2020 Lincoln Nautilus

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Updated: June 15, 2020

2020 Lincoln Nautilus

The 2020 Lincoln Nautilus is a sharp-looking crossover that once wore the MKX moniker. The 2020 Nautilus is a comfortable, cosseting mid-size crossover with plenty of room for five passengers.

For 2020, the Nautilus sees just a few minor changes. The most affordable Select trim has been ditched, and there’s expanded availability of Lincoln’s suite of active-safety features.

Most Nautilus models will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-4 making 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. An 8-speed automatic directs power to the front-wheels, though all-wheel drive is optional.

For those seeking more power, a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 is available. That engine makes a stout 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is required with this engine. The 8-speed automatic again handles shifting duties.

Sticking with the base turbo-4 returns EPA-estimated gas mileage of 21 mpg city, 26 highway, 23 combined with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive drops that to 20/25/22 mpg. With standard all-wheel drive, the twin-turbo V-6 returns figures of 19/26/21 mpg.

Active-safety features remain largely optional on the Nautilus. Base models get automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control, but anything else requires purchasing a package which adds adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera system, evasive-steering assist, and active parking assist.

The NHTSA gave the Nautilus top marks for overall, frontal, and side-impact crash tests. The IIHS awarded the Lincoln its highest rating of “good” for all crash test scenarios.

Model Lineup

All prices reflect front-drive models and include all applicable destination charges.

The Nautilus range opens up with the $42,035 Standard. It includes 10-way power seats, a power rear liftgate, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic climate control, a digital gauge cluster, and 18-inch wheels.

Moving into the $49,495 Nautilus Reserve buys 22-way seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic roof, perforated leather seats, navigation, 20-inch wheels, wood trim, and more. The twin-turbo V-6 is available on this trim.

The $64,795 Nautilus Black Label trim is distinguished by its choice of three interior themes, all of which have a distinct color scheme and abundant leather, wood, and metal trim. It also gets 21-inch wheels, LED headlights, and a 19-speaker Revel audio system as standard.

Exterior

A deft reskinning has turned the old MKX into the attractive, contemporary Nautilus. The biggest update came up front, where a new front end brings the Nautilus in line with the other vehicles in Lincoln’s lineup. The new mesh grille and slim headlights have subtle Euro vibes, yet remain distinctive enough to articulate that this is a Lincoln, not an Audi. It is an attractive, distinctive front end that looks premium.

The rest of the Nautilus is no less fetching. The flowing lines along the body sides have plenty of character without looking busy, and the rear treatment mirrors the front in its tempered elegance. The best angle remains the front, though.

Interior

The Nautilus enjoys a high-class cabin that is replete with quality materials, tasteful design, and hefty switchgear. Even the synthetic leather in the base model looks and feels like premium stuff.

Without a third row, the Nautilus seats up to five. Even when holding a quintet of passengers the Nautilus is plenty spacious. Three adults fit fine in the big back seat. The seat cushions back there aren’t the most comfortable, however, being a little firm and short for our tastes.

Front-seat passengers fare better, with ample space in every direction. Heated front seats with 10-way power adjustment are standard, allowing for great adjustability and cold-weather comfort. Reserve and Black Label models get 22-way power seats that are especially comfortable and can be cooled as well as heated.

Cargo space is a strong point for the Nautilus, with 37.2 cubic feet available behind the rear seats and up to 68.8 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded. When folded they sit flush with the cargo floor, allowing for the full use of the resulting cargo area.

Driving Impressions

As a comfortable luxury vehicle, the Nautilus excels. It marries the soft feel of the vintage Lincolns with the suspension composure of today’s vehicles, and the result is an especially pleasant and comfortable ride.

Opting for the Black Label trim brings an adaptive steering setup that makes parking-lot maneuvers easier by upping the steering assist. At highway speeds it eases up.

With the 2.0-liter turbo-4, the Nautilus won’t feel much faster than those big Lincoln land yachts of yore, but it is sufficiently powerful for around town. Still, asking 250 horsepower to move 4,300 pounds is quite a task, and it can feel overburdened in extreme situations such as steep grades or short on-ramps.

The 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 is a much more potent choice, adding over 80 horsepower compared to the base engine. With a full 335 horsepower on tap, there’s no shortage of power even in sticky situations. It makes the Nautilus plenty quick both on the highway and around town.

Both engines mate to an 8-speed automatic that boasts smooth, nearly imperceptible shifts. It never struggles with which gear to pick.

In any guise the Nautilus is exceptionally quiet, smothering any and all wind, road, and powertrain noise.

Final Word

If sportiness isn’t your cup of tea, the 2020 Lincoln Nautilus is an excellent choice. Quality materials, two solid powertrain options, and its coddling ride are all major selling points for buyers who seek a relaxed, comfortable crossover with room for five people and all their cargo. We’d get a Reserve with the 2.7-liter V-6.

 

—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection