If you’re looking for a 5-passenger luxury SUV, you are spoiled for choice. The go-to SUVs have always been the German brands but the South Korean and Japanese brands have also produced strong contenders in recent years. So where does the Lincoln Nautilus fit in this crowd? Is it even something worth considering?
Engine – The base engine in the Nautilus is roughly as powerful as the German brands. It is a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque (186 kW & 380 Nm). This particular demo vehicle has the optional 2.7L twin-turbocharged V6 and it produces 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque (250 kW & 515 Nm). With the SUV tipping the scales at 2,071 kg (4,565 lbs), it can accelerate pretty quickly with the V6 engine. When the engine is in its sweet spot, at around 3,500 rpms, it feels as though it isn’t struggling to pull the mass of the SUV.
Fuel Economy – With the bigger and more powerful V6 engine, you’d expect the fuel economy to be pretty poor. But not so. This V6 is pretty economical at 12.7 L/100km (18.5 MPG) in a city and 9.3 L/100km (25.3 MPG) on a highway. During my time with the Nautilus, I averaged 11.7 L/100km (20.1 MPG).
Transmission – Paired with this engine, and the 2.0L Turbo, is an 8-speed automatic. When left to its own decisions, the transmission shifts smoothly and it knows when to upshift or downshift. If you decide to take over control with the paddle shifters, be prepared to wait while the transmission decides to shift. The response is slow, in particular when upshifting. So it’s best to let the computer decide when it’s time to change gears.
Braking – The brakes on the 2022 Lincoln Nautilus are strong and the brake pedal provides a lot of travel for easy manipulation which in turn means smooth stops. However, it’s not the most firm feeling pedal.
Handling – Dynamically, this is not a sporty driving SUV. It has a front-biased AWD system which provides good grip in less than ideal conditions such as snow. It’ll handle the white stuff better than I can, just make sure the tires are rated for snowy conditions. But on dry roads, the SUV will easily understeer when pushed to the limits. The steering is light and firms up just enough on the move to not feel like as though it’s not connected to the front wheels. But it is not a particularly fast and sharp steering like what you’d find in a BMW or Genesis GV70. This SUV feels more at home on commutes to and from work.
Ride Comfort – One of the main reasons why you’d want to consider the 2022 Lincoln nautilus is because of its ride comfort. Lincoln vehicles are known for providing a supple ride and this Nautilus is no different. The SUV is available with adaptive dampers, which this demo vehicle had equipped, and this suspension does a fabulous job of ironing out bumps in the road. In Sport mode, the ride is still comfortable but the dampers settle the body after a big bump much more quickly than in the Normal drive mode.
Interior Space – The Lincoln nautilus is based on the Ford Edge platform and as such, it has quite a bit of space for front occupants. At 6’4”, I have loads of legroom and enough headroom. However, with the seat in the lowest position, I still found myself sitting quite high up. So I had good front, side and rear visibility. The rear seats feel more compact because there isn’t a lot of headroom for my tall stature. My hair and head are right up against the headliner. But legroom is good behind my tall driving position.
In the trunk, you’ll find 1,055 L (37.3 cu-ft) of space behind the second row and 1,948 L (68.8 cu-ft) of space with the second row folded. Be aware, the rear seats don’t fold completely flat. They have a slight incline.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Another reason why you’d want to consider this Nautilus over other luxury SUVs is the quiet and serene cabin. There’s very little road noise from the optional 21-inch tires, wind noise on highways is non-existent, and the engine is pretty quiet as well when cruising on highways or city streets. Of course if you push hard on the throttle pedal the engine will be loud but otherwise, it won’t bother you. As well, the auto start/stop system is very smooth. So overall, this Nautilus is about as quiet as the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – This demo vehicle is a 2022 model year nautilus and the starting price is $59,800 CAD ($50,505 USD). For 2023, the Lincoln Nautilus did receive a price hike and it now starts at $60,500 CAD ($51,040 USD). This demo vehicle came equipped with $78,575 CAD ($67,755 USD)which is about $10,000 more than a similarly equipped BMW X3 or Mercedes-Benz GLC. Bear in mind, those cars are with the base 2.0L engine. If you equip this nautilus with the 2.0L engine and with the Ultimate Package, which adds the 21-inch wheels and premium audio system among a few other small things, then the price of this Nautilus is about the same as the German rivals.
Gadgets – For the price, this Nautilus is very well equipped. It has features that one would expect from a luxury SUV which include heated & ventilated front seats, massaging front seats, heated rear seats, panoramic sunroof, surround view cameras, satellite navigation, a full digital driver display and many more features.
But it is missing some features and others are not as good as they can be. For example, the surround view cameras are SD not HD. It does not have a head-up display and it does not have a separate climate zone for the back seats. These are not major issues but at nearly $80,000 CAD, you’d think that it would have certain features that less expensive SUVs have.
The infotainment system is a Sync4 infotainment which allows for wireless Apple CarPlay & wireless Android Auto. I didn’t have any issues in connecting and using Android Auto. The system itself is pretty straightforward to use, especially if you come from a Ford product, and if you’re new to it, it’ll be easy to learn.
Interior Design – The Nautilus received a slight interior update for the 2021 model year to make it more inline with other Lincoln vehicle designs. The primary focus of your attention is the 13.2” touchscreen. Below it are air vents with the drive selector & push button start buttons below them. The floating center console has a lot of space for small items as well as some larger ones in the center console armrest. There are also physical controls for the climate and radio. The dash has some lashings of leather and a subtle ambient lighting system. Overall, the interior cabin feels luxurious and is exactly what one might expect from an American brand.
Exterior Design – Along with the interior, the exterior also received a refresh for the 2021 model year though it’s much more subtle. The trademark modern Lincoln grille remains as do the LED headlights but the lower portion of the front bumper is slightly redesigned. The optional turbine 21-inch wheels match the car and around back, it has a full LED light bar that stretches from one side to the other.
Safety – The 2022 Lincoln Nautilus received a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS with the SUV receiving good scores in all crash tests and Superior or Advanced ratings for the driver aids. The only blemishes are the headlights performance and the child seat latch ease of use.
Warranty – The 2022 Lincoln Nautilus is covered by a 4 year / 80,000 km new vehicle warranty as well as a 6 year / 110,000 km powertrain warranty. For more information on Canadian Lincoln warranty, click here. For USA Lincoln warranty, click here.
Conclusion – So is the Lincoln Nautilus something you should consider over German, Japanese, or Koren rivals? If you’re looking for a comfortable SUV first and foremost, the Nautilus needs to be near the top of your shopping list. Lincoln does comfort very well and this one is no different. However, this is not a particularly enjoyable driving SUV like the BMW X3 or Genesis GV70. The price is around the same as other luxury SUVs as well. So the Lincoln Nautilus is not quite as well rounded as some other luxury SUVs, in particular, the Genesis GV70. But if you are just looking for a quiet, smooth and comfortable luxury SUV, again, this one is the better one out there.
Thank you to Lincoln Canada for providing the vehicle. www.LincolnCanada.com