A Premium Plug-In Hybrid Hiding in Plain Site
When handed the keys to the 2022 Lincoln Corsair PHEV Grand Touring AWD, the experience ended-up not only being pleasant, but one that raises the question–where has Lincoln been hiding this gem? There is no shame if, for you, Lincoln means either the massive Navigator SUV or the chauffeured Town Car sedan, as these are the most recognizable models from Ford’s premium division. What the Corsair PHEV does, or should do, is open the brand to a new audience who will consider buying a Lincoln for the first time.
Squeezing-out That Extra Mile
The 2022 Lincoln Corsair PHEV Grand Touring is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, powered by a 2.5-liter non-turbocharged, I4 engine and two electric motors producing a total system 266 horsepower. Running on 87 octane, either the front or all four wheels are driven through a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). To maximize performance and efficiency there are five driver selectable drive modes of Conserve, Normal, Excite, Slippery and Snow/Sand. There is a sixth mode of Preserve, which saves the battery charge for later use.
The Environmental Protection Agency rates the Corsair’s fuel economy at 33 mpg highway and combined when running in hybrid mode only. That number jumps to 78 MPGe, or miles per gallon equivalent, when looking at the car’s electric power. MPGe is a measurement of how far a car can travel, electrically, on the same amount of electric energy as is contained in 1 gallon of gasoline (33.7 kilowatt-hours/kWh). Use this number to compare the efficiency of the Corsair versus other PHEVs or EVs.
While the Corsair PHEV is rated at 28 miles of all-electric driving range, with regenerative braking we were able to extend that to 33 miles. When driving, the regenerative system converts kinetic energy into electric energy and stores it in the battery when applying the brakes or coasting. The front drive motor gets most of the work with the rear 50 kW motor coming on for added acceleration or in wet and slippery conditions.
Over 314 miles of Southern California city and highway driving our overall average was 38.8 mpg. On a 68-mile run, setting the adaptive cruise control at 65 mph and after fully charging the battery, we averaged 58 mpg. The take-away is to plug-in the Corsair when possible, especially overnight, for maximum efficiency. Fuel economy numbers reported by Clean Fleet Report are non-scientific and represent the reviewer’s driving experience using the dash gauge computer. Your numbers may differ.
In addition to the regenerative charging, the 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery is replenished by plugging into a charger or wall outlet. Charge times from an empty battery are:
Level 1 120V 10.5 hours
Level 2 240V 3.5 hours
The Corsair PHEV does not come with a 480V fast charge option.
Hitting the Road
With a charged battery there is no sound upon pressing the on/off button, as the Corsair PHEV defaults to electric mode, making it more like powering up as opposed to starting up an engine. If it is cold outside or the battery charge is low, the engine kicks-in, as it will under heavy acceleration.
Whether using the Corsair PHEV for in-town errands or short commutes, the ride and ease of driving will make the time behind the wheel a pleasant experience. The drive modes present several options for tailored driving. If you want extra oomph, select the Excite mode and expect 0-60 mph times of 6.6 seconds. Normal mode is for around town, Conserve is for long stretches of open highway for maximum efficiency, and Slippery and Snow/Sand are self-explanatory. The Preserve mode is especially important to strategically activate to get the highest overall driving range. Saving the battery charge for when on city streets, and leaving the efficient hybrid engine to do its thing on the highway, is how that gaudy 50+ mpg number is reached.
The Corsair PHEV Grand Touring has good grip with the Continental CrossContact LX Sport 245/45 all-season tires, mounted on 20-inch wheels. The steering was on the heavy side, which we liked for the solid feel it gave the Corsair’s 4,532 pounds. While some SUVs have numb steering, reducing road feel, this was not the case here as there was never a time or situation where we felt disconnected from the tires and the road, including around moderate speed sweeping turns.
While not designed or marketed as a sports crossover, the handling was solid and confident, and the adaptive damping returned a supple and comfortable ride.
The Face of a Continental
The Corsair PHEV Grand Touring takes design cues from the now discontinued Lincoln Continental. Paying tribute with the signature grille, made-up of dark smoke-chrome vertical bars that emulate the Lincoln logo and–under certain conditions–sparkle. The smooth front end, without unneeded scoops, has wide-set jeweled LED headlamps that meld into the fenders, sitting above the LED fog and daytime running lamps.
The smooth sides, with a slight concave on the doors and just a hint of chrome framing the windows, have a distinctive character line that runs from the auto-folding, heated sideview mirrors to the hands-free power lift gate. For a cleaner and more elegant look, the rear wiper could be tucked under the spoiler to increase rearward vision for the driver. Other than the extra door for charging, there is no indication the Corsair Grand Touring is electrified.
The LED tail lights are connected by a narrow strip and are part of the approach and farewell lighting elements. The bumper, with a flat top, sits above the dual exhaust chrome tips. The 20-inch, bright machined aluminum wheels, with black painted pockets, are classy.
The Corsair comes in 10 exterior metallic colors including Pristine White, Red Carpet, Elite Blue, Silver Radiance, Ocean Drive Blue, Ceramic Pearl, Flight Blue, Bronze Smoke, Infinite Black and Asher Gray, which was the color of our test Corsair.
