In Lincoln’s present all-SUV household, the mid-sized Nautilus occupies what could be considered the middle-child place: a obscure center floor the place it’s overshadowed by its higher-wattage siblings. The Navigator is the style-setting headline act, the Aviator is its much-ballyhooed follow-up, and the fresh-faced child Corsair matches in with the posh realm’s hottest section. The Nautilus, in the meantime, has been hanging out since 2019, when it debuted not as a brand new mannequin however as a rework of the previous MKX. Which means it dates again to 2016. This 12 months, Lincoln provides some extra consideration to its mid-size, two-row entry, however in basic middle-child style, that focus would not prolong past what was actually needed.
To that finish, the 2021 replace focuses virtually wholly on the inside. (Outdoors, there are new paint colours and a redesigned entrance bumper. Mechanicals are unchanged.) A redesigned sprint adopts the horizontal architectural theme used elsewhere within the lineup, though this inside nonetheless trails far behind the Navigator and the Aviator for wow issue. Nor are the design and supplies equal to the newest from Mercedes-Benz or Volvo. At the least Lincoln continues to be extra adventurous than the norm with colours, although that’s totally on the top-spec Black Label with its two themed interiors: Chalet and Flight. Patrons who draw back from vibrant hues and like the chilly embrace of a Germanic grayscale palette will not be ignored, nonetheless, as evidenced by my Asher Grey-on-Ebony Nautilus Reserve check car.
On this digital world, no self-respecting luxurious automotive may be and not using a massive display screen, and for 2021 the Nautilus will get one. The centerpiece of the redesigned dashboard is a brand new horizontally oriented touchscreen that measures 13.2 inches, which is half-again as massive because the mere 8-incher it replaces. It’s the largest within the Lincoln lineup and is normal on all trims.
The system runs SYNC 4 and has the flexibility to simply accept over-the-air updates. The brilliant, crisp display screen can show two features directly, equivalent to exhibiting the map within the bigger discipline and music data within the smaller one. Impressively, it will possibly concurrently show data from two totally different sources. As an example, the audio may be from automotive’s satellite tv for pc radio whereas the map is the Waze app on a paired smartphone. Smartphone mirroring, by the best way, is wi-fi, and wi-fi charging is included on the 2 higher trims.
A row of shortcut keys on the backside of the display screen lets you soar to main features, and there’s a padded ledge at its base that gives a perch on which to relaxation your hand. Fortunately, Lincoln has not banished bodily controls in a quest for modernity. A pair of knurled knobs management quantity and tuning, with buttons in between for audio supply, search up/down, and display screen on/off. A financial institution of buttons under that operates the local weather management system, with an enormous knob for fan velocity. Contact the center of that knob to name up additional local weather controls on the display screen.
Considerably surprisingly, Lincoln didn’t take this chance to make the “Excellent Place” seats present in all its different fashions accessible within the Nautilus. Whereas these seats have a formidable vary of adjustability together with separate under-thigh assist for the left and proper legs, they’re additionally thinly and firmly padded. Each physique is totally different, however I discovered the non-obligatory 22-way driver’s seat on this Nautilus to be extra comfy. Its vary of changes contains three lumbar sections, extendable under-thigh assist, and an articulating backrest. There are additionally a number of therapeutic massage applications. The upgraded seats include heating and cooling; normal is a 10-way energy driver’s seat with heating solely.
Shifting to the rear seat, one finds loads of knee- and legroom, however the panoramic sunroof reduces headroom barely, which can be a difficulty for passengers a lot over six ft. A virtually flat flooring makes the bench viable for three-across seating. A blended pair of USB ports is readily available, and heated rear seats can be found.
Behind the rear seats, there’s 37.2 cubic ft of bags area within the ample cargo maintain, and 68.8 cubic ft with the seatbacks folded. These figures put the Lincoln’s baggage area towards the bigger finish of the spectrum, topping the Lexus RX and the arch-rival Cadillac XT5. In-cabin stowage is kind of good. The middle console has a number of cubbies, one on the highest stage with USB-C and USB-A ports inside, a big open one beneath, one other at mid-level, plus the standard coated bin beneath the middle armrest.
Switching to the enterprise finish of the Nautilus, there are not any modifications within the engine room, the place patrons select both a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder or a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6. The two.0-liter serves up 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque and may be had with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The two.7-liter V6 spins out 335 hp and 380 lb-ft and is AWD solely. Each engines are paired with an eight-speed automated transmission, now operated by Lincoln’s row of horizontal “piano key” buttons.
