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2021 Lincoln Corsair vs. 2021 Volvo XC40: Which Is Better?

The 2021 Volvo XC40 and 2021 Lincoln Corsair present two different takes on a compact luxury SUV. Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • The Volvo XC40 is newly available as an EV.
  • The Lincoln Corsair is newly available as a PHEV.

2021 Volvo XC40

2021 Volvo XC40

Base Price: $34,695 / Read our 2021 Volvo XC40 Review

What we like: Two gasoline engine choices; available EV version; many standard active-safety features; stylish exterior; roomy interior

What we would change: Greater range for the EV; redesign the electronic gearshift; add more physical controls outside the touchscreen

Overview: The Volvo XC40 is very much in the mold of its larger siblings. The XC40 has its own spin on the brand’s Scandinavian-inspired design, giving it a modern, substantial look despite its small size, and the roomy interior is full of clever touches. Gasoline-powered models use a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder in one of two strengths. The T4 has a 184-hp version and comes only with front-wheel drive. The T5 gets 248 hp and all-wheel drive and can tow a substantial 3,500 pounds. Both engines are paired with a well-mannered 8-speed automatic that unfortunately suffers from a balky electronic shifter. The T5’s acceleration is brisk, while the T4’s is merely adequate. In either version, the 2.0-liter four can sound coarse at high rpms. The T4 averages an unexceptional 26 mpg combined, barely beating the T5’s 25 mpg. New for 2021 is the battery-powered XC40 Recharge P8 AWD. It’s blisteringly quick with 402 hp, but its range is somewhat disappointing at 208 miles.

What’s new for 2021: The XC40 Recharge P8 AWD is a new all-electric variant. Elsewhere, the base Momentum trim adds a host of new equipment including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, LED headlights with automatic high-beams and active curve illumination, power-folding auto-dimming side mirrors, leather, two USB-C ports for rear-seat passengers, and a programmable Care Key (that sets limits for young drivers). Additionally, the XC40 and all Volvos can now alert each other to slippery roads or a vehicle with its hazard lights on.

Features and technology: The XC40 T4 and T5 are offered in Momentum, R Design, and Inscription trim levels. All trims come with a full slate of active-safety features. The base Momentum includes leather, a power driver’s seat, a digital instrument cluster, and a 9-inch vertical touchscreen. The R Design gets a sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels, Nappa leather/Nubuck upholstery, navigation, and more. The top Inscription trim has the standard suspension, real wood trim, and a crystal shift knob. Adaptive cruise with assisted steering, a 360-degree-view monitor, wireless charging, and self-parking are among the available options. The Recharge P8 AWD comes in a single trim level. As in other Volvos, a vertical touchscreen is featured, and while it looks impressively modern and is highly customizable, its learning curve is steep and more physical controls would be welcome.

What does the future hold: The XC40 lineup appears to be fully filled out with the arrival of the Recharge P8 AWD, so we don’t expect major changes soon. See 2021 Volvo XC40 models for sale near you.

2021 Lincoln Corsair

2021 Lincoln Corsair

Base Price: $36,940 / Read our 2021 Lincoln Corsair Review

What we like: Choice of turbo-four engines; available plug-in hybrid; roomy interior; quietness

What we would change: Lower the prices of the top trims; reduce the interdependency of optional equipment

Overview: The Lincoln Corsair follows in the footsteps of the larger Aviator and Navigator with its exterior style, interior ambiance, available multi-contour seats, and quiet cabin. The Corsair rides comfortably, particularly with the optional adaptive dampers, though they’re unavailable on the Standard trim. Despite an “Excite” drive mode setting, don’t expect sporty dynamics — a newly available Sport package is largely cosmetic. The base engine is a 250-hp 2.0-liter turbo four, which can be paired with front-wheel drive or AWD. The step-up 2.3-liter turbo with a robust 295 hp is AWD only. Max towing is 2,000 pounds. The base setup returns 25 mpg overall, and the 2.3-liter with AWD is just 1 mpg behind at 24 mpg. For 2021, there’s a third powertrain option, an AWD plug-in hybrid with 266 hp and 25 miles of EV range.

What’s new for 2021: A new plug-in-hybrid powertrain joins the lineup, offered exclusively in the fully luxed-up Grand Touring trim. It comes standard with AWD and offers 25 miles of EV range. A new Sport Package includes the 2.3-liter engine, polished 20-inch wheels, body-color rocker panels, and a black grille insert. A new Monochromatic Package brings black 20-inch wheels and body-color bumpers and rocker panels.

Features and technology: The Corsair is offered in Standard, Reserve, and Grand Touring trim levels, the latter for the plug-in hybrid only. The 2.3-liter engine necessitates stepping up to the Reserve trim plus buying AWD and a bundle of unrelated equipment. The standard 8-inch touchscreen is easy to use, while the available digital instrument cluster is unspectacular. A pleasant novelty: Tones recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra function as audible warnings and reminders. A clever “Phone as a Key” feature allows you to use your smartphone lock/unlock the car, start the engine, and open the liftgate. A full suite of standard driver-assistance features is on hand, but adaptive cruise with lane centering is optional only as part of a pricey option package. A head-up display similarly requires buying lots of other equipment.

What does the future hold: After a considerable delay, the Corsair’s PHEV variant finally reaches showrooms this spring. See 2021 Lincoln Corsair models for sale near you

XC40 vs. Corsair: Strengths comparison

Volvo XC40 Benefits: Lower pricing; better fuel economy; available EV; impressive towing capacit;, sophisticated style

Lincoln Corsair Benefits: More powerful turbo-four engines; available PHEV; more cargo space

2021 Volvo XC40 vs. 2021 Lincoln Corsair: Which is better?

The Volvo XC40 has a distinctly European feel, with its more urban-friendly exterior size and firmer chassis tuning. The Lincoln Corsair, by contrast, seems more traditionally American with its larger exterior dimensions, plush interior, and quiet ride. Personal preference will dictate this choice for most buyers, but Volvo does benefit from a stronger value proposition, particularly when you add options. Find a 2021 Volvo XC40 for sale or Find a 2021 Lincoln Corsair for sale

2021 Volvo XC40 2021 Lincoln Corsair
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.0-liter I-4 turbo 2.0-liter I-4 turbo
Horsepower 187 hp  at 4,700 rpm 250 hp  at 5,500 rpm
Torque 221 lb-ft at 1,400 rpm 275 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 26 mpg (23 city/32 highway) 25 mpg (22 city/29 highway)
Also Available 2.0-liter I-4 turbo; EV; AWD 2.3-liter I-4 turbo; PHEV; AWD
Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 6 years/70,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety 5 stars 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.4 inches 106.7 inches
Overall Length 174.2inches 180.6 inches
Width 73.3 inches 74.3 inches
Height 65.3 inches 64.1 inches
Turning Diameter 37.4 feet 37.1 feet
Headroom, Front 39.0 inches 39.5 inches
Headroom, Rear 39.1 inches 38.7 inches
Legroom, Front 40.9 inches 43.2 inches
Legroom, Rear 36.1 inches 38.6 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.7 inches 57.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 56.3 inches 56.3 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 102.9 cubic feet 102.5 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 21.7/57.5 cubic feet 27.6/57.6 cubic feet

Joe Lorio
Joe Lorio
Joe Lorio is an author specializing in automobiles. He says, “I have been into cars ever since I started with Matchboxes, and have been sharing my opinions about them for almost as long. Granted, I was pretty young at the time, but my parents really should have listened to me when I told them not to buy an Austin Marina.”

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