2024 Lincoln Nautilus First Look: A Red Hot Hybrid SUV
Sitting inside a Lincoln is a pleasant place to be and one reason the American luxury brand has been making a comeback in recent years. The latest family member to up its game is the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus five-passenger midsize SUV that plays in one of the most popular segments. It made its global debut today at an event in New York City, followed by an unveiling at the Shanghai Motor Show.
The third-generation Nautilus rides on a modified version of the C2 platform. It is bigger: 3.2 inches longer with a wheelbase that grew by 2.0 inches, 1.1 inches wider and 2.0 inches taller. All the sheetmetal is new and buyers have the option of a hybrid for the first time.
For those keeping score: the smaller Lincoln Corsair and larger Lincoln Aviator SUVs have plug-in hybrid variants while the Lincoln Navigator is internal combustion engine only, for now. Longer-term plans are for the brand to go all-electric. We are still waiting to see the four electric vehicles due to start rolling out over the next few years—Lincoln plans to electrify its entire portfolio by 2030.
In the interim, the five-passenger Nautilus was due for more love. The Nautilus replaced the Lincoln MKX for the 2019 model year, a name change that was applauded alongside the midcycle refresh that was centered on the exterior styling. Lincoln followed up with a stunning new interior and new 13.2-inch screen for the 2021 model year.
Designing the New Nautilus
The third generation sports a new face we first saw on the redesigned Corsair that goes on sale in May. The Nautilus was designed to be more mature and athletic than the larger Aviator, more playful than the noble Navigator, and pick up some of the character of the Lincoln Star concept SUV.
Lincoln has joined the trend of running a light bar across the front of the vehicle with an illuminated logo that glows in the center. It is a look showing up on Volkswagens, Hyundais, even the new 2024 Buick Envista. The new LED pixel headlights come to life in an animated sequence. The overall look of the front works to replicate a bird with uplifted wings, ready to take flight and the motif continues at the back of the SUV where the wing is down because gliding is underway. Silent glide has been a mantra for Lincoln for a number of years now.
For the 2024 model year, each trim has a different grille and fascia—sportier on the Reserve and more elegant on the Black Label. Designers said they had to fight to have different fascias for each trim and are glad they won that battle.
There are three new exterior colors among the nine options. All trims of the Nautilus will have a contrasting black canopy, designed to make the SUV look lower and sleeker on the road. The Jet Appearance Package is available on all trims, offering two-tone paint, high-gloss black wheels, and other blacked out trim elements.
On the back, the Lincoln lettering is now integrated behind glass, below the brake light.
Step Inside My Sanctuary
Lincoln aspires to make every interior a sanctuary. The Nautilus is no exception. Drivers are invited to adjust the 24-way massaging power seat, choose ambient lighting, crank up the 28-speaker Revel audio system and release one of three available fragrances from cartridges in the center armrest. The optional multi-sensory experience that allows you to customize your zen space is dubbed Lincoln Rejuvenate. Rear seat passengers have ample leg room and can get heated seats.
Designers use a series of woods, crystal controls, glossy panels, and other trim tricks to create themed interiors like the carryover “Chalet” in the Black Label and a new Redwood forest interior. A flat-top steering wheel is standard.
Inside the star feature is 48 inches of screen stretching across the width of the vehicle. It is actually two 26-inch screens under one piece of glass for the that give the appearance of a never-ending stretch of pixelated graphics. Below is an 11.1-inch touchscreen for the controls. The infotainment system will have an enhanced suite of Google apps but will remain compatible for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
2024 Nautilus: Two New Powertrains
Gone are the two powertrains in the current Nautilus: a 250-hp, 280-lb-ft 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 and 335-hp, 380 lb-ft 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6. In their place are a pair of new, but different 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4s designed to offer similar performance with improved fuel efficiency. The standard engine generates 250 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission—the same base engine as the new Corsair. Optional is a new, but different, 2.0-liter I-4 for the hybrid and produces 310 hp with a 100-kW, handling the power via a CVT. It is unique to the Nautilus.
Vehicle engineering manager Dan Boxeth says after a read of the market, they decided Nautilus buyers would appreciate a hybrid—especially with 310 hp—but were not ready to go further into electrification with a plug-in hybrid. Fuel economy numbers have not yet been certified but we are told they will be improved.
All-wheel drive is standard and the SUV comes on wheels ranging from 19 inches to 22 and Co-Pilot360 safety and driver-assist systems. The Nautilus is equipped with optional adaptive suspension, hands-free liftgate, and a panoramic roof.
BlueCruise 1.2: Hands-Free Driving Now on Nautilus
The Nautilus will have the most tech of the lineup to date and will be the first Lincoln to offer BlueCruise 1.2, the hands-free highway driving assist system that includes the ability to make lane changes by tapping the turn signal. BlueCruise (which used to be called ActiveGlide) comes standard and free on top trims for the first four years and requires a subscription to continue. On lower trims it is an option after a 90-day free taste. The intelligent adaptive cruise control adjusts speed on a curve and adds a new lane repositioning feature that shifts the vehicle to one side of the lane if there are adjacent cars, especially bigger vehicles such as semis.
The 2024 Nautilus goes on sale in the first quarter of 2024, following the new Lincoln Corsair that will be in showrooms in the next few weeks. The 2024 Nautilus will be imported from China. The current Nautilus for North America comes from the Oakville Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada, but that facility will be retooled to make electric vehicles starting in late 2024.
2024 Lincoln Nautilus Specs
|Base Price||$45,000 – $70,000|
|Layout||Front-engine, AWD, 5 passenger midsize SUV|
|Engines||2.0L/250-hp/275-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4; 2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 plus 100 kW electric motor, 310 hp comb|
|Transmissions||8-speed auto; CVT|
|Curb Weight||4,350 – 4,550 pounds (mfr est. )|
|L x W x H||193.2 x 79.8 x 68.2 inches|
|0-60 MPH Test||6.0-6.8 seconds (MT est. )|
|EPA Range||Not yet available.|
|On Sale||Q1 2024|
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