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2020 Lincoln Nautilus Review

The 2020 Lincoln Nautilus places in the middle of our luxury midsize SUV rankings. This SUV is comfortable and composed, and it features a nice interior, but most class rivals provide a sportier driving experience.

Pros & Cons

  • Posh, quiet cabin
  • Cushioned ride
  • Intuitive tech features
  • Good fuel economy
  • Uninspiring handling
  • No performance-oriented models
  • Undersized infotainment screen

7.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 6.9
Interior: 7.3
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.6 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Lincoln Nautilus a Good SUV?

Yes, the Lincoln Nautilus is a good SUV. It gets above-average fuel economy with each of its engines, and both deliver enough power for most driving situations. The Nautilus rides smoothly, has a handsome interior, and provides plenty of room for people and cargo. There’s an abundance of easy-to-use tech features as well. The biggest knock against this Lincoln crossover is that many class rivals are more athletic and fun to drive.

Should I Buy the Lincoln Nautilus?

If you don't care about having a sporty SUV, the Nautilus is a great choice because it delivers on just about every other front. It also costs less than many competitors, making it a solid value in the luxury midsize SUV class. That said, there are several other worthy candidates in the segment, so you may want to check out the Cadillac XT5, Audi Q7, and Mercedes-Benz GLE.

You may also want to consider other Lincoln and Ford models, including the Lincoln Aviator and Ford Edge.

Compare the Nautilus, XT5, and Edge »

Should I Buy a New or Used Lincoln Nautilus?

The 2020 Nautilus is relatively unchanged from 2019, so buyers can potentially save a bundle by shopping for a 2019 model while still getting essentially the same vehicle. The only notable change for 2020 is that the Select trim is dropped from the Nautilus lineup.

The Nautilus debuted for the 2019 model year, replacing the Lincoln MKX. The Nautilus is built on the same platform, essentially making it more like a refreshed MKX with updated styling than a brand-new model. It received a new turbo-four base engine (replacing the MKX's base V6) and several standard features, including a Wi-Fi hot spot, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. Prior to its replacement, the MKX saw no major changes since its 2016 redesign.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 MKX, 2018 MKX, and 2019 Nautilus reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018 MKX, 2019 Nautilus, and 2020 Nautilus »

We Did the Research for You: 16 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This 2020 Nautilus review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Lincoln Nautilus Cost?

The Nautilus carries a base price of $41,040. That's one of the lowest starting prices in the luxury midsize SUV class. The range-topping Nautilus Black Label starts at $63,800. That's not the lowest price of a top trim in the class, but it's below average compared to the competition, much of that owing to the fact that the Lincoln doesn't have a performance-oriented variant.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lincoln dealer.

Lincoln Nautilus Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Lincoln Nautilus or Cadillac XT5?

The Nautilus is a better overall SUV than the Cadillac XT5. The XT5 comes with a V6 that's more powerful than the Nautilus' base engine, but it’s weaker than the Lincoln's optional V6. Both luxury midsize SUVs deliver a comfortable ride and have cozy interiors, but the Nautilus comes with more cargo space than the XT5, as well as additional standard driver assistance features.

Which Is Better: Lincoln Nautilus or Ford Edge?

The Ford Edge and the Nautilus have a lot in common because Ford owns Lincoln, so there's a lot of overlap between the two brands. The Edge offers similar engines as its Lincoln cousin, but the Ford gets better fuel economy. The Lincoln has a more robust features list, but the Edge provides a bit more passenger space. The Ford can't match the overall quality of the Nautilus, but it costs significantly less, making it an interesting alternative from a value standpoint.

Compare the Nautilus, XT5, and Edge »

Nautilus Interior

How Many People Does the Nautilus Seat?

The Nautilus seats five people. The front seats provide good comfort and support, even in the base trim. The fully upgraded front seats, with heating, ventilation, and massage functions, feel sublime. The rear seats are comfortable too, with enough space for adults.

Nautilus and Child Car Seats

The Nautilus has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats. The rear middle seat comes with a tether anchor and has the ability to borrow a lower anchor from the side seats. The system is relatively easy to use, but some tether anchors can be confused for other hardware, and one of the lower anchors is set too deep in the seat.

Nautilus Interior Quality

The Nautilus looks great inside. The cabin features attractive styling and plush materials, particularly in the Black Label trim. Occupants are well-insulated from outside noise, even at highway speeds.

Nautilus Cargo Space

This Lincoln has a typical amount of cargo space for the luxury midsize SUV class. It gives you 37.2 cubic feet with the rear seats up, which is plenty of room for the family's vacation luggage. Fold the rear seats down, and capacity expands to 68.8 cubic feet.

Nautilus Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Nautilus include dual-zone automatic climate control and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, an 11-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and two USB ports.

Available features include a panoramic sunroof, a rear-seat entertainment system, a 13- or 19-speaker Revel audio system, HD Radio, wireless device charging, and navigation.

Some class rivals offer larger touch screens than the Nautilus,' but few infotainment systems work better than the SYNC 3. The screen responds well to inputs and features intuitive menu layouts, making it easy to find and adjust settings. There are physical controls in addition to the touch screen, and the onboard navigation works great.

Read more about interior »

Nautilus Performance

Nautilus Engine: Getting the Job Done

The Nautilus comes standard with a 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a 335-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 is available. The base engine delivers ample power and adequate acceleration for city and highway driving. The V6 feels more energetic and provides better acceleration, but it's still no match for some of the high-output engines offered by other luxury midsize SUVs.

Nautilus Gas Mileage: A Bit Above Average

The Nautilus equipped with the base engine and front-wheel drive gets 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Those ratings are a bit better than many rivals'. With the V6 engine, which is only offered in all-wheel-drive models, ratings dip to 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Nautilus Ride and Handling: Taking the Sport out of Sport Utility Vehicle

Many class rivals feel more agile and better equipped to aggressively tackle winding roads than the Nautilus. That's not necessarily a bad thing, however, as Lincoln intends for this SUV to be a cruising crossover. It’s a goal it largely achieves, as the Nautilus delivers a smooth ride even over rough roads.

Nautilus Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Nautilus can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Nautilus Reliability

Is the Lincoln Nautilus Reliable?

The 2020 Lincoln Nautilus has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Lincoln Nautilus Warranty

The Lincoln Nautilus comes with a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Nautilus Safety

Nautilus Crash Test Results

The 2020 Nautilus earned an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Nautilus received five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover evaluation.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2020 Nautilus.

Nautilus Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features in the Nautilus include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking. Also included is MyKey, which encourages safe driving by letting you do things like set speed and audio volume limits for secondary drivers. Some of these features are part of Lincoln's Co-Pilot360 suite of safety technology.

Available active safety features include a surround-view parking camera system, front parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.

Read more about safety »

Nautilus Dimensions and Weight

The Nautilus is 15.8 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,144 to 4,529 pounds.

Where Is the Lincoln Nautilus Built?

Lincoln builds the 2020 Nautilus in Canada.

Which Lincoln Nautilus Model Is Right for Me?

The Nautilus comes in three trims: base, Reserve, and Black Label. Many buyers will be just fine with the well-equipped base trim. However, it's the only trim that doesn't offer the V6 engine.

It's also worth considering the Reserve trim. It comes with several comfort and convenience features that the base trim doesn’t have. The Black Label trim offers even more luxury, but the price increase is so steep that upgrading probably isn't worth it for most buyers.

Lincoln Nautilus

The base Nautilus carries a starting price of $41,040. It comes with a 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. This is the only trim not available with the twin-turbo V6 engine.

Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, an 11-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and two USB ports.

Standard driver assistance features include MyKey, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking. Some of these features are part of Lincoln's Co-Pilot360 suite of safety technology.

You can add all-wheel drive for $2,495.

Lincoln Nautilus Reserve

The Nautilus Reserve has a starting price of $48,500. In addition to the base trim's features, the Reserve comes with a hands-free power liftgate, a panoramic moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, navigation, wireless device charging, a 13-speaker Revel audio system, and HD Radio.

All-wheel drive is a $2,495 upgrade. It'll cost you $2,500 to upgrade to the 335-horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine, but opting for the V6 requires you to also add all-wheel drive, so it'll really cost $4,995.

Lincoln Nautilus Black Label

The Nautilus Black Label starts at $63,800. The Black Label comes standard with the twin-turbocharged V6 engine and all-wheel drive. It also has Venetian leather upholstery, an adaptive suspension, a surround-view parking camera system, parallel and perpendicular park assist, a 19-speaker Revel audio system, and several styling touches and accessories not available in other Nautilus trims. Any features available in lower trims are offered in the Black Label.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lincoln dealer.

See 2020 Lincoln Nautilus specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Lincoln Nautilus is a fine SUV. It has a spacious interior, a comfortable ride, and user-friendly tech features. It's not as athletic as many of its brethren, which is enough to knock it down in our luxury midsize SUV rankings, but the Nautilus remains a solid choice in a highly competitive class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • As mid-size luxury SUVs go, the 2020 Nautilus is a unique choice with a distinctly American flavor that reminds us of Lincoln sedans from decades ago. Its plush ride, roomy interior, and relaxed driving dynamics will satisfy buyers seeking shelter from crumbling roads and gridlocked traffic. … Lincoln equips the Nautilus with plenty of features as well, including a standard suite of driver-assistance technologies and plenty of infotainment goodies. The top-shelf Black Label model is truly deluxe, but it's also truly expensive, putting it head-to-head with more desirable offerings from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Volvo. Compared with those heavy-hitters, the Nautilus still lacks the panache to lure buyers to Lincoln showrooms." -- Car and Driver
  • "Looking closely, this 'all-new' model feels more like the sum of many small improvements; a refresh rather than a reinvention. From the powertrain to the cabin tech and interior design, this still feels like an MKX with a new name. That's fine because, at the macro level, the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus is overall a better, more luxurious vehicle than the MKX it replaces and a much better fit, both stylistically and in terms of content, with current stable of Lincoln vehicles." -- CNET (2019)
  • "Lincoln's goals seem to be different from many of its competitors, as it doesn't seem focused on becoming most '-est' of any category — not the fastest, wildest, biggest, cheapest or technologically advanced-est. Instead, the company is betting on comfort and lifestyle. It's hoping that leasing or buying a Lincoln can make you feel safe and supported from the moment the lights wink at you in the driveway to the day the concierge picks up your car for service and drops off a loaner. Combine that with a vehicle that is comfortable and fashionable, and this Nautilus might be the boat for you." -- Edmunds (2019)
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