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2020 Lincoln Nautilus Performance Review


Performance: 7.0

The 2020 Lincoln Nautilus isn't the sportiest SUV in the luxury midsize SUV class, but it’s a great cruising vehicle. 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 (2019)
  • "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 (2019)
  • 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 (2019)

Acceleration and Power

The Nautilus comes standard with a 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder base engine. You can opt for a 335-horsepower twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6.

Both engines have plenty of power for most driving situations, though the V6 delivers more potent acceleration. Still, neither engine has the kind of verve that you can find in many rival powertrains, particularly some of the performance-oriented German models.

Each engine is 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 and front-wheel drive, the Nautilus gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Those ratings are above average for the luxury midsize SUV class. With the V6 engine, ratings drop slightly to 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, though it's worth noting that the V6 is only available in all-wheel-drive models.

  • "… Neither engine felt underpowered in city driving, but the V-6's extra power is handy during highway merging and passing maneuvers." -- Car and Driver
  • "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 (2019)
  • "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 (2019)

Handling and Braking

The Nautilus prioritizes comfort over sportiness, and the results speak for themselves. This Lincoln is easy to drive and rides smoothly over rough roads. On winding roads, however, some reviewers report too much body lean, and the Nautilus lacks the agile feeling you get in many luxury midsize SUV rivals. There are three drive 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.

  • In keeping with the Lincoln brand's luxury ethos, the Nautilus is a soft-shoed crossover that's happiest wafting lazily along—to a fault. Its available adaptive suspension helps smooth impacts from potholes. Reserve and Black Label models, along with the all-wheel-drive Select, come with three driving modes (Comfort, Normal, and Sport) for an extra layer of personalization." -- Car and Driver
  • 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 (2019)
  • "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 (2019)
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2020 Lincoln Nautilus

MSRP: $41,040 - $63,800

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