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2021 Lincoln Nautilus Review By Larry Nutson

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2021 Lincoln Nautilus
Quiet Flight

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

The past year, and then some, has certainly been a tough one for automakers with the effects on business from the Covid-19 pandemic and most recently the microprocessor supply shortage. In spite of it all Lincoln sales are up 23 percent overall.

Lincoln’s Nautilus 5-passenger midsize utility vehicle is also seeing a sales increase with purchases up eleven percent in the first half of 2021. I last drove the Nautilus in 2019 when the updated version hit the streets with its new name as the successor to the Lincoln MKX.

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The 2021 Nautilus is freshened and further refined following Lincoln’s “Quiet Flight” design philosophy. On the outside there’s a new front fascia. In the cabin there’s an all-new instrument panel design and a new “Sync 4” infotainment system and a 13.2-inch touchscreen. A horizontal “piano-key” layout is used for gear selection with easily accessible audio and climate controls located just below.

Lincoln’s Phone As A Key smartphone capability using the Lincoln Way app is also new. You can lock, unlock and start the vehicle without the usual key fob. Opening the rear liftgate, raising or lowering windows, and locating the Nautilus in a parking lot by activating the horn and lights is also possible.

The new Nautilus comes standard with Lincoln Co-Pilot360 and available Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus which features a 360-degree camera with a front sensing system, Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go and lane-centering technology, Distance Alert/Distance Indication and Enhanced Active Park Assist and Evasive Steering Assist.

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Nautilus is offered in Standard and Reserve trims powered by a 250-hp turbo 2.0-L 4-cylinder mated to an 8-speed automatic. Both trims are available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. A top-of-the-line Black Label trim is powered by a 335-hp twin-turbo 2.7-L V6 also with an 8-speed automatic and is offered only with all-wheel drive.

EPA fuel economy ratings range from 19 to 22 city mpg and 25 or 26 highway mpg depending on engine and drive set-up.

Pricing starts at $42,500 for the Standard trim. The Reserve is priced at $49,550 and the Black Label at $65,090. Destination charge is an additional $995.

For this 2021 Nautilus drive experience I drove a Black Label trim finished in Flight Blue on the outside with the Chalet Theme leather cabin finish. Fitted options included a Cargo Utility Package ($365), Mini spare wheel/tire ($150), Roof-rack side rails in satin finish ($195), and Ultra Comfort 22-way power front seats ($1,500). The total hit $68,295 with the $995 destination fee.

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My wife and I road-tripped the Nautilus from Chicago and the shores of Lake Michigan across lower Michigan to the shores of Lake St. Clair for a family event. Immediately noticeable is the quietness of the cabin making for ease of conversation and music enjoyment. We both really enjoyed and appreciated the 22-way front seats with their power thigh extenders and air cushions with their massage function.

The new Sync 4 infotainment system with its large touchscreen is within close reach and easy to use. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability made for some podcast listening. The 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system delivered clear and crisp sounds as we changed music genres along our route.

The cabin is plenty roomy. Cargo capacity is 37.2 cu.ft. and increases to 68.8 cu.ft. with the rear seat folded. The rear hatch is hands-free foot-activated. Trailer tow rating is 3,500 lbs.

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Overall the Nautilus is relaxing to drive. It’s 190-inch length makes it nicely suitable for in-city driving. And with the 360-degree camera parking maneuvers become a breeze without any bumper “dings.” Ride and handling, steering, and braking are well balanced for comfort and yet with good response. The V6 delivers plenty of performance for every driving situation. On our road trip we easily achieved 26-27 mpg while driving at Michigan interstate speeds.

More information and details on the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus can be found at

To make ownership a bit easier Lincoln provides pickup and delivery for dealer service.

The Lincoln Motor Company ranks first among luxury brands in the most recent J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index, which measures satisfaction with the sales experience among new vehicle buyers and rejecters.

Coincidentally, a Gen-Y son-in-law of ours drives a new Nautilus and is pleased with its overall character and driving dynamics. He’s a repeat customer, as it replaced his 3-year-old MKX.

Happy motoring!

© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy