SANTA BARBARA, Calif.
ó Renamed, restyled and significantly improved, the 2019 Lincoln
Nautilus will offer loads more standard safety equipment and
significantly better fuel economy when it replaces the MKX midsize
SUV in dealerships this October.
Lincoln has struggled
for years to get buyersí attention, due to a small and somewhat
forgettable product line. The Nautilusís simple, memorable name
and new front styling consistent with the wildly popular Navigator
big SUV should help with those problems. In addition to the grille,
the Nautilusís hood, headlights and fenders with Continental-style
nameplates are new. The rest of the body is unchanged from the MKX.
The Nautilus competes
with five-passenger luxury SUVs including the Cadillac XT5 and Lexus
RX. Prices start at $40,340, below the XT5 and RX, base-priced at
$41,695 and $43,570, respectively.
I spent a day driving
Nautiluses on the hills and highways of Californiaís Central
Coast. Most of my time was at the wheel of a 335-horsepower V-6
Nautilus AWD Reserve that cost $65,120. All prices exclude
Black Label magic
The Nautilus is
quiet, smooth and luxurious ó particularly in top-of-the-line
Black Label trim. Black Label prices start at $56,895 for a
front-wheel drive mode with a 2.0-liter engine. Black Label
accounted for about 5 percent of MKX sales. Based on my time in a
$65,640 Black Label with all-wheel drive, V-6 and the Chalet color
scheme, that may rise in the Nautilus. The Chalet interior has white
leather seats perforated in a pattern reminiscent of Lincolnís
star badge, black leather on the dash and console and striped wood
The Nautilus has
plenty of passenger room, storage bins and an exceptionally
accommodating cargo compartment. Active noise cancellation,
acoustic-laminated rear side windows and other insulators keep the
interior quiet at highway speed and over rough surfaces.
The blue and gray
Nautilus Reserve I drove first was roomy and comfortable, but
immediately forgettable once I got into the Black Label Chalet.
All Nautiluses have a
touch screen that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The
infotainment system also uses AppLink to work with Waze navigation,
Amazonís Alexa and more.
Latest and greatest
The Nautilus is the
first vehicle with Lincolnís CoPilot360 package, which includes
effective safety features like pedestrian detection, automatic front
emergency braking, automatic high beams and blind spot alert.
safety and driver assistance features include adaptive cruise
control and lane centering. In combination, they take much of the
work out of highway driving.
The Nautilus is the
first Lincoln with evasive steering assist. It increases the boost
to the power steering system when the Nautilusís radar determines
a collision is imminent and the driver begins to turn the wheel. The
object is to make the car react more quickly, avoiding or reducing
the accidentís severity. Evasive steering assist works in
conjunction with the automatic emergency braking.
Happily, I didnít
experience either of those features during my drive, but the ACC and
lane centering worked unobtrusively and effectively. Owners will
almost certainly appreciate on them during long drives.
higher fuel economy
All Nautiluses have a
new eight-speed automatic transmission thatís quick, smooth and
improves fuel economy substantially.
A new 250-hp 2.0L
engine replaces the 303-hp 3.7L V-6 that was the MKXí s base power
plant. The 2.0L Nautilusís fuel economy increases 3 mpg in
combined city and highway driving with the 2.0L and eight-speed
versus the 3.7L V-6 and six-speed transmission.
An optional 335-hp
2.7L V-6 carries over from the MKX, but the eight-speed improves
that EPA rating too, adding 2 mpg testing for mpg city, highway and
In AWD models with
either engine, the engine disconnects from the prop shaft to the
rear axle when thereís no wheel spin. That reduces friction and
helps fuel economy.
The Nautilus isnít
intended to be a sporty vehicle, but the AWD 2.7L I drove had plenty
of power to climb hills and pass on highways. The steering was
linear and well-weighted. I used the sport mode for most of my
2019 Lincoln Nautilus
at a glance
Nautilus Reserve AWD
Price as tested
$65,120 (excluding destination charges)
2.7L twin-turbo V-6
Output: 335 hp @
5,500 rpm; 380 lb-ft of torque @ 3,250 rpm
economy: 18 mpg city/27 highway/21 combined. Premium gasoline.