Wednesday, December 25, 2019


In a trend that we would very much like to see continue, Lincoln apparently is abandoning its “alphabet soup” approach to automotive nomenclature with only two such models, the MKZ and MKZ Hybrid, remaining in its present day lineup.

With the 2019 Nautilus taking over as the company’s entrant in the midsize segment, each of Lincoln’s crossovers/SUVs now has a full name and not a three-letter combination starting with “MK.” Its former incarnation as the MKX is no longer.

That isn’t to say that the Nautilus is “completely new,” however, at least not in the strictest sense. It is built on the same platform as its predecessor, but there is more to it than simply a new name.

Styling has been upgraded starting with a distinctive different front fascia and its “star mesh” grille. A number of driver-assist systems that were once available as stand-alone options such as blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, auto high beams, a lane-keeping system, and a rearview camera are now incorporated into one standard package Lincoln dubs Co-Pilot360.

A new turbocharged 4-cylinder is now the base engine with a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 that bumps up power and torque to 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque from the 4-banger’s 250/280, respectively, is also available.

An 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters for manual gear selection is the sole transmission offered. Both engines include an auto stop/start function that can be disabled by the push of a button at the top right of the center stack.

You may adjust the Nautilus to one of three driving modes (Normal, Comfort, Sport), and front-wheel drive is standard with all-wheel drive available. You’ll find it a capable enough cruiser on the highway and with enough punch to get you into the flow of city traffic. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional, though I wouldn’t be taking it out on the trail if I were you.

Fuel economy numbers are 21 miles-per-gallon city, 25 highway, and 23 combined for the 4-cylinder engine and 18/27,21 for the V6.

For 2019, the Nautilus comes in four trims starting with the base starting at $41,335 including the $995 destination and delivery charge. The Select trim ($45,540) has been discontinued for 2020 models.

At the top of the line are the Reserve ($49,870) and the Black Label ($59,390) trims. This review is based on the Black Label edition that included options that ran the total to $67,630.

The Black Label upgrades are really felt in interior enhancements like Venetian leather seats, a tech package that includes a 360-degree camera, and an Alcantara headliner. The Sync3 infotainment system includes a voice-activated navigation system, though the screen itself at 8 inches is somewhat on the small side.

Frankly, though, I would sacrifice screen size for simplification of operation.

The Black Label edition also offers you a choice of one of three design themes — Gala (featuring deeper colors), Chalet (with Silverwood appliques), and Thoroughbred (Chilean Maple wood, Alcantara accents, and jet black trim) — to highlight the Nautilus’ overall ambiance.

Interestingly, Black Label buyers also get a 12-month, complimentary CLEAR membership to help you speed through security a participating airports and major arenas nationwide. That’s twice the time that buyers of other trims get.

What I liked about the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label: The Nautilus has a sophisticated interior with infotainment features that are easy to operate. The ride is quiet and comfortable as well. The V6 has enough oomph to get you around in a sprightly manner.

What I didn't like about the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label: The display screen at the top of the center stack is on the small side from what many competitors are offering in their luxury products. Looking over the hood you get the feel it is a much larger vehicle, which is not a comfortable feeling when looking for a spot in a crowded parking lot.

Would I buy the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label? It most definitely deserves a look if you are shopping in the midsize luxury SUV market.

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