2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve. Photo: Lincoln

This week I drove the 2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve, a compact luxury SUV offering more evidence that Lincoln is back.

The big picture: As Ford Motor's premium brand, Lincoln has struggled to find its footing among Japanese and European luxury competitors. But starting a few years ago, it stopped trying to copy those guys and focused instead on pampering customers with a modern interpretation of American luxury.

  • The Corsair is the baby brother to Lincoln's family of larger SUVs including the Nautilus, Aviator and Navigator.

The Corsair shares its underpinnings with the Ford Escape, but you wouldn't know it, which is a tribute to Lincoln's effort to differentiate its lineup.

  • The super-quiet interior feels upscale, with plush materials, a piano-style, push-button shifter and a cantilevered center console.
  • It offers two punchy little engines: a 250-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter or a 295-hp, 2.3-liter turbo.
  • It comes with a suite of standard driver-assist features like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist, or you can upgrade to Co-Pilot360 Plus, which adds even more features to reduce the stress of driving.

Yes, but: The Corsair gets pricey fast. While the Corsair 2.0T AWD starts at $39,140, it quickly escalates with options — potentially out of the price range of young professionals who are the likely buyers.

  • The all-wheel-drive Reserve starts at $44,830 but with upgrades, my tester topped out at $59,660.

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