2019 Lincoln Nautilus First Look
- Lincoln’s 2-row midsize SUV gets a facelift and a name change for 2019
- Powertrain and technology upgrades, too
- Should continue to start in the low-$40,000 range, in the same ballpark as Cadillac XT5 and Lexus RX
- 2019 Lincoln Nautilus set to go on sale in the spring of 2018
Anecdotal evidence has suggested Lincoln’s “split-wing” grille design and its unintuitive and unmemorable “MK_” naming scheme weren’t helping the automaker connect with new buyers. Credit Lincoln for addressing both issues, in this case with one swing of the axe. The Lincoln MKX midsize SUV becomes the Lincoln Nautilus for 2019, and gets a transformative new grille.
Lincoln previewed the new model for a small group of automotive journalists on the rooftop of the new and swanky Dream Hollywood hotel, two days before it made its world premiere at the L.A. Auto Show.
Evolved and Enhanced
The changes go beyond the superficial. The MKX’s base V6 engine makes way for a more efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder in the Nautilus, joining the excellent 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in a new, all-turbo engine lineup. Both engines are matched to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, supplanting the current 6-speed. A choice of front- or all-wheel drive continues.
But no vehicle refresh would be complete nowadays without some new tech. The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus will feature a new lane-centering feature that works to keep the vehicle well-positioned in its lane, helping with the constant little corrections required just to drive a vehicle straight down the highway. Evasive steer assist is also new, and can help the driver steer around a vehicle when brakes alone wouldn’t be enough to avoid a collision.
The Nautilus’ passenger cabin is more familiar, but features a variety of upgrades including a new 12.3-inch all-digital gauge cluster and wireless phone charging. Lincoln says the cabin is quieter, too, with reduced wind and road noise.
The new-ish Lincoln will also offer the Black Label treatment, a top-tier trim featuring premium materials in specially curated designer themes including Chalet, Thoroughbred and all-new Gala. Nautilus Black Label vehicles are also eligible for complimentary annual vehicle detailing and anytime car washes.
Like all 2017-and-later vehicles in the lineup, the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus will include the automaker’s no-charge Pickup and Delivery service. When the car needs service, Lincoln will come pick up the car, leave a loaner vehicle, and return the vehicle washed and serviced.
In line with the theme of giving its owners the luxury of time, starting January 1, 2018, new Lincoln owners will receive a six-month complimentary CLEAR membership, allowing them to speed through security at participating airports and major arenas nationwide. Lincoln Black Label members will receive a 12-month complimentary membership.
With the Lincoln Way app, drivers can start, lock, unlock and locate their vehicle, and schedule remote starts to pre-heat (or pre-cool) the vehicle to comfortable levels. The app also displays fuel levels, tire pressures and battery status.
In addition to evolving ownership privileges, Lincoln has been working on an improved purchase experience. This year the brand tied with Mercedes-Benz at the very top of the J.D. Power 2017 Sales Satisfaction Index, moving up from sixth last year.
Even with the significant changes, many of the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus’ most compelling features are already offered on today’s Lincoln MKX. The available Ultra Comfort front seats include a fatigue-reducing lumbar massage function. Upgraded sound options include 13- and 19-speaker Revel audio systems. A big panoramic moonroof brings the outside in. And the standard Sync 3 infotainment system includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Driver-assist technologies also found on the MKX include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, active park assist, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping aid and brake auto-hold, which lets the driver relax a little more at stop lights.
There's a lot to like about the Lincoln MKX. But there's even more to like about the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus -- and less not to like.