Goodbye MKX, hello Nautilus—the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus midsized luxury crossover has just surfaced ahead of its official debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Cue the Captain Nemo references.
It’s amazing how something as simple as a new name and grille can make all of the difference in the world. The new signature grille looks more fitting for a Lincoln than the outgoing MKX’s wing-shaped design.
Under the hood, the Nautilus is available with a 2.7-liter turbo six-cylinder engine that delivers 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque or a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that offers 245 horsepower.
Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with start-stop tech (that we hope is easy to defeat). The Nautilus will also be available in either front drive or with an all-wheel drive system that decouples when traction to the rear wheels isn’t necessary.
“We thought it was time to update it, to give it the new signature Lincoln look that fits in the family,” said Lincoln president Kumar Galhotra during an event revealing the Nautilus on the eve of the L.A. show.
“It also has a lot of new driving experiences delivered through new technology, designed to make your drive as effortless as possible.”
Why the name change? We asked Randy Parker, Lincoln’s global head of marketing and sales, about it at the event. “Big, big change on this product, significant freshening on the front end, it was a really significant update, so we thought it was appropriate to make the change at that point,” said Parker, who indicated that the days of MK-badged Lincolns are numbered.
“It’s harder for people to sort out numbers and letters… There’s the old adage that the name doesn’t make the car, the car makes the name, but it is easier to remember names,” Parker added. We couldn’t agree more.
Inside the haute hauler is a sleek console with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a leather-wrapped and hand-stitched steering wheel, and Lincoln’s by-wire, push-button gear shift located on the center stack that it has been rolling out across the lineup. The setup frees up space in the center console.
The Nautilus seats up to five passengers and offers special lighting effects that illuminate as you approach the vehicle and it has been fitted with acoustic side glass to reduce wind noise for rear occupants.
There’s also a concealed wireless charging pad and a touch screen for the SYNC 3 infotainment system that’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay friendly.
Optional Ultra Comfort seats can be adjusted up to 22 ways and come with a lumbar massage feature to reduce fatigue, and heated and cooled seats are available on the Reserve model.
You also have your choice of optional 13-speaker or 19-speaker Revel audio systems—go big or go home, right? We think you know which one to get.
New tech goodies include an adaptive cruise system that’s designed to work in stop-and-go traffic. It also pairs with a lane-centering feature that utilizes the crossover’s radar and cameras to help keep the Nautilus on the straight and narrow.
Another notable safety feature is evasive steer assist, which according to Lincoln: “uses radar and cameras to analyze the gap between slower-moving and stationary vehicles on the road ahead to lessen the risk of a rear-end collision. If the risk is high and there is insufficient space to avoid a collision by braking, the system helps the driver steer around the vehicle.”
Pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system, active park assist, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping aid, and an auto-hold are also available.
To properly upgrade your new Nautilus, there are three Lincoln Black Label themes to also choose from: Chalet, Thoroughbred, and Gala.
Chalet features Espresso and Alpine Venetian leathers and deep Silverwood stitching. Thoroughbred offers Venetian leathers too, Chilean Maple wood, Alcantara accents, and Jet Black trim. And the all-new Gala features Carmine leather seats with Onyx leather trim, and an Alcantara headliner.
Lincoln offers standard pickup and delivery service for the new Nautilus and there’s a special Lincoln Way app that allows owners to start, lock, unlock, and locate their ride as well as schedule remote starts to heat or cool your SUV. Another must.
Pricing has not been announced for the new 2019 Lincoln Nautilus, but last year’s MKX’s started at $38,260 and went up to $45,560 depending on the trim level.
The Nautilus will be surfacing at dealerships in the spring.