The Lincoln Corsair shares its mechanical pieces with the Ford Escape PHEV crossover, but that is where this kumbaya moment ends. The Corsair is premium and hints towards luxury with an upscale interior featuring wood and aluminum trim. With the optional Technology Package, it has adjustable ambient lighting in the door handles, cup holders and footwells.
Just for fun, the Lincoln Symphonic Chimes were created in conjunction with the Detroit Symphony. These six soothing and unique chimes, recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, are a blend of percussion, violin and viola. The symphonic notes are heard on about 25 features in the vehicle and provide three levels of informational chimes–non-critical, soft-warning and hard-warning–that inform drivers of everything from an open fuel door to an unlatched seat belt. Introduced on the 2019 Lincoln Aviator, the chimes are now found on all Lincoln models.
The controls are within easy reach, and are clearly marked on the 12.3-inch fully digital instrument panel that includes large tachometer and speedometer gauges. The 8-inch capacitive touchscreen, with swipe and zoom, was home to the AM/FM HD radio, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM and the 14-speaker Revel audio system–with a subwoofer–that sounded great inside the premium cabin.
All of the infotainment and communication goes through the Sync 3 system. Lincoln Connect offers convenience features, such as remotely locking and unlocking the doors and starting the engine, along with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that can accommodate up to 10 devices–as far as 50-feet away.
In the interest of keeping the driver’s eyes on the road, Clean Fleet Report was glad to see volume and channel selection knobs for the radio, a head-up display providing vital driving and road information, and the heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel that has sixteen buttons and toggles to operate the telephone, radio and voice activation functions.
Lincoln calls this its Vision Steering Wheel, where it “provides the ultimate ease of use and customization.” We took a few minutes to learn the button layout as Lincoln’s “vision” has a different layout from other steering wheel controls we see. For one, the push-to-talk button is on the upper left, activated with your left thumb. The cruise control settings are hidden on the lower, underside of the steering wheel and only are visible when activated. To control the settings there are two four-way toggles, which Lincoln calls joysticks. It all works–with practice.
All seats are covered in Bridge of Weir Scottish leather, which is made with a low carbon process. For us, they were attractive, soft and supple, exactly what is expected in a Lincoln. The front seats are heated and ventilated with 24-way power adjustments.
The second row passengers will appreciate the sliding and reclining seat that provides 36.4-inches of rear leg room. Head and shoulder room is also good, and the fold down center armrest has cup holders, joining the rear ventilation vents and power ports in the center console. The 60/40 power folding rear seat drops for 56.2-inches of cargo space. The Corsair PHEV Grand Touring comes with a power panoramic vista roof, which didn’t reduce headroom for front or rear seat occupants.
Convenience and Safety
Interior convenience features include a rear view camera, auto dim rearview mirror, wireless phone charger, compass, dual zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power tilt and telescoping steering column, height adjustable front seatbelts, temporary spare and a tire inflation kit.
Lincoln’s Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technology is standard and includes blind spot with cross traffic alert, lane keep alert and assist, pre-collision assist with automatic braking, rear pedestrian detection, forward collision warning and a post-crash alert system. Additional standard safety features include front, knee, side, and side curtain airbags, an anti-theft engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitoring system and front and rear parking sensors.
The 2022 Corsair has not been safety rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but it earned a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Pricing and Warranties
The 2022 Lincoln Corsair comes in four models, but only the Grand Touring AWD is a plug-in hybrid. These are the base prices including the mandatory $1,195 destination and delivery fee.
Grand Touring PHEV AWD $54,100
The 2022 Lincoln Corsair PHEV comes with these warranties.
- Powertrain – Six years/70,000 miles
- Basic – Four years/50,000 miles
- Corrosion Perforation – Five years/Unlimited Miles
- Roadside Assistance – Six years/Unlimited Miles
Observations: 2022 Lincoln Corsair PHEV Grand Touring AWD
Gimmicks or trendy designs would be far from in-step with the Lincoln philosophy that puts style and class over flash and glam. The 2022 Corsair PHEV Grand Touring AWD is classic Lincoln, as the exterior and interior say premium while the ride and efficiency say 21st Century.
If you were to plug-in the 2022 Lincoln Corsair PHEV overnight, every night, that daily 25-mile range would be good for about 9,000 miles of all-electric driving annually. You can do the math on how much money you would not be spending with the national average gallon price of 87 octane hovering around $4.80 (at the time we drove the Corsair PHEV), or even greater savings in California where it is closer to $6.25 per gallon. But more than the savings is the satisfaction of driving past gasoline stations as you go about your daily routine, knowing the Corsair PHEV is reducing the need for imported oil.
The importance to Lincoln of the Corsair Grand Touring PHEV is clear, as it is the company’s entry into the electrified vehicle market. Built in Louisville, Kentucky, this small SUV is both the entry level and the most efficient Lincoln. If you want a premium travel experience and have a few dollars left over for a luxury hotel or restaurant, then visit your local Lincoln dealer and give the Corsair Grand Touring PHEV a spin.
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Story and photos by John Faulkner.
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at [email protected]