You would be forgiven for thinking that the Nautilus is a brand new model but it is actually a mid-cycle update of the MKX which launched back in 2015. We’d understand if you were scratching your chin momentarily for the crossover has undergone a pretty substantial makeover. Along with the aesthetical changes, Lincoln’s mid-size luxury family hauler also has a choice of turbocharged engines and a standard suite of advanced technologies to boot. There’s plenty going for it, so what gives?
It’s a striking looker, that much is for certain. Lincoln has ditched the old split-wing grille and replaced it with a single-frame chrome design to help it resemble the rest of the family. The bold front fascia is complemented by a more sculpted profile and new wheel designs round off the sleek new exterior. As with other Lincolns, you are welcomed with a neat little light show when you approach this handsome CUV.
The large panoramic roof allows plenty of natural light to bathe the roomy and comfortable cabin (it has soft, leather-wrapped surfaces galore which help give it a premium feel) while the Ultra Comfort seats (standard on Reserve models) can be adjusted up to 22 ways and boast a massaging function to help combat fatigue if you happen to be taking a long drive or are stuck in a jam. The 19-speaker Revel audio system offers an impressively crisp sound experience while the big change in the smart cabin is the adoption of a 12.3in digital instrument cluster. However, the centre stack with a host of knobs and buttons is beginning to look a tad dated. Moving on to the tech side of things, the highlight has to be the inclusion of Lincoln Co-Pilot360 which bundles many popular driver-assist features as standard (previously available only as separate options) such as Blind Spot Information System, Cross-traffic Alert, Pre-collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Auto High Beams, a Lane-keeping System and a Rear View Camera designed to inspire driver confidence. There’s yet more wizbangery in the shape of a wireless charging pad for compatible smartphones while the infotainment screen serves as a portal to standard Sync 3 with Apple CarPlay compatibility.
Available with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo making 250 horses, our test car packed the larger 2.7-litre unit blessed with 335 horses and 515Nm of torque mated to a new eight-speed automatic powering all four wheels. In Normal mode, it’s a silky smooth drivetrain — but when you stick it in Sport (which stiffens the adaptive dampers and adds some weight to the steering) there’s noticeable lag in power and the transmission shifts aren’t always consistently swift in this particular setting. Turn-in is quick however there is some body roll to contend with. It may not be as engaging as a BMW X3 but when it comes to luxury and refinement, it is up there with the best in this segment.
With a good-looking new face, a serene and feature-rich cabin not to mention a cossetting ride, the Nautilus sure has plenty to offer and ensures it can hold its own in this ever so popular segment.