up Sudbury roads beneath.

Specifically, washboard or pothole-covered roads, camp roads or roads with failed pavement repairs make for a ride that can feel coarse and brittle, with significant audible feedback from the suspension. These are worst-case scenario roads, but other luxury crossovers (and even some mainstream ones) feel better-suited to this specific setting.

So, while highway touring ride comfort is satisfying, shoppers making this sort of spend have better options for ride comfort on busted-up backroads, if that’s a priority.

I had few complaints on board, aside from a set of digital instruments which could use a splash or colour or flair, and an abundance of easily scratched and constantly dusty piano-gloss trim. Keep your Swiffer handy if you’re a neat freak like me.

Those are minor gripes in this otherwise welcoming, calming cabin. Passengers will take in the scenery surrounded by richly detailed surfaces, upscale touches, and generous use of metal, leather and stitching to convey a high-end depth and character.

My favourite thing about the Corsair Grand Touring’s interior is the neat and tidy look. Most button clutter is positioned low on the dash on a single interface, meaning almost everything is in one spot and the driver’s outward sightlines are less cluttered. It also means more of the cabin’s visual scenery flaunts luxurious materials, not buttons and consoles and interfaces and screens. In turn, this makes it a bit easier to sit back, enjoy the scenery, and receive a massage with the ventilated seats and stereo system blasting.

Elsewhere on board, look for generous rear-seat leg and knee-room for adults, and more-than-adequate headroom for most. At 5’11, your writer could sit comfortably behind himself, with more than enough space to spare in all dimensions. Further back, the low cargo load-in height is easy to appreciate, especially for family canines jumping in and out.

So, give this machine some attention if you like the idea of a creamy highway ride, a richly trimmed cabin full of unique details and a fuel-sipping engine that’s big on quiet power. On the other hand, you’ve got better choices for comfortable rough-road travels and exciting displays and graphics.

Still, even the Corsair’s most complicated features are very easy to use and the cabin serves nicely as a rich and calming social lounge or personal space full of features that contribute to a low-stress drive, even over long distances. It’s easy to get comfortable and settled-in quickly, ahead of a relaxing highway drive.

If you’ll mostly drive on smooth roads, the Corsair Grand Touring should prove a very solid pick in a comfort-first package when calmness of the driving experience takes precedence over goodies.


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