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2021 Lincoln Nautilus Substantial Interior Upgrade

Former Lincoln MKX gets Fresh

AutoPacific had a recent opportunity to spens some time in a 2021 Lincoln Nautilus Reserve.  Does the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus achieve Lincoln’s objective of “Quiet Flight” and “Sanctuary”.  Pretty darn close.

Lincoln Motor Company, the luxury brand for Ford Motor Company is now an all SUV brand:  Navigator, Aviator, Nautilus, Corsair.  The Lincoln lineup is a demonstration of strong group of products.  Even though the 2021 Nautilus is its latest update, in reality it is the oldest vehicle in the lineup.  Back in the bad old days when Lincoln thought alphanumeric naming was “the bomb”, the Nautilus was the MKX (the Corsair was the MKC).  (Funny, they never changed the Navigator’s name because it is “too strong” – Cadillac made the same decision with Escalade).  But I digress, back to the Nautilus.  The Ford Edge shares its platform with the Nautilus.  Nautilus competes with the Acura MDX, Audi Q5, Cadillac XT5, Jaguar F-Pace and other 5-passenger, 2 row Luxury Brand Crossover SUVs.

Focus Was On  the Instrument Panel  While making minor tweaks to the exterior trim of the Nautilus, Lincoln concentrated on the instrument panel. The panel motif is similar to the Corsair with horizontal lines and very, very good ergonomics (almost, more on that in a bit).  There is class leading 13.2-inch center screen – biggest in the class.  The graphics are brilliant.  The screen is powered by Lincoln’s new Sync4 system.

There is one controversial thing about instrument panel layout and that is the design of the transmission shifter. This is a series of piano key-like buttons with park on the left side near the driver and drive on the far right.  Having just undergone rotator cuff surgery for my right shoulder, of course the right shoulder, and still in re-hab, it was painful to reach across to press the drive button. I’ll get over that, but a vertical button arrangement would have been more convenient.  The reconfigurable instrument cluster is very clear and easy to use.  All-in-all the driver’s environment is excellent.

Nicely Sized 5-Passenger Crossover SUV.  The front-wheel-drive based 5-passenger Nautilus is a size smaller than the rear-wheel-drive based 7-passenger Lincoln Aviator.  It is a size larger than the Lincoln Corsair. The Nautilus remains easy to get into and out of.  Visibility is excellent. The front seat spaciousness is very good as is the rear seat room. The cargo area is generous.

Reserve Model Positioned Below Black Label  The particular 2021 Lincoln Aviator provided to AutoPacific is an all wheel drive Reserve model powered by a 2.7L V6 engine with twin turbochargers and 335-horsepower.  The standard engine is a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo with 250-horsepower. These engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

When you get the Reserve model, the kitchen sink of features and equipment is loaded into the Nautilus. Lincoln Co-Pilot Plus provides a comprehensive suite of safety features.  As usual these days, there is a 360-degree camera, blindspot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with stop and go and active lane centering.  The list goes on.  What the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus lacks is a Head Up Display.  After investing so heavily in a new, very nicely done instrument panel, lacking an available HUD is a surprise.

Old Platform Still Has Life  Even though the 2020 Lincoln Nautilus rides on an old platform, it is very pleasant vehicle to drive.  The front seats are very comfortable.  The seat and steering wheel are infinitely adjustable to get a perfect driving position.  Handling is firm and well-controlled.  The adaptive suspension provided a confident ride under all situations.

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