2021 Lincoln Nautilus
Lincoln has already bid farewell to its flagship sedans and now appears to be focused entirely on SUV models. Indeed, they’ve found success in this area, and the Nautilus has been a reliable model, bringing a solid amount of success to the brand over the years. The 2021 Nautilus was announced with some fanfare in late 2020, and delivered a number of changes. Keywords that Lincoln has used include “elevated,” “refined,” and “serene.” We tested the Nautilus Black Label model, which is the very top-end trim to see how it compared to the company rhetoric.
Swift And Comfortable
The standard powertrain on the 2021 model is a 2.0L four-cylinder engine offering up to 250-hp and paired with a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission in FWD or AWD drivetrains. The 2.0L engine is quite impressive in itself, getting 0-60 in 6.8 seconds, but it’s not as pleasing as the model we tested armed with a much nippier 2.7L turbocharged V6 engine that’ll do the same sprint in just 5.9 seconds.
The powertrains are substantial, but we won’t kid ourselves in thinking that the Nautilus Black Label is any kind of sporty SUV. This is a luxury SUV, the larger engine for which allows you much more comfortable highway riding, giving you all the power you could need when passing other cars or merging safely at speed with confidence. Having said that, it is also equipped with a very pleasing adaptive suspension system that makes even fast-paced rides feel smooth and easy, and almost eliminates any bumps and dips you feel on potholes and speed bumps.
It’s well-equipped to perform in a straight line, but in reality it’s not terribly agile. It’s meant to be a more luxurious, comfortable cruiser, and that’s when it’s at its best.
Crisp LEDs Accentuate Relaxed Exterior Design
The exterior hasn’t undergone major changes for the 2021 year but it’s worth mentioning the design. The proportions of the front end, rear end, and side profile are very pleasing, and that’s what you’d expect from the Lincoln designers. No part appears too long, too wide or too bulky. The lines are clean, front end imposing enough and the rear end stylish but subtle. Giving the Nautilus a laid back design focus in-line with the overall mission of the Nautilus.
Comfortable Interior Lacking Refined Fit And Finish
Now we come to the real substance of the review, and that is the greatly overhauled interior of the Nautilus Black Label. The entire line has received a major interior facelift with superb standard features and a great range of additional options, too.
The first thing that strikes you when you sit in the Nautilus Black Label is the all-new dash design with an incredible 13.2” infotainment display running on Ford Sync 4. It’s intuitive, responsive and attractive, everything you’d want from a great display and the size is phenomenal, making everything not only more visible, but easier to maintain accurate touch as you cycle through options. The system also supports over-the-air software updates and includes voice commands via the “Hey, Lincoln!” trigger phrase.
It even works with your smartphone acting as a key, so if you don’t have the key fob, an authorized smartphone will do the trick! But of course not everything positive about the Nautilus is linked to technology. First, the interior is brightened by an optional panoramic sunroof, which really opens up the space nicely. Next, the driver and front passenger are treated to 22-way power-adjustable massage seats, and an available 19-speaker premium audio system from Revel Ultima.
While the interior is a great place to spend long drives with ultra soft supportive seats, stylish two-tone steering wheel plus an ample amount of soundproofing for a quiet ride, the Nautilus lacks a crisp fit and finish other vehicles offer at the mid $65,000 price point.
Verdict: A Splendid SUV For Those Seeking Comfort First
The fully updated interior is a significant enhancement, and the drive is comfortable when you’re cruising around town or on the highway. It also has more than enough power for highway speeds. As a performer on tight corners that call for agility, however, you won’t find the Nautilus your best ally.