By Winfred Cross, NNPA Newswire Contributor
Lincoln has been busy lately. It reintroduced its flagship Continental sedan a few years back to critical acclaim. The reimagined Navigator ranks with the best of the biggest SUVs available. Now there is this thing called the Nautilus that looks to take on upscale midsize crossovers and trucks.
The Nautilus replaces the MKX which was based on the Ford Edge. The basic chassis has been used with a spanking new body. Gone are most of the sharp edges of the MKX, replaced by a smoother, more buttoned-down appearance. It reminds me of a Brooks Brother’s suit. It’s not quite bespoke tailoring, but close enough. The Nautilus does not scream at you but instead exudes an upscale, luxurious look. It has the corporate face shared by the Continental and Navigator, but for me seems to make the best use of the face.
Open the doors and that tailored look continues. The interior is a masterful blend of leather, wood and metal surfaces. The look depends on what trim you choose. I would suggest either Reserve or Black Label. That’s where the interiors shine. My test vehicle was the Chalet trim level from the Black Label offerings. The silver wood inserts with the Alpine and Espresso colored leathers was really something to behold. The Venetian leather seats bore the Lincoln star pattern logo, while the steering wheel was a two-toned leather wrapped wonder. The combination looked good enough to taste.
About those seats. If Lincoln gets out the car business, it should dive head first into the luxury furniture market. These seats were fabulous. The rear seats reclined and the manual controls to do so were so easy to reach it was scary. Why aren’t all automobiles built like this? The comfort level was something special.
The front seats, as well as the rear, were perforated so they were cooled and heated. My test car had a welcome option – lumbar massage. Yep, both front seats can be adjusted in 22 different ways and can offer massages. It’s a $1,500 option but if you test it before you buy, you will buy.
May I also point out the brilliant audio system by Revel? It is one of the best original equipment sound systems I’ve ever heard. Its highs were breathtaking and the bass, while not the deepest, delivered solid, round notes.
The Nautilus comes with an eight-inch touch screen which handles most of the vehicle’s functions. I think it could be bigger, considering some of the mammoth sizes being found in lesser vehicles. Still, it’s easy to use and comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which I think make most other interfaces obsolete with their ease of use.
The Nautilus is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that makes 250 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque. That’s’ enough to move the Nautilus around town and on the highway with ease. It’s a quiet engine if not a bit bland. It replaces the MKZ’s 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V6.
My vehicle came with the upgraded 2.7-liter V6 which has twin turbos. This is really an upgrade. It’s used in the Ford F-150 and makes 335 horses and 380 pounds-feet of torque. It is in no way truck-like when used in this vehicle. The power delivery is extremely smooth and is fairly muted when pressed hard. It has a gurgle that sounds more befitting in a luxury vehicle. Combined with a buttery eight-speed transmission, the engine powers the vehicle around town with authority and dare I say with a bit of finesse.
You will not mistake the Nautilus for a sports ute, even with the optional all-wheel-drive and setting the vehicle dynamics to sport. It drives well, really well. It’s not afraid of curved roads or twists and bends. Yet, it’s still more comfortable at whisking you down the road in comfort and silence. There is a bit of wind noise but not enough to really complain.
Do I have complaints? Not many. I’m not a fan of the color blue so my car’s paint job wasn’t appealing. I’m still not crazy about the push-button gear selector, but I don’t hate it. For the money, I think the V6 should be standard.
If this hasn’t convinced you Lincoln is a major player in luxury, how it treats its Black Label customer should. These customers will never have to see the inside of a service bay for four years. Lincoln brings said customer a loner car, picks up the customer car and returns the serviced vehicle the owner. Lincoln customers get some of this perk but must live within 20 miles of the dealership. Black Label customers get a 50-mile radius.
The Nautilus’s base price in Black Label trim is $59,390. This includes a plethora of standard equipment such as the 2.7-liter twin turbo V6, Venetian leather seats, Alcantara headliner, ambient lighting, adaptive headlamps, blindspot detection, 4G modem with Wifi capability, Revel Optima audio, rearview camera, auto climate control, SYNC 3 and all-wheel-drive.
Lincoln added almost $7,000 worth of optional equipment which makes the Nautilus one decked out stud. This includes a driver’s assistance package, technology package and the Ultra Comfort front seats. Curiously, the turbo V6 is listed as an additional cost, though listed as standard for the Black Label. This brought the as-tested price to $67,630.
The Nautilus isn’t perfect, but it is a very worthy entry into the luxury fray. Lincoln wants its revamped line to get noticed and the Nautilus is certainly going to help. You may not have the same cache as the now more established brands, but if you need to be that guy (or gal) who wants something different, you have to look at the Nautilus.
Winfred Cross is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC. He studied English and journalism at NCCU and UNC-CH.
- Tailored, buttoned-down styling
- Superior front seats
- Optional twin-turbo V6
- Blue is not the car’s best colors
- Push button gear selection is odd