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2019 Lincoln Nautilus

Change year or car

$40,340

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

SUV

Body style

23

Combined MPG

5

Seating capacity

190” x 66.2”

Dimensions

Front-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

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

5 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2019 Lincoln Nautilus trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best SUVs for 2024

Notable features

  • 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

2019 Lincoln Nautilus review: Our expert's take

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.

03 lincoln nautilus 2019 black  exterior  front jpg 04 lincoln nautilus 2019 angle  black  exterior  rear jpg 06 lincoln nautilus 2019 black  exterior  headlights jpg 07 lincoln nautilus 2019 black  exterior  grille jpg 09 lincoln nautilus 2019 black  exterior  wheel jpg 03 lincoln nautilus 2019 black  exterior  front jpg 04 lincoln nautilus 2019 angle  black  exterior  rear jpg 06 lincoln nautilus 2019 black  exterior  headlights jpg 07 lincoln nautilus 2019 black  exterior  grille jpg 09 lincoln nautilus 2019 black  exterior  wheel jpg

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.

18 lincoln nautilus 2019 center stack  gearshift  interior jpg The Nautilus doesn’t offer an extensive sport mode, but hitting S on the gear selector makes the powertrain more responsive. | Cars.com photo by Brian Wong

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

10 lincoln nautilus 2019 cockpit shot  interior jpg 22 lincoln nautilus 2019 center stack  climate control  interior jpg 12 lincoln nautilus 2019 instrument panel  interior jpg 15 lincoln nautilus 2019 center stack  interior jpg 17 lincoln nautilus 2019 center stack  display  interior  navigation jpg 19 lincoln nautilus 2019 center stack  controls  interior jpg 23 lincoln nautilus 2019 center console  interior  storage jpg 28 lincoln nautilus 2019 interior  outlet  second row jpg 27 lincoln nautilus 2019 interior  second row jpg 26 lincoln nautilus 2019 cabin  interior  sunroof jpg 29 lincoln nautilus 2019 controls  folding seats  interior jpg 30 lincoln nautilus 2019 cargo  interior  trunk jpg 10 lincoln nautilus 2019 cockpit shot  interior jpg 22 lincoln nautilus 2019 center stack  climate control  interior jpg 12 lincoln nautilus 2019 instrument panel  interior jpg 15 lincoln nautilus 2019 center stack  interior jpg 17 lincoln nautilus 2019 center stack  display  interior  navigation jpg 19 lincoln nautilus 2019 center stack  controls  interior jpg 23 lincoln nautilus 2019 center console  interior  storage jpg 28 lincoln nautilus 2019 interior  outlet  second row jpg 27 lincoln nautilus 2019 interior  second row jpg 26 lincoln nautilus 2019 cabin  interior  sunroof jpg 29 lincoln nautilus 2019 controls  folding seats  interior jpg 30 lincoln nautilus 2019 cargo  interior  trunk jpg

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

13 lincoln nautilus 2019 instrument panel  interior driver assistance jpg Most of the safety features can be turned on and off within the instrument panel screen, via controls on the steering wheel. | Cars.com photo by Brian Wong

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

02 lincoln nautilus 2019 black  exterior  profile jpg I was hoping for more luxury for the $60,000-plus price tag of the Reserve model I tested. | Cars.com photo by Brian Wong

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.

Photo of Brian Wong
Former L.A. Bureau Chief Brian Wong is a California native with a soft spot for convertibles and free parking. Email Brian Wong

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.9
  • Interior 4.6
  • Performance 4.5
  • Value 4.4
  • Exterior 4.9
  • Reliability 4.7
Write a review

Most recent consumer reviews

4.0

Jerky nautilus 2019

Jerky transmission below 40mph. No fun to drive. Taking to dealer for service today also down shifting is jerky. Like trying to find a gear

5.0

Hidden jewel of the SUV world

The best ride ever. Had an X3that got totaled and the Nautilus was our choice. Glad we did. It is the front wheel drive 4 cyl and we couldn’t be happier. Can’t wait for the next road trip!

5.0

Driving the 2019 Lincoln is a pleasure. W

We love driving and riding in our 2019 Nautilus and don’t want to get another car for long time! We have had no issues with it at all and we love the concierge service.

See all 104 consumer reviews

Safety

Based on the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
5
Combined side rating rear seat
5
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
5
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
5
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
5
Overall rating
5
Overall side crash rating
5
Risk of rollover
15.5%
Rollover rating
4
Side barrier rating
5
Side barrier rating driver
5
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
5
Side pole rating driver front seat
5

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Lincoln
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
72 months/70,000 miles
Roadside assistance
-12 months/unlimited distance
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Current plus five previous model years / Less than 60,000 actual miles
Basic warranty terms
60 months or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited warranty
Powertrain
6 years/70,000 miles
Dealer certification required
200-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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