Lincoln Corsair Leverages Global Architecture to Differentiate Latest C-Segment Luxury SUV

Putting the scale and flexibility of a new global FWD architecture to work, the Lincoln Corsair arrives tailored for its customer base.


The all-new 2020 Lincoln Corsair that debuted at the New York Auto Show last week brings distinct styling that dovetails nicely with its Nautilus and Aviator SUV stablemates. It should also ride like a Lincoln, thanks to its unique and isolating integral-bush rear suspension. Though it shares a new global FWD architecture with the all-new 2-row, 5-seat Ford Escape, the bespoke design and engineering are enabled by the sharing of more components, not fewer. The new architectures are designed to permit keen differentiation among segment-sharing vehicles while global scale improves margins.

The 2020 Lincoln Corsair will feature a unique integral-bush rear suspension, a differentiator enabled by its shared global architecture. (Lincoln)

Lincoln is not the first to take advantage of this global-architecture strategy, first heartily embraced by Volkswagen and now effectively in play at most OEMs including Toyota. The 2020 Corsair is probably the most striking recent example from a U.S.-based OEM. According to the Corsair’s engineering lead, the new architecture was key in creating a premium vehicle tailored to an upmarket customer.

“This is our first Lincoln off of our global front-wheel-drive architecture. And what that afforded us was the ability to flex between shared technology globally,” said John Jraiche, Corsair chief engineer. “That's where we gained advantage: Global scale for shared technology but differentiate where we need to deliver the experience for our customer.”

Unique rear suspension

The integral-bush 3-link rear suspension on the 2020 Lincoln Corsair features a toe link, a camber link and a control arm. (Lincoln)

The new Corsair will have a unique and Lincoln-first integral-bush multilink rear suspension, versus the short-long-arm (SLA) multi-link setup on the new Escape. “We have a three-link system that includes a toe link, a camber link and a control arm,” Jraiche explained. “What that does is isolate bumps and undulations a little cleaner, a little more efficiently than you otherwise would with an SLA.”

Having the ability to create a new suspension setup would have been an unlikely occurrence in the days of platform engineering, but the efficiencies of the new architectures create such opportunities. “We were able to deliver a unique suspension off of this architecture,” Jraiche said. “We do things in the sub-frame for example, where we can share hard points on the global flexible architecture that you wouldn't otherwise be able to do.”

Not electrified, yet

Chief engineer John Jraiche noted at the Corsair’s New York Auto Show launch that the advantages of the new architecture are global scale for shared technology but the ability to differentiate for customer appeal. (Lincoln)

The C-segment Corsair will debut with gasoline-only powertrains when it goes on sale in the U.S. and China this fall (with local manufacturing for each market), but future hybrid versions are likely given the architecture-sharing Escape is debuting with a trio of hybrid options (mild, full and plug-in). Two turbocharged 4-cylinder engines will be offered on the Corsair (2.0L and 2.3L), both paired to an 8-speed automatic and an available AWD system with a fuel-saving disconnect feature.

Powertrain NVH should be muted thanks to the second application (after the new Ford Explorer, due in market this summer) of a new composite engine shroud. What Lincoln labels a “dual-wall dashboard,” the new shroud provides an additional air-gap between the engine and passenger compartments, with electronic active noise control also on duty. Five drive modes (Normal, Excite, Slippery, Deep Conditions and Conserve) provide unique names and drivetrain parameters for a variety of road conditions.

New smartphone tech

The interior on the 2020 Lincoln Corsair will see NVH benefits from the application of the new “dual-wall dashboard”. (Lincoln)

Another new Lincoln-first feature debuting on the 2020 Corsair is “Phone As a Key” technology that will let owners unlock, start and drive the vehicle with their smartphone – no key fob necessary. The feature can also trigger a personal profile that automatically adjusts up to 80 parameters (including seat, mirror and pedal positions) to that driver’s preference. If the phone’s battery is depleted, owners will be able to use the standard exterior keypad and a center-console PIN to start and drive the vehicle. Phone As A Key can be deleted if a phone is lost or stolen.

As in other recent Lincoln offerings, standard electronic alerts (i.e. open fuel door, unbuckled seat belt) have been replaced by six unique chimes recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. A Wi-Fi hotspot is standard and wireless phone charging will be available along with a 14-speaker Revel audio system. The new Corsair does not get the 30-way “Perfect Position” seats from the Continental, making do instead with massaging, 24-way adjustable perches that include the distinct thigh extensions.