At first glance, the 5-passenger 2019 Lincoln Nautilus might appear to be an all-new model, but it is actually last year’s MKX crossover wearing a new name, new exterior styling and an upgraded standard equipment list. The improvements go beyond visual upgrades such as Lincoln’s star mesh grille and more fluid styling, to include better safety features like Lincoln’s Co-Pilot360 that includes blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and automatic high beams. Under the hood, the old V6 is gone, replaced by a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit that pumps out less horsepower but more low-end torque. Still on the roster is the optional EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 good for 355 horsepower. Inside, the Nautilus still employs the MKX’s interior, only now with more visual styling cues, soft-touch surfaces and additional colors.
Pitted against newer rivals like the BMW X5, the Audi Q5, the Jaguar F-Pace and the Cadillac XT5, the Nautilus has its work cut out. However, for those who favor opulence over pure performance, the Nautilus’ smooth ride, quiet cabin and comfortable driving dynamics, along with its reasonable price, may be all that’s needed to ensure its success.
What’s New for 2019?
Previously known as the Lincoln MKX, the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus gets a new name, more attractive exterior styling and more standard safety and luxury features. Along with a new 2.0-liter turbocharged base engine, the Nautilus gets a new 8-speed automatic transmission and a new theme for its Black Label series called Gala. See the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus models for sale near you
What We Like
- Powerful engine choices
- Smooth ride
- Good value for the money
- Handsome new styling
What We Don’t
- No hybrid or plug-in option
- Annoying push-button gear selector
- Dated dash design
- Overly sensitive steering
Standard on the Lincoln Nautilus is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel-drive models earn an EPA estimated 21 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive brings those numbers down slightly to 20 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.
Optional is a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 good for 355 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. FWD models equipped with this engine return fuel economy figures of 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy, while AWD versions earn 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus comes in four trims: Standard, Select, Reserve and Black Label.
The Nautilus ($41,355) comes nicely equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, torque vectoring and curve control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, 18-in alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 12.3-in LCD instrument cluster display, keyless entry with push button start, a manual tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, remote start, rear privacy glass, active noise control, a push button gear selector, an 11-speaker AM/FM/CD premium audio system with SYNC 3 and Lincoln Connect 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a rearview monitor, keyless entry pad, Bluetooth, heated 10-way power front seats with power lumbar support, LED headlamp and tail lamps, a hands-free power rear lift gate, a Reverse Sensing system, as well as power-folding and heated side mirrors.
The Nautilus Select ($45,540) adds leather seating, navigation, fog lights, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, wireless charging pad, an auto-dimming driver’s side mirror, enhanced security package (lockable storage compartments, inclination sensor and enhanced valet mode) plus brown swirl walnut trim or ash color wood trim.
The Nautilus Reserve ($49,870) brings an adaptive suspension, adaptive LED headlights, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, rain sensing wipers, front windshield wiper de-icer, 13-speaker Revel audio, 20-in wheels and a panoramic moonroof.
The Nautilus Black Label ($57,890) adds a personal Lincoln liaison, complimentary extended maintenance and car washes, restaurant guide plus three interior themes: Gala, Chalet and Thoroughbred.
Optional on all trims are intelligent AWD and a rear seat DVD entertainment system. The Select trim offers an adaptive suspension, a panoramic power moonroof, a 13-speaker Revel audio system, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, rain sensing wipers and wiper de-icer. The Reserve offers 22-way adjustable front seats with Active Motion massage, adaptive cruise control, lane centering and adaptive steering. Also on the list is a 19-speaker Revel audio upgrade, full LED adaptive headlights and 21-in wheels.
The Nautilus comes with a plethora of safety systems including hill start assist, electronic traction and stability control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic high beams. Airbag coverage includes front, front side-impact, side curtain and driver’s knee.
In crash testing, the government gives the 2019 Nautilus a 5-star overall rating, earning 5-stars in the front and side-impact tests, and 4-stars in the rollover test. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Nautilus its highest rating of Good in every crash test and a Superior in the Front Crash Prevention test. However, the IIHS was not impressed with the standard headlight setup, giving it a Poor rating for its low-beam dispersion pattern.
Behind the Wheel
Editor Michael Harley spent some time behind the wheel of the new Lincoln Nautilus and came away with the following impressions:
With standard adaptive suspension and generous sound deadening, the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus is both comfortable and quiet on the open road. The suspension absorbs nearly all of the pavement breaks and bumps effortlessly, but some of the larger impacts do jolt — blame much of that harshness on the large 21-inch wheels that were on our test vehicle (the standard 18-in wheels will ride better). Yet overall, the Nautilus rides very well — passengers won’t complain. In fact, our only gripe was with the steering that is stable at speed, but overly aggressive immediately off center.
The naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 engine has been dropped for the 2019 model year, replaced with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. While the new engine (rated at 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque) is down on overall horsepower, it delivers more torque at the low end of the tachometer, which makes it feel stronger. The twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 (335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque) returns, for those that want a bit more power. Also, gone is last year’s dated 6-speed automatic transmission, which has been replaced by a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic that promises better acceleration and improved real-world fuel efficiency. FWD remains standard, with AWD on the options list.
Saving the best for last, every Lincoln comes with concierge like services that include the Lincoln Way app, which allows owners to lock, unlock, start and locate their vehicles remotely and provides information about tire pressures and fuel level. New Lincoln owners also have a short-term complementary membership to CLEAR, the company that expedites consumers through security lines. And, all Nautilus owners are offered the company’s Pickup and Delivery service that provides free retrieval and delivery of vehicles for service and maintenance — a comprehensive package that should save owners plenty of time.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Cadillac XT5 — The XT5 has a stronger standard engine but can’t match the Nautilus’ 2.7-liter twin turbo option. The Lincoln offers more cargo space, but the two are pretty similar on price, features, ride and handling.
2019 Jaguar F-Pace — The F-Pace costs considerably more than the Nautilus, with a more modern design, more athletic driving characteristics and a range of more powerful engines including a diesel.
2019 Lexus RX 350 — The RX 350 has a much better track record in the areas of reliability and resale, plus it offers the option of a hybrid powertrain. The RX also cost a bit more than the Nautilus, but holds its value far better.
2019 Audi Q5 — The Q5 offers a more luxurious interior and better fuel economy, but it’s not as roomy on the inside nor does its standard equipment list match that of the base Nautilus’. The Audi name, however, holds far more clout than does Lincoln.
For the combination of price, features and options, we’d go with the Select trim. It’s nicely equipped and can be outfitted with most of the equipment from the more expensive Reserve if you so choose. We’d also upgrade to the 2.7-liter engine given its impressive power comes at almost not cost to fuel economy. Find a Lincoln Nautilus for sale