2021 Lincoln Nautilus
- Winter-Spring 2021
What to expect
- Refreshed for 2021, with improved cabin design and materials
- New Sync 4 infotainment system
- Part of the first Nautilus generation introduced for 2019 that is based on the second-generation MKX introduced for 2016
What is the Nautilus?
The Lincoln Nautilus, which replaced the MKX in 2019 as the midsize two-row SUV in the lineup, has been tweaked to better match the rest of Lincoln's offerings. Some changes have been made to the front fascia in the grille and headlights area, but particular attention has been paid to the interior, which offers new design elements and color schemes as well as the Sync 4 infotainment system and a 13.2-inch touchscreen.
With so many choices for midsize luxury SUVs, the heavily refreshed 2021 Lincoln Nautilus is positioning itself as not only an elegant way to run errands and seat five but also as an escape from the busy, messy outside world. A spa-car, if you will, a motorized meditation. Bring your own masseuse. Actually, don't bother — massaging seats are an option.
What's under the Nautilus' hood?
The Nautilus comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. For those requiring a bit more grunt — elegant grunt, mind you — an optional turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 offers 335 hp and 380 lb-ft. Both motors are backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission. Edmunds' test of a 2019 Nautilus with the V6 found the SUV to be pleasingly quick and smooth to drive.
How's the Nautilus' interior?
Recently, Lincoln has been at the forefront of the interior-design approach to automotive cabins. As a slightly older vehicle in the lineup, the previous Nautilus looked and felt aged inside, even against less expensive Lincolns like the Corsair. The 2021 Nautilus' dash appears lower and longer, with details that meet and blend at the door panels, accentuating the sense of space. Lincoln designers describe the aesthetic as inspired by the calming horizon of an ocean view.
There are new color combinations available for 2021 — Sandstone, a lighter neutral, and Black Ebony with "Roast" accents, which sounds like a fancy coffee drink but basically means black and deep brown. Black Label models get their own unique interior environments, which range from creamy whites to deep blues and gunmetal. The Chalet color scheme returns, while the Flight treatment (currently available on the Aviator) is a new addition for the Nautilus. Lincoln does a nice job with trims and textures, and the new interior seems to improve on both compared to last year's model.
How's the Nautilus' tech?
Sync 4 is new to the Nautilus for 2021, and it's designed to work more like a cellphone. So it should provide a familiar user experience for customers new to the interface. The Lincoln Way smartphone app now includes the ability to use a cellphone as a key, and a new charging pad and wireless Apple CayPlay and Android Auto connectivity ensure you'll never have to plug in your phone to interact with the car. Natural voice recognition and over-the-air updates round out the list of Sync 4 improvements.
On the driver's aid side of technology, the Nautilus comes standard with the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 suite of driving aids, which includes forward collision mitigation, lane departure mitigation and blind-spot monitoring. The optional Co-Pilot360 Plus package further adds a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, automatic lane-centering, and automated parallel and perpendicular parking.
What are the Nautilus' trim levels?
Trim levels remain the same for 2021: Base, Reserve and Black Label. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard as is front-wheel drive. An upgrade to the 2.7-liter V6 engine is available on the Reserve and standard on the Black Label. All-wheel drive is standard with this engine.
Previously, our team found the Nautilus to be pleasant but not up to par with its luxury competitors or Lincoln's other offerings. The redesigned interior and upgraded materials of the 2021 Nautilus may earn it the midsize luxury SUV segment's Most Improved Award.