CHATHAM, MASS. – Ward’s Automotive, a respected communications platform for the auto industry, chose the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus’s interior as one of the 10 Best in its annual listing. A week driving and experiencing an all-wheel-drive burgundy-velvet-metallic version of the mid-sized SUV reinforced Ward’s choice!
Lincoln talks about creating a sanctuary within its VERY quiet cabin and the Black Label Nautilus meets this goal.
A few words about Black Label. Lincoln offers this package on its vehicles and, if the dealer is participating in the program, added customer service includes a premium maintenance plan; annual vehicle detailing; anytime – ANYTIME – car wash and remote service pickup/delivery. Possibly the most unique bonus is a 12-month membership in CLEAR (six months for non-Black Label customers), which moves the Lincoln owner rapidly through certain airport and arena security checkpoints! The goal is to stand out amongst luxury brands as Ford continues its rejuvenation of its high-end brand.
Luxury abounds throughout the interior, with the review model dressed in the new “Chalet” theme. Lincoln says this theme, which moves to Nautilus from other Lincoln products, “evokes the contrasting pleasures of pulse-pounding mountain slopes and the inherent comfort of an après-ski lodge. With Espresso and Alpine Venetian leathers and deep Silverwood appliqués, each touch is designed to awaken the senses.”
This concept was lost on me since I have not skied since college and never experienced an après-ski lodge, but the luxurious heated/ventilated/massaging Ultra-Comfort leather seats, which can be adjusted 22 ways, provide the very-comfortable platform to enjoy this Lincoln’s features. Even the rear seats are heated!
Behind the heated, leather-covered, power-adjustable steering wheel is a 12.3-inch configurable driver information screen. In addition to the speedometer, displays include audio selection; fuel economy; vehicle settings and conditions (like tire pressures at each wheel); turn-by-turn navigation instructions, and adaptive cruise control settings.
Centered in the sweeping panel joining the dash to the console – which has three large storage areas – is an eight-inch color touch screen to operate Ford’s Sync3 communications, entertainment and navigation system (with easy-to-use dash buttons for those drivers not enamored of touch-screen operation for the dual-zone climate control system; seat controls, and audio system, to name a few). The sound from the AM/FM/SiriusXM/Mp3/Streaming audio system projects loud and clean through the 19-Revel® speakers. To aid in streaming through your smartphone, the Nautilus is a hotspot with standard 4G Internet connectivity.
Speaking of smartphones, downloading the Lincoln Way App allows the user to unlock and start the Nautilus remotely, get roadside assistance and personalized customer service with the Lincoln Concierge. In addition, you can schedule complimentary Lincoln Pickup & Delivery when the vehicle needs service.
The touch screen is also the monitor for the SUV’s 360-degree camera system. Of course it operates in back-up mode, but in addition four cameras on the front, rear and sides merge to provide a bird’s-eye view around the vehicle, and a 180-degree split-view camera located in the Nautilus’s grille helps boost visibility in cross-traffic situations, intersections and seeing around parked cars.
Other safety features abound, both inside and out. Front and rear dual-stage airbags; perimeter alarm; lane-centering/lane-keeping system; rear blind-spot detection; automatic-emergency braking; anti-lock brakes; pedestrian detection; forward-collision warning; pre-collision assistance; rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers; dynamic-brake support, and front- and rear-parking sensors. Many of these safety features are part of the standard Lincoln Co-Pilot360 package.
Brakes and tires always play a crucial role in a vehicle’s safety system and the Nautilus has four-wheel discs with 13.58-inch rotors front and rear. The brakes ride inside 21-inch painted ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels shod with 265x40V-R21 all-season tires.
The 2019 Lincoln Navigator’s safety systems combined to earn it an overall five-star rating (highest) from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Other awards include 2018 Truck of the Year and a top five in the J.D. Power & Associates Initial Quality Study.
By the numbers
Luckily, I never had to sample the major safety systems, but the cameras, parking sensors and large windows made parallel parking the substantial Nautilus relatively simple. Interior room is generous within the 190-inch long, 86.1-inch wide, 66.2-inch high SUV. Headroom below the panoramic roof is 39.2-inches front and rear, while front/rear riders have 54.6 inches/55.6 inches of hip room and 58.9 inches/59 inches of shoulder room. Continuing review of the numbers reveals cargo space of 37.2 cubic feet with the rear seat up; 68.8 cubic feet with the seat folded.
Again, the Lincoln Nautilus is substantial, with a solid presence on the road. Once upon a time Ford would have provided a large V8 engine to motivate the 4,305-pound Nautilus and fuel economy would have been in the teens. Modern technology – a sophisticated 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 producing 335 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet of torque operating through an eight-speed transmission with stop/start technology – allows excellent performance with 20+ miles per gallon (mpg) fuel economy. The federal Environmental Protection Agency rates this SUV at 18/21/27 mpg (city/combined/highway) and we saw 23 mpg of mostly suburban driving.
Lincoln’s full family of SUV offerings continues to bring new clients to the brand. Joining the Nautilus this year are the larger Aviator and smaller Corsair. Add the Navigator and Lincoln has a luxury-SUV family covering virtually the entire market, ranging from compact to large.
With a conquest rate up 23 percent in the first quarter of the year, Lincoln SUVs are off to their strongest start in 18 years. The full-size Navigator continues to break sales records, and the new 2019 Nautilus and MKC – just now being replaced by the Corsair – have ridden a wave of popularity as well, with sales up nearly 26 percent and 18 percent, respectively in 2019 when compared to 2018.
None of this luxury, technology, sophistication and customer-service comes cheap – Lincoln is a luxury brand. The standard Nautilus which maintains the Lincoln promise of a driving sanctuary and standard Lincoln Co-Pilot360, starts at $40.340. The Black Label version we drove totaled $65,800 filled with virtually everything Lincoln felt made up the ultimate luxury mid-size SUV. This is not the most or is the least expensive vehicle in its segment; it is, however, an excellent example of the genre.