I miss actual names of vehicles these days. And while I get the German/Japanese imports continuing to embrace letters and digits, I’ve always enjoyed anticipating focus groups’ final call on what new animals or made up words they affixed to the domestic rides.
The latest example is the newly christened 2019 Lincoln Nautilus crossover—replacing the popular MKX. For those not in the know, a nautilus is a marine mollusk with a multi-chambered shell and the famous submarine in Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Lincoln’s version isn’t a sea-dwelling vessel, but it does have abundant nooks and crannies for all your stuff. So there ya go.
The newly redesigned (inside and out) Nautilus has big shoes to fill as the MKX was Lincoln’s best-selling model. After tooling around for a week, I can emphatically claim the Nautilus will continue to be a crowd-pleaser. It has the room, comfort, available power, enough thoughtful luxury appointments and concierge bonuses to lure the growing SUV/Crossover-loving consumer.
The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus tester in White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat paint looks great with the subtle dark trim and cool 20” turbine style rims. The slightly rounded silhouette is nicely balanced with a new Lincoln star-mesh grille, hood and fascia. Subtle roof rails add to rather than diminish the profile. Attractive LED headlights shine bright (auto high beams are available). The rear employs a unique single LED light strip and dual chrome exhausts. It’s a terrific combo that looks well thought out as the rounded edges look from every angle.
What’s cool is when you walk up and the Nautilus’ Embrace “recognizes” you with the lighted high-def Lincoln brand spotlighted from side view mirrors. It’s like a loyal pet welcoming you, which brought a smile every time I sauntered up.
The Nautilus offers a new 2.0 Liter Turbo in-line 4 cylinder (250 HP/280 lb.-ft torque) and a robust 2.7 Liter V-6 (335 HP/380 lb.-ft torque). The tester had the six along with the new 8-speed transmission that shifted seamlessly and Front Wheel Drive (get the AWD option for improved traction and safety). Acceleration was good enough (0-60 in 5.9 seconds) and can be quickened in Sport mode. You can select Conserve and Normal modes as well (I tended to stay in Normal). The ride is more luxury than sport which is perfectly fine for its target audience.
Handling is good for this type ride and the turning radius is pleasingly tight. Braking is solid and confident. Gas mileage is about average for this category at 20/27. I observed 22 mpg overall but 31mpg during casual highway driving. The good news is you can use regular petrol if desired and there’s no annoying gas cap to deal with.
The Nautilus’ cocoon is immediately inviting. Terracotta leather front seats are soft, supportive, heated and cooled. A massage feature ($1,500) was welcome after a long round of golf. Tasteful contrast stitching is abundant. Fit and finish are outstanding. A leather-wrapped and stitched heated steering wheel fits nicely in your mitts. And, the programmable digital dash is attractive and offers speed limit notifications but is fairly minimalist for those desiring to peek at a laundry list of display data. Sadly, there is no head-up display option available– which is surprising given all the other available luxury appointments. However, programmable ambient lighting is a nice touch.
The optional 22-way power Perfect Position adjustable front seats are simply sublime. The seats quickly heat, cool and massage too (with no time limit on the massaging!). It’s the ultimate captain’s chair. Even the 2nd row bucket seats are heated. A lovely double Panoramic Vista Roof allows as much or little sunshine as desired and can be adjusted from the back seat as well. Bright and programmable LED headlights are designed to last for the entire life of the Nautilus.
There is 37.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats (68.6 with seats folded), and the Nautilus also offers best-in-class rear legroom at 39.6 inches. Plus, there are abundant air vents to heat and cool the entire interior. It has the popular feature of waving your foot underneath the back bumper to raise the power lid hands-free.
The infotainment touchscreen is excellent, and the special coating helps prevent those unsightly fingerprints and smudges. I’d recommend the 360-degree view option ($1,750 Tech Package with Enhanced Active Park Assist and Front Park Aid Sensors) allowing you to park the Nautilus expertly into tight spaces. It’s well worth the cost.
There are two smart charging USB ports along with a handy wireless charger (for phones with the feature) in the front console. Apple Car Play and Android Auto capability swiftly syncs your phones and you can Bluetooth up to 10 devices!
One quirk is the unique gearshift buttons running vertically to the left of the infotainment screen. It takes a bit to become familiar with the arrangement yet intelligently frees up extra storage room in the center console, plus there’s welcome additional storage space underneath the console for more knickknacks.
Of course, safety is a major player with the Nautilus. The exemplary standard safety package Co-Pilot 360 includes Blind Spot Warning with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, automatic high beams and forward automatic emergency braking assist to make your travels as anxiety-free as possible. Seriously, the plethora of Nautilus’ attributes make every journey a pleasure.
Like many in this premium class, the Nautilus’ technology is abundant and terrific. The large infotainment screen is close enough for easy touchscreen access. An impeccable 14-speaker Revel audio system combined with the impressive Sync 3 technology is intuitive, crystal clear and voice activation works seamlessly to bark out desired audio selections.
The Lincoln Way app allows you to prepay for parking, unlock and start remotely, get roadside assistance and receive personalized service via the Lincoln Concierge. In fact, all Lincoln buyers get free pickup and delivery for service plus a six-month membership in Clear (12 months for Black Label buyers), which allows access to expedited security lanes at airports and elsewhere.
The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus is a very worthy upgrade to the outgoing popular MKX. It delivers most everything one wants in the premium mid-size Crossover market. It is definitely worth your time to investigate as its more than merely a memorable name.
Golf bags: At least 4
Curb appeal: New name and look is a great combo
0-60: 5.9 seconds
Gas mileage: 20/27. Observed 22 overall
Must-haves: Everything from the Reserve or Black Label packages
Warranty and Free Maintenance: 48 months/50,000 miles.
Base price: $40,340
Price as tested: $52,830
Who buys it? Premium SUV owners who want it all
Finish line: Peerless combination of high-toned excellence
Test-drive the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus at McDavid Lincoln of Plano!