The 2019 Nautilus crossover is something of a watershed for Ford’s upscale Lincoln brand, ushering a return to model names rather than alphanumeric designations, introducing of a variety of new technologies and features and reinforcing Lincoln’s strategy to be a “services” provider and enabler for its customers.
The Nautilus is the first model to begin Lincoln’s phase-out of alphanumeric model descriptors, as it replaces the midsize crossover formerly known as the MKX. Although the Nautilus retains the MKX’s vehicle architecture and general dimensions and the company’s marketing executives openly refer to it as a “refresh” of the MKX, the Nautilus features Lincoln’s newly-adopted mesh grille and heavily revised front clip, as well as a new base-engine option and 8-speed automatic transmission.
Two turbocharged choices
Carrying over from the MKX is the Nautilus’ 2.7-L turbocharged V-6 generating an estimated 335 hp and 380 lb·ft (515 N·m). New for the Nautilus is a 2.0-L turbocharged 4-cylinder widely used in the Ford empire; for the Nautilus application, it develops an estimated 245 hp and 275 lb·ft (373 N·m); gone is the MKX’s normally-aspirated 3.7-L V-6.
A newly-developed 8-speed automatic transmission backs either engine, although Lincoln officials could provide little detail about the transmission at the Nautilus’ media introduction prior to the 2017 Los Angeles auto show, other than to say there is an intriguing new “pre-conditioning” function designed to improve fuel efficiency. Megan McKenzie, Lincoln SUV marketing manager, also said the engine-output figures are preliminary until the Nautilus is closer to its summer 2018 showroom launch.
An on-demand all-wheel-drive system also will improve efficiency, said McKenzie, with front-wheel-drive remaining an option for those in fair-weather regions or who otherwise do not wish to have AWD.
It’s expected that any new or revised model will incorporate some type of the latest advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) technology and for the Nautilus, the headliner ADAS feature is “evasive steer assist,” a function that collates data from the forward-looking camera and adaptive-cruise control radar to help avoid a rear-end collision. If the system determines the Nautilus driver may not have enough room to come to a stop without rear-ending the vehicle in front, it will assist in steering to a path that could totally avoid or lessen the impact. The driver, however, must make an initial steering input for the system to augment.
Also included are a phalanx of more-established ADAS features such as pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, blind-spot and lane-departure warnings and a new lane-centering function that improves upon full-range cruise-control functionality by keeping the vehicle in the middle of its lane.
Meanwhile, Lincoln seeks to enhance its customer-experience credentials with a complimentary six-month membership to the CLEAR service (https://www.clearme.com/home) that allows members to quickly pass through security checks at certain participating airports and other public venues such as sports arenas. The CLEAR membership will be provided to all new buyers starting on January 1, 2018, Lincoln said, adding that it will continue with the pickup and delivery service provided to all Lincoln owners who require vehicle service or other dealership interaction.