A lot can change in a year.
After about 10 years of car testing, I decided to take a break for a while (and, and contracted COVID-19 just for fun). My thought was, after reviewing for so long, I wanted the auto market to catch up to me a little with features and innovation.
Wow, they really did.
In the last year, electrics have popped up right and left like cats at a farm. New tech features that did not exist at all when I stopped testing are now game-changing innovations. I’m excited to be reviewing again just to see all of the new advancements.
The 2023 Lincoln Corsair Reserve has some technology that surprised me. I will say, it is something I’ve seen before in other luxury brands like BMW, but it’s so easy to use and fluid in terms of everyday driving that I hope it becomes more prevalent soon.
I’m talking about intelligent adaptive cruise control, which is like adaptive cruise plus. The Corsair can read road signs and knows the posted speed. That’s nifty on its own, but the cruise control “adapts” as you drive and it’s quite smart. Once enabled, I could just hit the resume button and the Corsair would automatically accelerate to the posted speed. Actually, that’s not quite right. You can set a tolerance of say 5 miles per hour over the posted speed, and the vehicle will accelerate to that speed instead.
Now, again — that’s cool. But what surprised me is that the Corsair will then keep adjusting the speed as you drive, hinting once again at things to come with autonomous driving. (I wish I could say I have seen this feature in a Tesla but that car company doesn’t arrange press cars for me to test in my area.) When the speed limit changes to a lower limit, so does the Corsair. If you hit a patch where the speed limit goes up again, then so does the vehicle.
For me, it just means there’s one less thing to think about. It does not mean I can check my phone. But in my case, it means I can listen a little more intently to a podcast or audiobook, it means I can focus on other things on the road, or I can engage in conversation. Less busy work, but driving. I hope autonomous driving is like this when it finally arrives where the idea is to not turn cars into robots but to remove the tediousness of driving and make it more enjoyable. Normally, adaptive cruise adjusts the car based on the speed of traffic, but I was practically alone on a highway and the car still adjusted automatically. For the win!
I liked how easy it is to access the intelligent controls. There’s a button in the center console where you can access the feature and adjust the tolerance. Sometimes, these controls are in the screen above the steering wheel or they are closer to the actual cruise control buttons on the steering column. I find the settings on some cars to be confusing. Not with the Corsair.
I can’t wait to see what else car companies have up their sleeve for me in the coming weeks. If the intelligent cruise is any sign, it’s going to be a smooth ride.