Lincoln is keeping pace in the ultra-competitive luxury SUV segment with the 2021 Nautilus. The Navigator and the Aviator are established luxury vehicles from a brand that enjoys high marks from it loyal customers and newcomers as well. In 2019 the brand finally dropped the old MKX label and renamed their mid-sized offering the Nautilus. It was an overdue and necessary move for Lincoln in its effort to make a splash in the hotly competitive category.
As with all of Lincoln’s vehicles, the Nautilus looks refined from the outside, especially in its signature Flight Blue color. Smooth lines and a sleek profile immediately stand out, as does the raised body line on the hood and the unique grill design and fascia. The blended rear lights and lamp make for a simple yet classic view from the back, and the exterior has additional finishing like chrome-framed window wells and roof spoiler that are appealing to the eye. It gets better when you slide in the behind the wheel.
The three trims available for the 2021 Nautilus are Standard, Reserve and Black Label. The starting prices begin at $43,595 for the Standard, $50,645 for the Reserve, and $66,185 for the Black Label. The Standard trim well-stocked with LED headlights and taillights, power liftgate, dual-zone climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, a 12.3-inch infotainment display and a 10-speaker audio system.
The Reserve trim boasts all of the Standard features, plus a heated steering wheel, 18-inch painted alloy wheels, moisture sensing windshield wipers, wood trim, wireless device charging, panoramic roof, and Revel Audio 13-speaker system. You also have the option of adding a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 engine.
The Black Label edition of the Nautilus is packed with features both inside and under the hood. The 335 horsepower duel turbocharged V-6 engine comes standard on the Black Label, and it comes only in all wheel drive. Inside you find Venetian leather seats, silver wood finishes and some nifty storage options in the console. Given the list of features, we like the Reserve trim for the price.
Driving the car offers a calming, quiet experience with very little outside noise. The 2021 Nautilus offers two turbocharged powertrains. The standard engine is a 250-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. A 335-horsepower twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 is optional on the Reserve and standard in the Black Label trim. Both of the Nautilus’s engines are fitted with an 8-speed automatic transmission with shift-it-yourself capability. Neither have a sport mode. The car is not overly powerful, but it has plenty of horsepower and pick-up when you need it.
The 2021 Lincoln Nautilus is a legitimate entry into the crowded mid-sized luxury SUV market, already occupied by the Volvo XC90, BMW X5, Lexus RX, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q8 and Mercedes-Benz GLE class and the Cadillac XT5. It’s fuel efficiency at 19-21 MPG city/25-26 highway compares well among others in the segment, but there still isn’t a hybrid SUV from Lincoln. Still, if premium interior finish is of high value to you, it is worth a look.