Now available at Lincoln dealers nationwide is the new 2019 Lincoln Nautilus, a midsize, five-passenger luxury crossover that succeeds and improves on the similar MKX crossover it replaces.
The beautifully styled Nautilus starts at $40,340 (plus $995 freight) for the base front-wheel-drive Standard model with a 2.0-liter engine, and ranges as high as$61,600 for the Black Label model with all-wheel drive and a twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6.
In between are the Select, starting at $44,545; Reserve, beginning at $48,875; and Black Label front-drive, starting at $56,895.
Our tester was the Black Label “Chalet theme” version with all-wheel-drive ($2,495extra) and V-6 engine ($2,070), with the Rhapsody Blue exterior color and Cashmere Venetian leather interior. With no options, its total sticker price was $61,600 ($63,100 minus $1,500 incentives).
Nautilus features a new signature Lincoln grille, a choice of turbocharged gasoline engines, and a variety of new driver-assist and safety technologies, including one that’s becoming popular this year throughout the auto industry – a lane-centering feature.
But for fans of the MKX, the good news is that the Nautilus carries over much of its predecessor.
New and standard on all 2019 Nautilus models is the Lincoln Co-Pilot 360 system, which brings a suite of advanced driver-assist features previously available only as separate options, Lincoln says.
Engine choices include the new standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque, or the optional 2.7-liter Eco Boost turbo V-6 with 335 horsepower and 380 foot-pounds of torque, which was already offered in the 2018 MKX.
Either engine comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission with a pushbutton gearshift. The engines also include automatic stop-start, which saves fuel by shutting off the engine while the vehicle is stopped in traffic.
Other changes include interior and exterior updates, along with upgrades to the MKX’s already outstanding ride comfort and road handling. The Nautilus provides a smoother, more connected drive, and even more standard ownership services.
Adding to the luxury appeal of the Nautilus is the new Gala theme, which Lincoln says takes its cues from the world of haute couture at New York’s Met Gala. This is one of three available Black Label “themes,” which add nothing to the price. We had the Chalet theme on our tester; the third one is the Thoroughbred theme.
The Nautilus is one of two new Lincoln crossovers. The other is the coming all-new 2020 Aviator, reviving the name of a similarly sized model the brand produced from 2003-05, based on the Ford Explorer.
This new Aviator will be based on the same chassis as the sixth generation of the Explorer. It will have standard rear-wheel drive, three rows of seating, and available all-wheel drive.
Also in the Lincoln lineup for 2019 are the recently re-introduced Continental sedan, the Navigator full-size SUV, the redesigned MKC compact crossover, the large MKT crossover, and the stylish midsize MKZ sedan, which also comes in a hybrid version.
Nautilus, like the MKX, is expected to continue to bring new, younger customers to the Lincoln brand. The MKX has been doing just that, bringing buyers from other luxury brands, including Cadillac and Lexus.
The Nautilus continues with the exterior design of the MKX, but there is a selection of new wheel designs to help consumers personalize their purchases. Among Nautilus features is Lincoln’s “embrace lighting,” which greets the approaching driver and passengers first from the outside, then from the cabin.
A spacious interior is designed for comfort and convenience, and serves as a sanctuary from the outside world, Lincoln says.
The MKX design is improved upon with new acoustic side glass designed to reduce wind noise for rear passengers. Other new technology helps reduce road noise, even at interstate highway speeds.
Nautilus has a spacious interior, with plenty of knee and legroom even for rear passengers. I sat in the back seat for a couple of short trips, and felt like I was riding in a luxury car-service vehicle.
Available Ultra Comfort front seats have 22-way power adjustments that include features such as lumbar massage, which Lincoln says was developed with input from orthopedic surgeons. It’s designed to reduce fatigue, especially on long trips.
Standard is a leather-wrapped steering wheel with hand stitching. Up front in our Black Label there were heated and cooled seats, and the rear seats were heated. Our driver’s seat had 22-way power adjustment.
For audiophiles, there are premium Revel audio systems available with either 13 or 19 speakers. Our Black Label model had the 19-speaker version. The center console included a concealed wireless charging pad for our smartphones.
There is a large center touch screen for the audio and navigation systems, and Lincoln’s SYNC 3 is standard, with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility. The instrument panel includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, which is driver configurable.
Other new driver-assist technologies include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go. The lane-centering system uses a combination of radar and cameras to help keep the vehicle in position on the road.
Also available is “evasive steer assist,” which uses the same radar and camera setup to analyze the gap between slower-moving and stationary vehicles on the road ahead to lessen the risk of a rear-end collision, Lincoln says. This system also will help steer the vehicle around the obstructing vehicle ahead, when there is insufficient time to stop to avoid a collision.
Among other safety technologies are Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, a Blind Spot Information System, active park assist, lane-departure warning, and an auto-hold feature, which maintains the brake when necessary.
The ride is exceptionally smooth and quiet, even at interstate highway speeds, and handling is easy and sure.
There was more-than-adequate power from our vehicle’s twin-turbo V-6, with virtually no hesitation from turbo lag when quick acceleration was needed.
EPA fuel-economy estimates are 21 mpg city/26 highway/23 combined for the Nautilus with the base engine and front drive, 20/25/22 with the 2.0-liter and AWD; 20/27/22with the V-6 and front drive; and 19/26/21 with the V-6 and AWD.
The Lincoln Black Label package of features and accessories helps consumers configure the vehicle to their own needs. In addition, there is a no-extra-cost group of Black Label member features, including a four-year/50,000-mile Premium Maintenance Plan, remote service pickup and return, anytime car washes, annual detailing, and more.
The package: Midsize, five-passenger, turbocharged inline four-cylinder or V-6 powered, front- or all-wheel-drive, five-door crossover utility vehicle.
Highlights: Lincoln’s former MDX midsize crossover got a makeover and a new name, Nautilus, for 2019, along with new standard driver-assist technology and a new turbo four-cylinder base engine. It’s a competent, quiet, elegant family vehicle with lots of standard premium features and a long list of options.
Negatives: No third row of seating offered.
Length: 190.0 inches.
Engines: 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, turbocharged, gasoline; 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 (gasoline).
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Power/torque: 250 HP./280foot-pounds (I-4); 335 HP./380 foot-pounds (V-6).
Brakes, front/rear:Disc/disc, antilock.
Side air bags: Front seat-mounted; roof-mounted side-curtain, both rows.
Electronic stability control: Standard.
Base curb weight range: 4,142-4,305 pounds.
Cargo capacity: 37.2 cubic feet (behind rear seat); 68.8 cubic feet (rear seat folded).
Trailer-towing capacity: 3,500 pounds.
Fuel capacity: 18 gallons.
EPA fuel economy: 21 city/26 highway/23 combined (I-4, front drive); 20/25/22 (I-4, AWD); 20/27/22 (V-6, front drive); 19/26/21 (V-6, AWD).
Major competitors: Lexus RX 350, Acura MDX, Audi Q5, Cadillac XT5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Range Rover Evoque, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Volvo XC90.
Base prices: $40,340-$61,600 plus $995 freight.
Price as tested: $61,600, including freight and incentives (AWD Black Label V-6).
On the Road rating: 9.3 (of a possible 10).
Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.