2019 Lincoln Nautilus

By October 9, 2019

The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus is a mid-size crossover SUV that once wore the MKX badge. It’s derived from the Ford Edge, sharing that mainstream model’s running gear but adding plenty of style, contemporary technology, and luxury trim. 

New for 2019, Nautilus adopts a more handsome front end and more lush cabin than its MKX predecessor.

Four trim levels are offered: Standard, Select, Reserve, and Black Label. The latter can have one of three designer themes: Gala, Chalet, or Thoroughbred.

Nautilus buyers can select either a turbo-4 or a twin-turbo V-6 engine, with front- or all-wheel drive. Standard on all models, the 2.0-liter turbo-4 generates 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, driving a new 8-speed automatic transmission with pushbutton gear selection.

Power-seekers can gravitate toward the optional 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6, producing 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet. Taking the V-6 reduces 0-60 mph acceleration by a couple of seconds.

Crash-test results have been impressive. The NHTSA gave the Nautilus a trio of five-star ratings: overall and for both frontal and side impacts. The IIHS gave Nautilus top “Good” ratings in all crash tests that were conducted.

All versions get standard forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking, along with blind-spot monitors and active lane control. Additional technical features are grouped into a Co-Pilot 360 package, including steering assist and adaptive cruise control with stop/go functionality.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $995 destination charge.

Standard ($40,340 with front-drive, $42,835 with all-wheel drive) comes with the 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine, 10-way heated power front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, 11-speaker audio, dual-zone automatic climate control, active noise control, pushbutton shift, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, hands-free power liftgate, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Sync3 infotainment includes Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.

Select ($44,545 with FWD, $47,040 with AWD) adds navigation, leather upholstery, a power tilt/telescopic steering column, ambient lighting, machined 18-inch wheels, and wireless charging pad.

Reserve ($48,875 with FWD, $51,370 with AWD) adds an adaptive suspension, 20-inch wheels, Revel 13-speaker audio, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, remote start, and heated/ventilated front seats.

Black Label ($56,895 with FWD, $59,390 with AWD) gets 21-inch wheels, premium leather, 19-speaker Revel audio, full LED headlights with dynamic bending, Alcantara headliner, and choice of three color-coordinated designer themes.

Exterior

To create the long, low-profile Nautilus, Lincoln designers basically reskinned the successful MKX, giving it a handsomely updated body.  New front and rear end looks appear to be inspired by Lincoln’s most recently redesigned models – the revived Continental sedan and full-size Navigator SUV.

A prominent rectangular grille displays a highly chromed pattern, similar to the company’s larger models. Shapely headlights differ little from those used on the Continental, but look even more appropriate on the Nautilus. Slim turn signals resemble a cat’s whiskers. Little has changed at the rear, retaining the MKX’s attractive appearance.

Interior

The Nautilus cabin features new and improved materials in an attractive design. Base models are upholstered with synthetic leather, but other trim levels get genuine leather. Black Label trim can have one of three enticing designer themes: deep red Gala, black Chalet, or chestnut-trimmed Thoroughbred.

Five adults fit relatively easily, with ample head clearance and legroom. Tall drivers might have trouble placing the adjustable-height seat and tilt/telescopic steering column in an ideal position, though. Base and Select versions have 10-way power adjustment for the heated front seats. Lumbar adjustment and a driver’s memory are included, too. 

Reserve and Black Label models upgrade to 22-way heated/cooled seats with inflatable bladders for peak comfort on all-day journeys.

Within the wide cabin, rear seats can hold three adults, but bottom cushions are flat and a tad short. Leg room reaches 39.6 inches.

Cargo space and small-item storage are impressive. The Nautilus’ rear seatbacks fold totally flat, expanding cargo volume to 68.8 cubic feet, versus 37.2 cubic feet with seatbacks upright.

Driving Impressions

Swift, near-silent, and balanced, the Nautilus seems appropriately named. The base turbo-4 engine feels linear and resolute at non-urban speeds. Still, it’s outpointed by the twin-turbo V-6 offered in upper trim levels. Six-cylinder torque is sufficient to yield brisk passing, then ease back for relaxed cruising.

Gear changes are nearly invisible with the new 8-speed automatic. Whether cruising on the Interstate or maneuvering along mountain roads, the transmission is adept at selecting the best gear.

A coddling ride enhances the sense of luxury, as Lincoln’s mid-size crossover smothers pavement bumps, then settles down promptly. Black Label models include an adaptive steering setup that boosts assist at parking-lot speeds, but eases it back as road speed rises.

Drivetrain sounds barely exist. Both engines effectively tune out engine noise and vibration.

Fuel economy differs little between the two engines. With front-drive, the turbo-4 is EPA-rated at 21/26 mpg City/Highway, 23 Combined. All-wheel drive reduces the estimate to 20/25/22 mpg.

Front-drive V-6 versions are EPA-rated at 20/27 mpg City/Highway, 22 Combined. All-wheel drive is estimated at 19/26/21 mpg. Premium gasoline is recommended.

Final Word

The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus reaches deeply into luxury territory. Each Nautilus gets welcome active-safety features in addition to considerable standard equipment. The top-end Black Label edition holds a bounty of luxury-oriented attractions, led by its choice of lovely designer themes.

 

Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.