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Is It Worth Getting the Bigger Engine on the New Lincoln Corsair?

The 2.3-liter engine costs an extra $1,140, and you can only get it on the pricier Reserve trim


More often than not, if a vehicle offers more than one engine, the cheap option is going to be pretty slow. That doesn't matter to all buyers, but nobody wants to feel like they can't merge safely onto a fast-moving freeway. The all-new 2020 Lincoln Corsair, though, is one of those exceptions where the base engine is actually pretty good. Do you need to pay for the upgrade, then?


The new Corsair offers two similar turbocharged four-cylinder engines that can drive just the front or all four wheels. A 2.0-liter turbo that makes 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque is standard, and a slightly larger 2.3-liter turbo making 280 horsepower and 310 lb-ft is optional. That's not a huge difference on paper, but it's a slightly larger one on the stopwatch. In our testing, a Corsair 2.0 with all-wheel drive needed 7.3 seconds to hit 60 mph from a stop, and a Corsair 2.3 with all-wheel drive needed 6.5 seconds, a difference of less than a second.

For comparison, a Range Rover Evoque P300 needs 8.1 seconds to reach 60 mph with all-wheel drive and its optional high-performance engine. A Lexus NX 300, with the optional engine and all-wheel drive, needs 6.9 seconds, the same as a Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 with all-wheel drive. An Audi Q3, which only offers one engine but has standard all-wheel drive, needs 8.5 seconds. The standard Corsair, then, is nearly as quick as or significantly quicker than the competition. Unless you need to be the fastest compact luxury SUV on the block, the base engine will do just fine.


The base engine becomes even more attractive when you consider the price difference. A Corsair Standard starts at $37,585 for front-wheel drive and $41,185 with all-wheel drive and can only be had with the 2.0-liter engine. To even have the option of buying the 2.3-liter engine, you must upgrade to the Corsair Reserve, which starts at $44,270 with the 2.0-liter engine and front-wheel drive. The 2.3-liter engine only comes with all-wheel drive, and to get them both the starting price jumps to $51,010. In effect, the bigger engine that's less than a second quicker to 60 mph is a $9,825 to $13,425 upcharge.


As always, you should test-drive before you buy. Because you're still in the research phase now, we can tell you our editors could feel the extra power of the 2.3-liter engine, but they agreed it wasn't a must-have. The 2.0-liter engine feels plenty quick getting around town and onto the interstate, and although we like that little bit of extra oomph from the big engine, none of us felt we absolutely needed it or that the 2.0-liter engine was lacking.


The good news is that you'll get just about the same fuel economy whichever way you go. The front-drive Corsair 2.0 is rated at 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/ combined. Upgrading to the all-wheel-drive Corsair 2.3 puts only a small dent in your fuel economy: It's rated at 21/28/24 mpg city/highway,/combined. The EPA estimates the big engine and all-wheel drive will only cost you an extra $50 per year in fuel. Of course, that's $50 per year on top of the extra $10,000 or more it cost to buy the top-spec powertrain in the first place.

All told, the Lincoln Corsair's standard 2.0-liter engine makes such a compelling case for itself in value, performance, and fuel efficiency that we see no need for you to spend extra on the optional engine.

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Automotive Magazine: Is It Worth Getting the Bigger Engine on the New Lincoln Corsair?
Is It Worth Getting the Bigger Engine on the New Lincoln Corsair?
The 2.3-liter engine costs an extra $1,140, and you can only get it on the pricier Reserve trim
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