MSRP
$40,340
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2019 Lincoln Nautilus Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.8

The all-new 2019 Lincoln Nautilus doesn't have the athletic chops of many class rivals, but it’s a fine daily driver. It delivers a smooth ride, even over rough roads. This Lincoln offers two turbocharged engines that get good gas mileage and have ample power.

  • "Don't be dissuaded by the fact that the 2019 Nautilus' base engine has two fewer cylinders than what you're used to – the engine moves the Nautilus with enough authority around town that it doesn't feel like a slug. And thanks to the new engine, fuel economy and driving range see meaningful improvements compared to that old 3.7-liter V-6." -- Motor Trend
  • "The Nautilus isn't intended to be a sporty vehicle, but the AWD 2.7L I drove had plenty of power to climb hills and pass on highways." -- The Detroit Free Press
  • Comfort mode doesn't offer the body control, roll or otherwise, that we'd prefer. Most buyers probably won't venture out of Normal mode, which we found taut enough to keep us from getting queasy on winding mountain roads yet able to provide a blissful ride on the freeway. Sport seemed to firm up the suspension only slightly, but it does benefit the steering. The default setting isn't overboosted – surprising, perhaps, for a luxury crossover with zero sporting pretensions – but the added bit of effort in Sport mode provides an extra measure of confidence in a commendably precise system." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The Nautilus features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder base engine that puts out 250 horsepower. It only has a hint of turbo lag and feels smooth and powerful enough for any driving situation, making it a great choice for daily driving. 

You can opt for a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 that makes 335 horsepower. This engine makes the Nautilus feel noticeably quicker off the line than the base engine. However, it’s not enough to turn this Lincoln into a rocket that some German crossovers can be.

Each of the two engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and doesn't hesitate to downshift when more power is needed. A properly equipped Nautilus can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

With its base engine, the Nautilus earns an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The V6 gets nearly identical numbers – 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Both engines deliver above-average fuel economy for the class.

  • "The 2.0-liter is smooth and refined. Power delivery is linear, and the new eight-speed is a huge improvement, with tightly spaced ratios, [and] no reluctance to downshift. … As expected, the V6 is noticeably quicker, with a surge of power at 3,000 rpm and a strong pull up to six grand. This engine uses a different eight-speed (both are designed and built by Ford, according to engineer Jim Pfeiffer), and its unique gearing is well-matched to the V6." -- Autoblog
  • "The Nautilus has plenty of hill-climbing power. If you need a little more oomph, just toggle the paddle shift to drop down a gear or two. If you want a more excitement, press the Sport mode button and you'll get a more responsive throttle and a stiffer suspension. The Nautilus is no torpedo – we wouldn't put it up against sporty SUVs such as the Audi SQ5 or the Porsche Macan – but it could hold its own rivals such as the Mercedes GLC." -- Edmunds
  • "In this trim, the SUV makes 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque -- healthy numbers for a vehicle of this size that translate into smooth and potent performance on the road and decent fuel economy." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

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 – a goal it largely achieves, as the Nautilus delivers a smooth ride even over rough roads. There are three driving modes to choose from (Normal, Comfort, and Sport) that alter the SUV's dynamics. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • Although the roads on which we drove the 2019 Nautilus were nearly devoid of potholes and imperfections, every Lincoln we drove provided a reasonably comfortable ride – even the ones with gorgeous, oversized 21-inch wheels. … Although the crossover doesn't drive sloppily on winding roads, the Lincoln feels more disconnected than an Alfa Romeo Stelvio or sporty variants of more luxury-minded competitors." -- Motor Trend
  • "Speaking of handling, my model features an adaptive suspension with three selectable modes. The default Normal mode is probably the best setting for daily driving given the Nautilus' comfort goals. In this setting, the SUV absorbs bumps well while offering surprisingly responsive steering. However, the lack of feel and abundance of roll and dive when pushed hard were disconcerting on faster corners. The Comfort setting is what I'm calling 'pothole mode,' perfect for slow-paced driving over poorly maintained roads, but much too soft at speed for my liking. Sport mode offers the best responsiveness without much tradeoff in ride quality, reining in much of the body movement and waking up the steering a bit, which makes the Nautilus feel more confident at speed." -- CNET
  • "Most of the settings just made the whole thing jumpy, like a lab rat with too much caffeine. They are settings that are not right for this crossover -- or this class of crossover. I settled on comfort, and both I and, seemingly, the Nautilus felt happiest there, as if the car was originally set for this. Sure, it rolled a little more in that setting, and the shifts weren't as quick, but you adjust for that as you corner and everything's fine." -- AutoWeek
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