New name, same welcome experience
To the casual observer, it may appear Lincoln has deep sixed most of its old lineup. In a way this is true – the company is tying in the introduction of redesigned models with fresh nomenclature revolving around nautical and aeronautical themes. A perfect example of this is the new Nautilus, formerly known as the MKX.
Teased at last year’s LA Auto show, it was only appropriate that the fall media drive DARPAN attended took place in sunny Santa Barbara. No, there isn’t much resemblance here to the outgoing luxury mid-size crossover. The old face of the brand, the split wing grille, is out, and the mesh repeating star grille is in, as seen on the Continental, Navigator and others.
Like every Lincoln, the Nautilus is all about providing a welcoming experience to drivers. Approach with key fob in hand (or pocket/purse) and the exterior lamps gently illuminate, and a puddle light shines outside the door to show occupants the way in. I don’t normally dwell on seats too much in premium vehicles, but the Ultra Comfort 22-way adjustable heated and cooled front seats (Reserve trim) – similar to ones I reviewed in the Navigator in the previous issue – offer support in just the right places so you don’t cramp up while sitting in traffic or during a long road trip.
The rest of the interior is quite clean and streamlined, the finely crafted aluminum speaker grills and two-tone leather interior lending a visual pop. To be completely honest I don’t love the push-button transmission that Lincoln has adopted for some time now because operation simply doesn’t feel as smooth as a conventional gearshift, nor do I find it particularly pleasing aesthetically.
The huge infotainment display however is a nice touch and is fully connected with SYNC 3 and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Even my personal favourite navigation
app Waze is integrated, something not commonly seen in cars yet. A wireless charging pad is hidden in the centre console cubby to top up compatible smartphones on the go.
Forced induction is the name of the game under the hood, customers being able to choose from two different flavours: a single turbo 2.0- litre four cylinder, and a twin-turbocharged 2.7-litre V6. The former generates 250 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, the latter 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft. Both are mated to an eight-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, and in Canada, all-wheel drive is standard.
Piloting the Nautilus was a pleasant experience, the SUV staying composed in various driving environments and keeping most of the road noise out. Equipped with Lincoln CoPilot360, a suite of cameras and radar-based safety and semi automonous technologies, the system can detect oncoming vehicles entering blind spots and approaching from behind when backing up; apply automatic emergency braking; and evasively steer around an obstacle to avoid a potential collision.
We tested the adaptive cruise control a fair bit, which has the ability to keep the wheels in-between lane markers and also stop and go on its own. In a straight line the feature worked great – the only time my co-driver and I found it questionable is when the Nautilus went a little jerky after we took an off-ramp and the markings on the pavement abruptly disappeared. The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus is built at Ford’s Oakville plant in Ontario, and is available in Select ($50,450) and Reserve ($55,350) grades.
Motor: 2.7 litre twin-turbocharged V6
Horsepower: 335 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 380 @ 3,250 rpm
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic transmission
Layout: Front engine, all-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 11.0 L/100 km mixed city/highway (manufacturer estimate)