It’s no big secret that the Lincoln MKX crossover didn’t exactly live up to expectations. What to do? Well, rethinking and rebranding are always options. Enter the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus. But there’s a lot more added substance to the Nautilus than we, and the competition, were expecting.
There are plenty of luxury SUV sales to be had these days, and Lincoln is out to get as many of them as possible. This updated 2019 Lincoln Nautilus should help that cause.
This 2-row, 5-passenger crossover, formerly known as the MKX, is mid-way through its 2nd generation, and in addition to the name change, gets styling, technology, and powertrain updates.
It’s an all turbo lineup now, with a 250-horsepower 2.0-liter I4 turbo standard; while this Ford Edge ST’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 is optional; outputting 335-horsepower and 380 lb-ft. of torque.
All-wheel-drive is available with both engines, sending power through an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Lincoln certainly made an effort to make Nautilus interior speak to true luxury. And for the most part they’ve succeeded. Materials are very nice looking. Still, the feel of things is not quite up to most of the competition, and a little reminiscent of its Ford beginnings.
Black Label makes the best of it, with one of three themes to choose from.
The Ultra Comfort Multi-contour front seats are an option worth considering if long road trips are in your plans; or if you just love being comfortable. And really, who doesn’t?
Most of us around the office here, are not fans of the dash-mounted push button gear selectors for the transmission; but we also realize traditional shifters are becoming a rarity. Speed up the response time, and perhaps we can get on board too.
This mid-cycle styling update, allowed Lincoln to incorporate their new, and we think much better looking, star mesh signature grille. And, that necessitated a complete rework of the entire front end, including all new lighting, hood, and fenders. Time and money well spent as far as we’re concerned. We like the results very much.
When behind the wheel, things are still angel-whisper quiet inside. The suspension has been revised with new bushings and dampers. While we praised the MKX’s ride quality before; road presence here in this Nautilus Black Label, didn’t feel as nice as we remembered. Perhaps it’s the suspension changes, or the Black Label’s 21-inch wheels and selectable drive modes. It just feels unsettled and jittery at times; along with twitchy steering that makes it behave more like a big full-frame utility than a nimble crossover.
No complaints at all about power delivery from the 2.7-liter. It responds immediately to any pressure on the pedal, yet delivers it’s 380 lb-ft. of torque very smoothly.
At the test track, the Nautilus sprints out of the block with excellent traction and quick power build. We hit 60 in just 6.2-seconds. That’s 3-tenths quicker than we got in the MKX, but the ¼-mile was about the same at 14.8-seconds at 92 miles-per-hour.
Despite the disconnected feel mentioned earlier, and some noteworthy body roll; there was a good amount of grip through the cones. Stability control reigned us in before we could detect noticeable amounts of either under or oversteer.
Comprehensive standard safety systems are now integrated into Lincoln’s Co-Pilot 360, including previously optional items like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping.
An all-wheel-drive V6 comes with Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 19-City, 26-Highway, and 21-Combined, but we averaged a good 23.7 miles-per-gallon on Regular.
If you can find a base model on a dealer lot, you’ll pay just $41,335 to drive off of it; your chances are much better of finding Reserve and Select trims, and of course top Black label, which starts at $57,890. All-wheel-drive is a $2,495 option regardless of trim.
Marine biologists will tell you that a Nautilus is a cephalopod that likes to spend its time deep in the ocean, scavenging for food; yet is able to be brought to the surface without suffering any ill effects from the drastic atmospheric pressure change.
Well, Lincoln has certainly raised their best seller MKX to a new level in the great sea of crossovers with the 2019 Nautilus; and despite it’s “still a little too-obvious” Ford Edge roots lying just below the surface, it will be a lot more attractive to midsize luxury utility buyers.
Engine: 2.7 liter
Torque: 380 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.8 seconds @ 92 mph
EPA: 19 mpg city / 26 mpg highway