Review: The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus Is The Best Lincoln In Years

lincoln nautilus
(Lincoln)
lincoln nautilus
(Lincoln)

As the meme says, “Deal With It.”

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus is the brand’s first model imported from China, where it is built and also sold.

And it’s the best new Lincoln in years.

Aside from the Navigator, I’d have to go all the way back to the 2010 MKT to find one that impressed me as much as the Nautilus.

2025 LINCOLN AVIATOR REVEALED AND READY TO FLY HANDS-FREE DOWN THE HIGHWAY

lincoln nautilus rear
(Lincoln)

The MKT wasn’t much of a hit, owing in part to its odd styling, but most current and former owners I’ve talked to love it. While the third row was tiny, the first two were first class, the ride was smooth and it was just an excellent way to get around. That pretty much sums up the new Nautilus.

The midsize SUV is offered with the choice of a 250 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 24 mpg combined or a 310 hp hybrid powertrain rated at 30 mpg combined. All three trims offered come standard with all-wheel-drive.

Starting prices range from $52,101 for an entry-level Reserve to $75,945 for a top of the line loaded Black Label like I tested, with the hybrid a $1,500 option across the board.

The Nautilus has a very tidy exterior design. With a blunt, but not too pronounced front end, a long hood and wheelbase and a greenhouse that’s tapered to the rear just a bit. That space between the wheels is to the benefit of the rear seat passengers. At six-foot one-inch tall and with the front seat set for me I could cross my legs sitting behind it. The 35 feet of cargo space behind it is similarly spacious. If you can’t get comfortable in the 24-way adjustable front seats with massage it’s not for Lincoln’s lack of trying. The view from them is just as interesting.

lincoln nautilus screens
(Lincoln)

Along with a reasonably sized central touchscreen infotainment system interface, the Nautilus features a digital display that spans the width of the dashboard. It houses the instrument cluster, built-in Google navigation and three configurable widgets on the passenger side that can be used for media, weather, trip information or tire pressure. Lincoln may add additional functionality in the future.

As distracting as it seems like it could be, it’s not. The placement is perfect and the graphics unobtrusive. A flat-top-and-bottom steering wheel allows you to set it to see the screen fine and it mostly fades into the background as you get used to it. The Nautilus doesn’t have a head-up display, because the high screen makes one redundant. The steering wheel is small and unusual, but not in a bad way. You quickly acclimate to it and I actually think it gives the vehicle a unique vibe.

The hybrid powertrain is well matched to the vehicle, but is tuned to be relaxed. There isn’t a muscle car punch, despite its 295 lb-ft of torque, just a wave of thrust. It’s appropriately quiet and the Black Label’s computer-controlled suspension’s stiffest setting is still plush. A Digital Scent feature provides selectable aromas for th cabin that can be mixed and matched with cartridges installed in the center armrest. Even on the lowest intensity, they’re pretty intense.

MORE REVIEWS FROM AMERICAN CARS AND RACING

Along with Google, which allows you to download a variety of apps including YouTube and the Vivaldi browser that can be used with the available connectivity when the vehicle is stationary, the Lincoln Digital Experience infotainment system also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, plus Alexa Built-In.

Only the Google Maps displays on the widescreen, but its real estate also doubles for the 360-degree camera system feed. The Black Label is also equipped with the Blue Cruise hands-free highway driving system, which is very good, but still second best to GM’s Super Cruise. It asks the driver to take control more often than its rival, but does a good job with lane-centering and on-demand lane changes when it is operational.

The Nautilus’ top competitors are the Cadillac XT5 and Lexus RX and it more than holds its own against both. Based on a few hundred miles of driving, I’d say it was the best.

As far as any concerns about it being built in China are concerned, it feels put together very well and you’d never know the difference between it and a U.S.-built Lincoln, let alone the Canadian-built Nautilus it replaces.

Oh, you didn’t know where that was made, either?

THE AMERICAN CARS AND RACING MERCHANDISE STORE IS ALWAYS OPEN

ACAR SHIRT
(American Cars And Racing)