The 2022 Lincoln Nautilus is a five-seat luxury SUV with a spacious cab, a smooth ride, and a choice between turbocharged engines.
The Nautilus carries into 2022 essentially unchanged aside from some minor optional equipment shuffling after bowing for the 2019 model year when it replaced the MKX in the Lincoln lineup.
Offered in Standard, Reserve, and Black Label trim levels, the Nautilus can be powered by either a 250-horsepower turbo-4 or a 335-hp turbo V-6 paired with either front- or all-wheel drive. The Nautilus bypasses sportiness in favor of hushed comfort.
Front-wheel-drive models are rated at 21 mpg city, 26 highway, 23 combined, while all-wheel drive slides in at 22 mpg combined. The more powerful twin-turbo V-6 notches those ratings down to 19/25/21 mpg.
Between its five-star overall rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, the Nautilus has plenty of safety medals to wear on its jacket. Standard safety tech includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors. Adaptive cruise control, automatic park assist, and a surround-view camera system can be added depending on the trim level.
At $43,595, the Nautilus Standard with front-wheel-drive wears synthetic leather upholstery, power heated front seats, a 13.2-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a power tailgate, adaptive LED headlights, and 18-inch wheels. Options include navigation and a power-telescoping steering wheel.
Step up to the $49,995 Reserve trim level ($52,490 for all-wheel drive) for real leather, heated and cooled front seats, wireless smartphone charging, navigation, and a panoramic sunroof. An option package bundles a hands-free power tailgate and 13-speaker Revel audio.
Topping the range is the $66,185 Nautilus Black Label, which comes with a 19-speaker version of the Revel audio system, 22-way power-adjustable seats, and 21-inch wheels, as well as a choice of interior themes. Black Label models also come with complimentary car washes, service pickup and delivery, and a few other nice perks.
A styling update last year gave the Nautilus a fresh face (and interior, but more on that in a moment). Its rectangular grille is bracketed by LED headlights, slim running lights, and trim fog lights.
Wheel sizes vary by trim level, but stretch from a big 18 inches all the way up to 21 inches.
Make no mistake, though. The Nautilus is curvy but not chubby; it is an SUV that makes no effort to prioritize muscularity.
Inside, the Nautilus wears a horizontally designed dash with a huge 13.2-inch touchscreen at the center flanked by push buttons. Especially in Black Label trim, the Nautilus is decidedly decadent when it comes to materials with soft leathers and gorgeous woods found throughout.
The Nautilus is on the big side for a five-seat SUV, with ample space for occupants in all outboard positions. Its front seats offer between a reasonable 10 and a downright plus 22 ways of adjustment, and they can be covered in the softest of leather hides.
Rear-seat riders don’t want for space, either. Cargo-wise, the 37.2 cubic-foot capacity grows to nearly 69 cubes with the second row flopped forward.
The base Nautilus serves up 250 hp from its 2.0-liter turbo-4, which is augmented by 280 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough power to slip through traffic with ease and hit 60 mph from a stop in the seven-second range.
The optional 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 amps that up to 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, good enough for a second or so off that 60 mph zip plus more confident passing from any speed.
An 8-speed automatic does duty in all versions. The sport-shift mode keeps the gearbox in gear for a little longer, and a properly-equipped model can lug up to 3,500 pounds.
No matter the engine, road and wind noise is kept to a muted background hum. Ride quality is similarly plush, but not sporty. This is a comfortable, if somewhat numb, SUV.
If racy handling and a firm ride aren’t your thing, the Lincoln Nautilus serves up a plush, comfortable, and composed driving experience with good acceleration and an ultra-comfortable interior.
–by Andrew Ganz, with driving impressions from The Car Connection