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Published on November 21st, 2019 | by Jennifer Sensiba


Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring Plug-In Hybrid

November 21st, 2019 by  

Image courtesy Lincoln

While certainly not the big news of the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, Ford had another announcement for us this week: The Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring. I know our readers tend to be big EV fans and don’t get excited about plug-in hybrids, but the Corsair takes an interesting approach that is worth mentioning.

In some ways, this vehicle sits between a plug-in hybrid and a full EV, and shows us where Ford is heading with its electrification strategy.

Basic Vehicle Info

Image courtesy Lincoln

At first glance, the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring looks like a common (and maybe somewhat mediocre) PHEV.

  • Atkinson cycle gasoline engine, eCVT, two electric motors, and a system that mixes it all together to drive the front wheels using electric and/or gas power
  • Around 25 miles of electric-only range
  • Different drive modes, including performance, “whisper”, and range-preservation options
  • Limited autonomous features, decent displays, phone as a key
  • Lots of creature comforts (it’s a Lincoln, after all)

What Sets the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring Apart From Most PHEVs

Image courtesy Lincoln

Under the hood, what drives the front wheels is pretty standard fare, but the all wheel drive system does give this vehicle an edge. Hybrid systems tend to be a lot more complex than an EV, with a transmission (of sorts), and multiple inputs for mechanical power.

On this vehicle, the rear wheels are driven only by electric power. There’s no mechanical link between the front and rear wheels. What this basically gives us is a vehicle that’s a pure EV in the back, and a hybrid in the front.

This is important for two reasons:

First, during takeoff much of a vehicle’s weight shifts to the rear wheels. To get the feel for this right, they’re going to need to divert most power during acceleration to the rear wheels (at least in EV mode). Given that this is the hardest work a vehicle will do, this takes a lot of strain off of the more sensitive and less durable ICE and hybrid components up front.

So, this gives more reliability in the long run.

Second, this shows Ford’s thinking. In designing this variant of the Escape (badged as a Lincoln), we can see that we are going to see some more of these “through the road” hybrids in the future under other makes and models.

It also shows us that Ford isn’t resting on front-drive based laurels. By increasingly changing its hybrids to look (and sometimes act) more like a full EV in the rear of the vehicle, the company showed us that it wants customers to start feeling what that’s like. Loyal customers who buy today’s plug-in hybrid are being prepped to be comfortable driving a full EV later when that happens.

Finally, it shows (on top of the Mustang Mach-E release) that the company is embracing full-EV drivetrain components more broadly in their lineups. This is yet another thing that it didn’t have to do, but did anyway. 

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About the Author

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to explore the Southwest US with her partner, kids, and animals.

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