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2019 Lincoln Nautilus

2019 Lincoln Nautilus

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$30,535 — $49,083 USED
18
Photos
SUV
5 Seats
22-23 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 4 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • New name is a big improvement
  • New safety features, including evasive steering assist
  • Giant panoramic moonroof
  • Good room for backseat passengers
  • Adaptive cruise control now works in stop-and-go traffic
  • Sync 3 is fast and easy to use

The Bad

  • Interior quality lags behind other luxury SUVs
  • Center console-mounted push-button gear selector
  • Resembles Lincoln's smaller MKC SUV
2019 Lincoln Nautilus exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus
  • MKX SUV gets new name for 2019
  • Updated styling
  • Choice of two turbocharged engines
  • Eight-speed automatic, front- or all-wheel drive
  • New available safety features
  • Sync 3 multimedia system

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2019 Lincoln Nautilus Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Lincoln has ditched its alphabet soup naming technique for “exploration”-themed names. The Nautilus takes the place of the MKX, joining the new Navigator, Continental and forthcoming Aviator.

By Brian Wong

The verdict: The Lincoln Nautilus offers some compelling features, but its price tag climbs quickly, leaving interior quality behind.

Versus the competition: Luxury competitors are more refined, but the Nautilus offers a large interior and good driving experience with the V-6.

The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus has a brand-new name, but it isn’t a brand-new vehicle; “Nautilus” is a new moniker for the Lincoln MKX mid-size crossover. The new name does come with a few updates, though this is a refresh and not a full-on redesign like you’d see with most name changes. Compare the Nautilus with last year’s MKX here.

The five-seat Nautilus looks similar to the MKX. The easiest way to distinguish it from the previous model is the new horizontal grille, which replaces Lincoln’s older split grille. The Nautilus also looks a lot like the Lincoln MKC, Lincoln’s compact SUV. Even though the latter is smaller, it’s hard to tell them apart even when parked close together. There’s also a new base engine, but the optional engine carries over — and that’s a good thing.

Competition for the Nautilus is varied given its price and image (in some eyes, at least) as a near-luxury as opposed to full-luxury vehicle. The Nautilus starts at $41,335 for base models, then jumps to $45,540 for the Select, $49,870 for the Reserve and $57,890 for the Black Label, which in turn comes in three varieties: Chalet, Gala and Thoroughbred. (All prices include destination charges.) On the lower end, it competes with smaller ...

The verdict: The Lincoln Nautilus offers some compelling features, but its price tag climbs quickly, leaving interior quality behind.

Versus the competition: Luxury competitors are more refined, but the Nautilus offers a large interior and good driving experience with the V-6.

The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus has a brand-new name, but it isn’t a brand-new vehicle; “Nautilus” is a new moniker for the Lincoln MKX mid-size crossover. The new name does come with a few updates, though this is a refresh and not a full-on redesign like you’d see with most name changes. Compare the Nautilus with last year’s MKX here.

The five-seat Nautilus looks similar to the MKX. The easiest way to distinguish it from the previous model is the new horizontal grille, which replaces Lincoln’s older split grille. The Nautilus also looks a lot like the Lincoln MKC, Lincoln’s compact SUV. Even though the latter is smaller, it’s hard to tell them apart even when parked close together. There’s also a new base engine, but the optional engine carries over — and that’s a good thing.

Competition for the Nautilus is varied given its price and image (in some eyes, at least) as a near-luxury as opposed to full-luxury vehicle. The Nautilus starts at $41,335 for base models, then jumps to $45,540 for the Select, $49,870 for the Reserve and $57,890 for the Black Label, which in turn comes in three varieties: Chalet, Gala and Thoroughbred. (All prices include destination charges.) On the lower end, it competes with smaller luxury SUVs like the Audi Q5 and other mid-size two-row SUVs like the Lexus RX 350 and Cadillac XT5. Compare the Nautilus with those vehicles here.

The Nautilus has a dual nature: There are luxurious aspects that justify its price, but also parts that feel less than premium and drag down the experience.

Two Engine Choices, One Good One

This dichotomy starts under the hood. The new base engine is a 250-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 280 pounds-feet of torque. This replaces last year’s base V-6. For those who want more get-up-and-go, an optional 335-hp, twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 that makes 380 pounds-feet of torque is available. While both engines come mated to eight-speed automatic transmissions, the gearboxes are unique; Lincoln says each has different ratios and other mechanical changes that alter how they behave.

Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. The all-wheel drive has added a provision that disengages the rear driveshaft when it’s not needed. Translation: It functions like front-wheel drive most of the time, which is more efficient, but sends power to the rear wheels when needed. I found the system to work seamlessly on the road, moving power to the back wheels under heavy acceleration without hesitation, then going right back to FWD when the need was over. Fuel-economy ratings with FWD are 21/26/23 mpg city/highway/combined for the base engine and 20/27/22 mpg for the V-6. AWD models are close, at 20/25/22 mpg for the base engine and 19/26/21 mpg for the V-6.

