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Traveling the Overseas Highway - 2021 Lincoln Corsair - Review by Larry Nutson

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Traveling the Overseas Highway

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

A recent long-weekend change of scenery for my wife and I provided the opportunity to get reacquainted with the Lincoln Corsair. Our jaunt would take us from Miami to Key West, Florida along the 113-mile Overseas Highway that carries U.S. Route 1 through the Florida Keys.

Since the 1950s the Overseas Highway has been the main coastal highway between these two cities. Officially opened in 1928, the highway follows, for the most part, the route of the former Oversees Railroad that was completed in 1912.

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U.S. Route 1 runs 2,369 miles along the East Coast connecting most all the major cities from Key West north to Fort Kent, Maine at the Canadian border, making it the longest north–south road in the United States. If you travel Interstate 95 today, Route 1 generally runs parallel.

The 2021 Lincoln Corsair proved to be very suitable for our road trip, not that I had any doubt. The Corsair comfortably accommodated the two of us up front and had plenty of rear cargo room for our luggage.

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On drives together, my wife usually shares with me her likes or dislikes on front seat comfort as well as the ease of adjusting climate and audio controls. She was pleased all around with Corsair. Individual settings for HVAC kept us both happy and audio volume and tuning knobs make life easy.

My wife was wowed by the unique chimes that provide driver’s musical alerts, instead of unrefined bells or buzzes. The chimes, recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, are rich, precise symphonic notes recorded for about 25 features in the Corsair.

The Corsair replaced the MKC in the Lincoln carline, made its debut in the Spring of 2019, and has been on sale since that Fall. For 2021, the Corsair is mostly unchanged. A new Grand Touring Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) model is now available. It’s powered by a 2.5-L 4-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors with a total system output of 266-hp. All-electric range for in-city driving is estimate at 25 miles.

The Corsair features distinctive Lincoln design cues from its front grille, sculpted side profile, sloping rear roof and full-width rear taillights. Hand-selected materials and attention to detail is reflected in the interior.

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Above the cantilevered center console sits the unique automatic transmission piano key shift toggles. Available heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, power tilt/telescoping steering column, 24-way seat adjustment with individual thigh supports, power-fold second row seats, power liftgate, 360-degree camera and head-up display all help make for comfortable driving.

Corsair is available with either a 250hp turbo 2.0-L or a 295hp turbo 2.3-L engine. Both are coupled to an 8-speed automatic. The 2.0-L comes in front- or all-wheel drive whereas the 2.3-L is AWD only. Transmission drive modes--Normal, Excite, Slippery, Deep Conditions and Conserve--alter powertrain engine and transmission calibrations to suit road conditions and/or driver preferences. EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings are 22 city mpg and 29 highway mpg for the 2.0-L FWD model. The 2.0-L AWD is one mpg less in the city and the 2.3-L is rated 21mpg and 28mpg.

Lincoln Co-Pilot360 and available Co-Pilot360 Plus provide a full array of advanced driver-assist safety (ADAS) features to help keep you safe and help avoid a crash.

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Our Overseas Highway drive was in a 2021 AWD Reserve model with the 295hp turbo engine. The AWD Reserve has base price of $45,090. My Corsair driver was optioned up with added features and equipment totaling $12,345. Together with the $995 destination fee that brought the total to $57,680.

The Corsair is also available in a Standard trim priced at $36,105 and the Grand Touring PHEV is priced at $50,390. More information, specifications and details are available at

Lincoln has done a nice job of keeping the Corsair’s cabin quiet using a dual-wall firewall separating the engine compartment as well as active noise control. The interior is absent disturbing engine, wind and tire noise which was very evident on our drive.

A multi-link rear suspension with integral bushings provides for a more compliant and smoother ride. Impacts are absorbed and not transmitted through the body. Cornering is very flat and balanced. The optional adaptive suspension that varies damper firmness based on driving conditions was fitted on our Corsair to further refine the ride.

The 295hp engine develops plenty of torque for good acceleration and highway merging. The Overseas Highway is a two-lane road with a center turn and merging lane in populated stretches. It’s a bit tricky to cross an oncoming traffic lane and wait in the center lane to merge in your travel direction. Quick acceleration from the Corsair was needed multiple times to make this type of merge quickly and safely.

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The single lane Overseas Highway is posted at 55mph and in many more populated areas at 45 or even 35 mph. Passing is near impossible and patience is the word for driving this road. This slower travel helped a lot with fuel economy. We averaged a bit over 30 mpg which is very satisfying considering the EPA rating of 28 highway mpg. Patience paid off, in more ways than one.

Overall the Corsair has a very adequate powertrain, provides a comfortable and quiet ride, has an easy to use infotainment system, and there’s decent room for five as well as lots of cargo space. The new Grand Touring PHEV should make for a nice driver while also delivering reduced fuel consumption, especially in slower city driving.

© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy