Lincoln is currently riding high off a strong one-two SUV punch, having successfully launched the redesigned full-size Navigator last year and seeing critical approval of the resurrected mid-size Aviator model. Now the American luxury brand has turned its attention to the compact SUV formerly known as the MKC. All-new for 2020, that crossover now goes by the cool-sounding “Corsair” name and, based on our first impressions, is an altogether more competitive product than the MKC it replaces. It’s also a hell of a lot more expensive when fully loaded—like, more-than-its-competitors expensive.
To show you how much more money it’ll take to buy a top-end 2020 Corsair versus an equivalent 2019 MKC, we hit Lincoln’s online Corsair configurator and threw every available option at it. It’s worth noting that the Corsair is only offered in Standard and Reserve trims, while the old MKC could be had in Standard, Select, Reserve, and bougie Black Label trims. Since we’re aiming for maximum cost here, we must line up a 2019 MKC Black Label against the 2020 Corsair Reserve. Given every available option, the Corsair sees its sticker balloon to nearly $10,000 more than the similarly loaded MKC. Here’s how:
First, skip right past the entry-level Corsair Standard, which is priced reasonably for the segment (at $37,585 to start) for the fancier Reserve trim, which starts at $44,270. In addition to the Standard’s list of, ahem, standard equipment (heated, power-adjustable front seats; a 4G LTE data connection with onboard Wi-Fi; LED exterior lighting; and a full complement of active safety gear), the Reserve brings extras like navigation, 19-inch wheels, and a super-swank Revel audio system.
Next, opt for the available 280-hp turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, which replaces the base 250-hp 2.0-liter engine and adds $6740 to the bottom line. That’s a lot of cheese, mostly because the engine requires adding all-wheel drive and the Reserve I package. That bundle includes ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a self-parking feature, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, and a 360-degree parking camera.
But wait, there’s more! What you really need is the $11,540 Reserve II package, which builds on the Reserve I kit with an adaptive suspension (which in our experience delivers a pillowy ride quality and secure handling on twisty roads) and leather-wrapped front seats with 14 additional power-operated adjustments. Maximum cost requires you to also select the $1,600 Reserve Appearance Package, the $600 Beyond Blue Interior Package (blue-colored everything inside!), $1,700 head-up display (which is actually quite large and useful), and $695 Flight Blue paint (gotta match the interior). Going all-in on the option sheet results in nearly $17,000 in extras, elevating the 2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve’s sticker price to a dizzying $61,255.
That’s a lot of money for not a lotta Lincoln (it’s only a compact SUV!). Sure, Lincoln’s styling and quality continue to improve, and the gap between it and European rivals is closing. Based on our first drive in the 2020 Corsair, the crossover is mostly lovely and deserving of its more aspirational pricing (the car we evaluated was just over $60,000, too). Only one hitch: The Corsair now costs more than a similarly loaded four-cylinder Audi Q5, BMW X3, or Mercedes-Benz GLC 300, all of which are priced around $55,000. And while Lincoln doesn’t offer a larger or more powerful engine option beyond the Corsair’s 280-hp 2.3-liter four, its European competitors do. In fact, you can buy a 349-hp Audi SQ5, 382-hp BMW X3 M40i, or 362-hp Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 for the same money you’d spend on this Corsair. Forget a one-two punch—Lincoln’s SUVs are now swinging for the gut.