By Veeno Dewan
For the storied Lincoln brand, its biggest seller has been the MKX midsize crossover, that was renamed Nautilus in 2019. Exterior wise, the Nautilus features the wonderful chrome mesh nose — composed of tiny Lincoln shaped logos as found on the Navigator and Continental, which makes it look very upmarket. The body has a sinewy lean elegance with a sharp character line that finishes in a smartly styled rear end. There are the trademark horizontal light bars and squared-off exhaust tips. The optional 22-inch multi-vaned wheels give the Nautilus a very polished, expensive look.
Changes for 2021 include interior updates with a new dashboard design, and a new infotainment system with a larger 13.2-inch screen, and the introduction of the Sync 4 infotainment system with more ease of use and better connectivity. The new 13.2-inch horizontal centre stack screen is the largest available across the Lincoln brand. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and quicker over-the-air updates are also novel. Of note is Lincolns Phone as A Key technology, now available across the entire 2021 Lincoln lineup, activated through the Lincoln Way app. The Phone app allows drivers to start and drive their vehicle using their compatible smartphone — no traditional key is necessary. Exterior wise, the lower front fascia also gets a new design and there are some new exterior colors.
The Nautilus comes with front- or all-wheel drive, with a choice of two turbocharged engines, and in Standard, Reserve, or Black Label trims. The new Nautilus comes standard with Lincoln Co-Pilot360 and available Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus, which features a 360-degree camera with a front sensing system, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane-centering technology. There is also Distance Alert/Distance Indication, and enhanced Active Park Assist with Evasive Steering Assist.
Interior wise, Lincoln revised the seats, including their height and track, to offer more rear-seat headroom and legroom. The rear seats also fold flat with the press of a button. The base 3.7-litre V6 from the MKX is gone, now replaced by a new turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that makes 250 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 10.7 L/100 kilometres for this engine. There is a carryover optional engine, a twin-turbo 2.7L V6 that makes 335 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines are teamed with Lincolns first-ever eight-speed automatic transmission. All models use an all-wheel drive system that is skewed to FWD but can send up to 100 percent of power to the rear wheels in certain driving conditions.
Pricing for our 2021 Nautilus AWD Reserve started at $56,000 with standard fare including such features as blind-spot monitoring, auto-dimming mirrors, wireless charging, GPS navigation, LED headlamps, and heated ten-way power-adjustable seats. There is also as- standard leather, navigation, adaptive damping, blind spot detection, 13.2-inch digital instrument cluster, heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, heated second-row seats and 20-inch wheels were also included. Options included the: $4,000 Equipment Group 201A comprising: Lincoln CO-PILOT360 Plus, active park assist, front park aid sensors and the 360-degree camera and active lane centering system. Also added was the Luxury Ultimate package and more. Final pricing ended up at $73,475.
Safety technology includes pre-collision assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, park assist, and lane centering. The new evasive steer assist uses cameras and radar to gauge the potential of a rear-end collision and applies more aggressive steering to avoid a crash. If the driver does not initiate evasive steering, the Nautilus will apply emergency braking. One of the most noticeable changes is the transmission gear selector, that’s now operated by push buttons alongside the infotainment system. The optional 2.7L V6 GTDI engine as fitted to our tester is the weapon of choice with its extra horsepower and torque. Even on the big wheels, the ride is impressively quiet and compliant. On the highway, there is very little intrusion of wind and road noise. The adaptive suspension includes pothole mitigation, — a super-fast reacting technology that adjusts damping in milliseconds.
To sum up, the 2021 Nautilus is an impressively executed premium SUV. Downsides are few. The Nautilus is a handsome, roomy, stylish, and comfortable drive. As a measure of how serious Lincoln is about competing with the major players in this sector, Lincoln has a concierge loaner service, where dealerships will pick up your Lincoln give you a loaner and then return your vehicle when it’s serviced. If you are looking for a premium understated luxury SUV – look no
2021 Lincoln Nautilus AWD Reserve priced from $56,000. Price as tested with options – $73,475. Website: Linclon.ca,