2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – 2019 Lincoln Nautilus: An MKX with a Pretty Face and a Prettier Name
Lincoln Commits to Real Words, Not Alphabet Soup, For Future Products
After getting a look at the updated Lincoln MKC last week, we realized there was just one outlier vehicle in the company’s lineup that was still using its split-wing grille: the MKX. That temporary oversight has been rectified with the 2019 Nautilus, Lincoln’s renamed and face-lifted midsize crossover. It also signifies a return to grace for Lincoln’s branding teams, which will replace or rename each of the company’s vehicles with an actual word, not meaningless and forgettable words.
So, what else is different, aside from the lovely name? Well, the Nautilus receives Lincoln’s new corporate face, and we think the new nose looks better here than it does on the Continental sedan. The bluff front end suits the upright, chrome grille very well, and Lincoln’s graceful, tiger-eye headlamps update the front corners nicely, turning the already-attractive MKX into the sculpted, stylish Nautilus. Also new are reshaped front fenders and a new hood; Lincoln claims all of the sheetmetal forward of the A-pillar is brand-new, and it looks good. Rear styling is also slightly altered, with a new reflector strip on the rear bumper and what look like taillights with a more modern LED lighting design.
Unlike the MKX, the Nautilus boasts an all-turbo engine lineup, with a 2.0L turbocharged I-4 serving as the base engine. With an estimated 245 hp, it makes less power than the old base mill, a 3.7L V-6 with 303 hp and 278 lb-ft. However, the turbo four should offer more torque and better fuel economy than the now-discontinued V-6, which could hit 25 mpg on the highway and 17 in the city. Helping the I-4 save fuel is a standard engine-idle stop system, as well as an eight-speed automatic that keeps it in its powerband and allows for lower engine cruising speeds.
The Nautilus’ top-spec engine is a 2.7L EcoBoost V-6, as on the outgoing MKX, but in the 2019 SUV, the 335hp, 380–lb-ft mill is paired to an eight-speed auto. That should give the Nautilus improved performance and fuel efficiency, and like the smaller engine, the V-6 will get standard engine stop-start.
Lincoln will also offer the 2019 Nautilus in three Black Label themes, the company’s ne plus ultra option packages. Like the MKX, the Nautilus will offer Chalet and Thoroughbred themes, adding a new Gala colorway to the mix. Inspired by the world of fashion (namely the New York Met Gala), this Black Label theme includes deep-red (Carmine, in Lincoln-speak) seat hides with black leather interior accents, an Alcantara headliner, and “Nouveau Armor” aluminum trim.
Improving on the MKX’s available active cruise control and pre-collision detection, the Nautilus adds optional lane-centering technology, which scans the road ahead to keep the crossover safely on the road. It should help reduce driver fatigue and prevent the annoying pinball effect that some lane departure prevention technologies can elicit. Also new on the Nautilus is an available “evasive steer assist” feature, which works with forward collision monitoring to prevent accidents. If sufficient braking force isn’t applied and a rear-end crash is imminent, the system helps the driver steer around the obstacle.
At the launch of the Nautilus, Lincoln also boasted of its long list of ownership perks, including standard service pickup and delivery for all of its vehicles sold nationwide. Furthermore, starting in 2018, new Lincoln owners will receive a free six-month membership to CLEAR, the airport security concierge (Black Label owners will get a full year of CLEAR membership).
The Nautilus, which goes on sale in summer 2018, seems to be a pleasant surprise for the Lincoln-buying public, based on the reactions it garnered at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Its lovely new styling, ancient-mariner name, and modern safety technology help renew its relevance among its competition, which includes the Cadillac XT5, Acura MDX, and Lexus RX. The MKX was already Lincoln’s bestselling vehicle in the U.S., and we see no reason why the 2019 Nautilus won’t continue that streak.