2024 Lincoln Nautilus – Huge Improvement


In a world of boring, uninspiring, and overcrowded SUV options, it is not easy to stand out against the competition. Things get even more dramatic in the premium or luxury SUV segment, as it is much harder to differentiate itself from the crowd. The new Lincoln Nautilus hits the right spots for luxury SUV shoppers with fancy tech, great interior quality and space, and becomes our favourite alternative in its class.

Exterior and Interior

The biggest problem for many modern crossovers and SUVs is the design language, the traditional SUV layout is meant to accommodate many different things. It needs to look sporty but family-oriented. Modern, but still needs to keep the traditional layout. Lincoln has done a terrific job designing the new Nautilus. It is definitely a head-turner with its modern design language.

The front fascia comes with a large front grille with chrome pieces, and there is a daytime running light that goes across the whole front end, with an illuminated Lincoln logo. The attention to detail is quite impressive even starting from the outside, there is the right amount of chrome and blacked-out accents in the front.

The side profile is where it gets interesting. There is no visible door handles, at least when you look at it from a distance. As you get closer, you find the door handles are located right under the window and belt line, looks like they are a part of the trim piece. It gives the Nautilus a more modern, and unique look in general.

It also comes with my favourite Ford and Lincoln feature, which is the keyless entry keypad that eliminates the need for an actual key, of course, it is a digital keypad for a more sleek look. When we make our way to the rear hatch area, we found the Nautilus’ modern design language continues in the rear. It has a one-piece taillight design that goes through the rear end, with the Lincoln badge integrated into the taillights. The exhaust tips are fake, and that was the only gripe I had about the exterior design.

The interior is where the new Nautilus really shines.

Just like the exterior design, the interior is a fresh start for the brand, giving you a lot of hints for future models as well. The star of the show is the 48″ panoramic screen right under the windshield. It is a combination of two 24″ screens located side by side, and they can be customized based on your liking. It also shows Google Maps, which makes it much more convenient to use every day, which is safer to use this way, as you don’t have to move your eyes off the road as much. The rest of the interior offers a nice diversity of different materials, including leather in places where you reach, and soft-touch plastics where you don’t touch frequently.

In typical Lincoln fashion, it still has button shifters located on the center stack and there are lots of physical buttons for important features. Even though it has more screens than any other modern vehicle, Lincoln was nice enough to keep the buttons. The center console is quite practical as it offers plenty of small storage areas and two cupholders in the middle. The center touchscreen is mainly for managing the 48″ screen, adjusting settings and smartphone integration.

Another Lincoln-specific feature is seat comfort and adjustability. The 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat offers massage features, and the front seats offer thigh support for each leg, this is something not many entries offer at this price point. The rear seats don’t have the same adjustment options, but they are still exceptionally comfortable. The new Nautilus is much bigger from the outside, meaning that it offers one of the most interior spaces available in 2024. Rear seat passengers get tons of headroom and legroom even for taller adults. I just wish it came with the third-zone climate control for the rear seat passengers, but other than that there are no issues to report.

The 2024 Nautilus offers a generous amount of cargo space for a luxury midsize SUV. The Reserve trim offers 997 litres (35.2 cubic feet) of cargo space behind the second row. It can go up to 1,947 litres (68.8 cubic feet) when you fold them down. The rear seats also come with the 40:20:40 layout, meaning that you can fold down just the middle row to place longer items, and the outboard rear seats would still be usable.

The Drive – Specs & Experience

The new Lincoln Nautilus offers an impressive package inside and out, except for the drivetrain choice. There is only one engine and transmission option for the gas-only model, which is a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine that pushes 250 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque matched with an 8-speed torque-converted automatic transmission and a standard all-wheel-drive system.

For a mid-size luxury SUV, I found the engine choice is not so impressive, unlike the rest of the vehicle. Even though it offers a decent amount of mid-range punch and roll-on power, you expect more from a luxury entry. Ford already has several different “Ecoboost” options including the 2.3 and 2.7-litre engines in their stable, they could have been a much better fit than the latest 2.0-litre engine. For people looking for the best fuel economy, there is a hybrid version that puts out more horsepower and torque, which uses the same engine, but with a continuously variable transmission.

Even though it deserves a more powerful engine, the 2.0-litre engine offers a smooth driving experience, as expected from a luxury entry. It collaborates flawlessly with the 8-speed automatic, and the shift points are smooth but predictable, which may vary based on the drive mode and driving style. From the drivetrain perspective, it does not want to rev high and wants to stay in the low and mid-RPM range for optimal torque delivery and a more refined driving experience.

Despite the boring drivetrain choice, the updated Nautilus is a terrific daily driver. Even though the 4-cylinder turbo engine can get loud at higher RPMs, the noise, vibration and harshness levels are low, softly sprung suspension isolates most of the road imperfections even with giant 22″ wheels, and has plenty of space for large families. Its relaxed road manners are not unique to the Nautilus, but it does not pretend to be a sporty SUV right from the beginning.

The Nautilus offers predictable handling character with some body roll, but it happens in a controllable fashion. The adaptive suspension is compliant, the chassis and steering wheel are relatively communicative, that’s the main reason it gives you more confidence in the corners. The small oval-shaped steering wheel feels a little weird until you get used to it. The driving position can be fine-tuned thanks to the highly adjustable steering wheel column and seats, so it can accommodate different road and driving styles easily.

The Verdict

The new Lincoln Nautilus is one of the most impressive luxury SUVs we have reviewed this year. It not only looks much more modern and attractive but the interior design & features make it more appealing to the younger audience looking for the latest technology and bigger screens while still offering the traditional interior layout with physical controls. It is a better luxury SUV than the outgoing model in every imaginable way. The only missed opportunity is the underwhelming drivetrain choice, which is an essential step for becoming a true luxury vehicle.

Engine2.0-litre turbocharged inline-4
Transmission & Drivetrain8-speed automatic & all-wheel drive
Max power (combined)250 hp @ 5500 rpm
Max torque (combined)280 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
0-100 km/h7.6 sec
Curb Weight4590 lbs – 2081 kg
Fuel Economy (observed)23 MPG – 10.1 L/100 km
Price (as tested)$78,745 CAD

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