Of the two engine options, the V-6 is the way to go. The base engine is plenty powerful, but its transmission seems to get in the way and accelerator inputs are muted — there’s a discernible lag between pressing the pedal and the Nautilus moving forward with any urgency. Once the engine gets going, there’s enough grunt to scoot pretty well, but the delay is off-putting. The Nautilus does offer a more aggressive “S” (Sport) mode on the gear selector, which helps keep the engine a bit higher up in the rev range, but it doesn’t solve the problem completely and makes the engine drone noticeably.

Conversely, the V-6 and its transmission are a potent combination. The pedal feels in sync with the powertrain, power comes immediately, and the transmission shifts crisply and does a good job staying in the right gear. It feels like a luxury powertrain should, with easy acceleration and plenty of go-go for passing on the highway. Even with a suspension and steering definitely tuned for comfort, the Nautilus was good for a few smiles with the V-6 under the hood.

One thing to keep in mind: The Nautilus’ powertrain upgrades are always optional, not standard on any trim level. That means it’s possible to get a Black Label SUV with the base powertrain and FWD. Adding the optional engine adds $2,070 to the base price, and AWD adds another $2,495, meaning it’s always a $4,565 premium to get the Nautilus’ ideal engine setup.

Interior Hits and Misses

Inside, the Nautilus has a mix of materials that simultaneously awe and sadden. Each of the Nautilus models I drove were from the Reserve trim level and up, so they featured one of several shades of open-pore wood trim and soft, supple leather on the seats. I also tested the optional “Ultra Comfort” 22-way powered front seats, and they were just as comfortable as you’d hope seats with such a ridiculous amount of adjustment would be.

When you move your attention to the center console, however, things are less positive. Even on the line-topping Black Label model, the controls are thin plastic and feel like they’re from a Ford Edge. The front storage bin door is especially flimsy, and the climate buttons are plastic rather than metal, which is what you’ll find in most luxury competitors. The touchscreen, though, is great: Resolution is high enough, and it’s powered by Sync 3, one of my favorite multimedia systems thanks to its simplicity, ease of use and standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The backseat is spacious, with 39.6 inches of legroom — more than any of the competitors mentioned above. Headroom is also ample. The Nautilus offers a gigantic panoramic moonroof, which keeps the cabin feeling airy for everyone inside. Behind the rear seats, you’ll find 37.2 cubic feet of cargo room, which (again) blows away the competitors. Handy controls lower the rear seats if you need more cargo space.

The only thing the backseat is missing is charging options; the only two USB ports are located up front. Opting for the Cargo Utility Package adds a household outlet to the backseat, but otherwise, there’s just a 12-volt outlet back there.

Safety for a Price

The Nautilus offers an extensive amount of safety equipment (there’s the good), but it’s expensive (there’s the bad). Forward automatic emergency braking and a blind spot warning system are standard, but after that, things get a bit more complicated. The crown jewel is the Driver Assistance Package ($1,590), which includes full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist with lane centering, adaptive steering ratios and — a new feature for 2019 — evasive steering assist. Evasive steering can detect slower-moving or stopped obstacles in the Nautilus’ path, and when the driver initiates a turn to avoid the object, the system is ready to boost the steering to help out. It works at all speeds, thus effective in both city and highway driving.

The Driver Assistance Package is offered only on Reserve and higher trim levels. In a market where safety features are being increasingly democratized, such limited availability is strange. Also available are a 360-degree camera system and an active park assist function.

Missing Value

The price on the Nautilus skyrockets quickly. All the examples I tested — even ones with the base engine — had sticker prices of more than $60,000. That’s a lot to pay for an SUV that doesn’t have full luxury credentials. They were also missing some standard safety equipment I’d like to see at that price, especially considering that the Ford Edge, essentially a sibling to the Nautilus, comes with many of those features standard at a significantly lower price.

Ultimately, this is what gives me pause about the 2019 Nautilus. What you get isn’t bad, but at these prices, “not bad” isn’t good enough. Lincoln has shown it can make true luxury SUVs (the Navigator and forthcoming Aviator), but the Nautilus doesn’t qualify.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.8
89 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(5.0)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Most luxurious car ever owned!

by Patricia N from Aptos, CA on September 10, 2020

This car meets all my needs and more. Love seat heater/cooler. All the USB and charging ports. The ambient lighting and Lighted Lincoln welcome mat. Love, love, love!! Read full review

(5.0)

New purchase we have only had it one day

by Tom from Ponca City,OK on August 25, 2020

So far it great, we have one minor nick we need to have repaired but we will contact the dealer. Our initial view of the vehicle was one of great value for the money. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus currently has 4 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2019 Lincoln Nautilus Standard

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
acceptable

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

Front Crash Prevention
superior

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Headlights

Overall Rating
poor

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side

Overall Evaluation
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side - Driver Injury Measures

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side - Passenger Injury Measures

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Lincoln

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    unlimited months / unlimited distance

Latest 2019 Nautilus Stories

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All Model Years for the Lincoln Nautilus

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Nautilus received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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*MSRP and Invoice prices displayed are for educational purposes only, do not reflect the actual selling price of a particular vehicle, and do not include applicable gas taxes or destination charges.