My check instance had the two.7, and its 380 lb-ft of torque places some spring on this Lincoln’s step. There’s loads of grunt on faucet to go charging out into busy, fast-moving site visitors or to execute a fast two-lane move. If you happen to get on it with the wheel turned, you may get a squirm of torque steer earlier than the engine’s torque is redirected to the rear. Though lots potent, this engine isn’t overtly sporty — that’s not what Lincoln goes for right here. It’s largely silent with a muted growl solely beneath heavy throttle. On the town, the accelerator is just a little sensitive, however the auto stop-start system is unobtrusive.
EPA estimates for the V6 engine are at most simply 1 mpg under these of the four-cylinder, with the V6 at 19 mpg metropolis, 25 mpg freeway and 21 mpg mixed and the AWD 2.0-liter at 20/25/22 mpg. The front-drive 2.0-liter is available in at 23/21/26 mpg. These estimates make the four-cylinder thriftier than varied rivals, together with the Volvo XC60 and four-cylinder Cadillac XT5. The V6 mainly matches the RX 350 and V6-powered XT5 regardless of being much more highly effective. It additionally did higher than anticipated in the true world: over 150 miles, I averaged 24 mpg in largely suburban driving.
Winter-thaw potholes have blossomed right here in New York, which gave the Nautilus suspension a exercise. Whereas the dampers and bushings efficiently spherical off the impacts, disturbances do nonetheless get by means of to the cabin, and at instances there may be additionally some side-to-side rocking movement. My check automotive was outfitted with adaptive damping with three modes: Consolation, Regular, and Sport. The variations between them will not be that pronounced, and surprisingly the Sport mode’s superior physique management actually didn’t come at a value of any extra harshness. On the similar time, Sport doesn’t work an entire lot of magic when the street turns twisty. Powering by means of some winding rural roads, the Lincoln in any mode proves to be extra of a relaxed cruiser than an lively charger. The steering, although, is pleasantly if artificially weighted.
The Nautilus comes with a aggressive suite of ordinary active-safety options (Lincoln Co-Pilot360) that features forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping help, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The accessible Co-Pilot360 Plus provides Enhanced Lively Park Help, Evasive Steering Help, a 360-degree-view digicam with a entrance sensing system, and adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go functionality in addition to lane-centering.
The lane-centering characteristic, which requires a hand on the wheel, works properly supplied the freeway is clearly marked. The multi-view digicam contains not only a top-down view but additionally a forward-facing cam for peeking out into site visitors or nosing in shut when parking. The digicam is simple to summon with a devoted button, however the picture is disappointingly grainy.
Serving to the Nautilus’s perceived modernity is Lincoln’s Telephone As A Key characteristic, which as its identify implies permits house owners to go away their key fob at house and use a paired smartphone to unlock and begin their automotive. This characteristic is non-obligatory on the Reserve and normal on the Black Label.
The Nautilus opens at $42,935 (together with vacation spot) for the Commonplace mannequin. The mid-range Reserve begins at $50,405. The highest Black Label trim is $66,085. In addition to its extra tools, the Black Label additionally brings proprietor perks equivalent to free upkeep for 4 years/50,000 miles, pick-up and supply for service, and free carwashes. My absolutely loaded Reserve rang in at $66,890, and the key culprits operating up the tab had been the V6 engine and AWD for $5,195 (including AWD to the two.0-liter prices $2,500); a $3,420 bundle that introduced Co-Pilot360 Plus, 20-inch wheels, and Telephone As A Key; a $1,695 Monochromatic bundle of black exterior design components; and the Extremely Consolation 22-way entrance seats for $1,500. The Reserve in all probability makes probably the most sense on this lineup, though dialing again the add-ons right here would make a greater case for the Nautilus. Even the swell turbo V6 hardly appears important in a relaxed cruiser like this.
“Nautilus” was the identify given to the U.S. Navy’s first nuclear-powered submarine, and whereas this cozy and quiet Lincoln isn’t as stealthy as that undersea vessel, it doesn’t precisely demand consideration. The modifications to the 2021 Nautilus are welcome — maybe even important, given the centrality of display screen interactions in our driving lives. Nonetheless, this mannequin’s persona, and its place vis-a-vis Lincoln’s household dynamic, stay intact.