The first car I ever owned was a Lincoln. Specifically, a 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV. My parents gave me the two-year-old family car on the occasion of my 16th birthday in 1978. Or course, the caveat was that while it was mine, I would have to get a job to make payments to them each month. No matter, that first car, that Lincoln, was big, luxurious for its time and stayed with me through high school and my first few years in the military. It was cavernous inside and on more than one occasion, it could carry up to eight female companions to all manner of places; much to my hormone fueled delight.
The Lincoln Continental was discontinued in 2002, but it and the Lincoln brand has always carried a somewhat special place in my heart. Ford brought back the Lincoln Continental for 2017 as a tenth generation to replace the MKS and while I wished them well, sadly the sales figures in the ensuing years are less than encouraging.
That is of course because we as a people, at least when it comes to automobiles, want SUVs. Back in the 1970s there were really no such thing as an SUV. Yes, there were Broncos, Jeeps and such, but normally they were owned by high school shop teachers, or those who lived way back in the woods. Nowadays no self-respecting soccer mom would dare prowl the suburbs in anything less than an SUV. Hipsters of course have to have a hybrid, or plug in, to crawl through the drive through at Starbucks behind the wheel of their tiny crossover or small SUV.
Either way the big sedans, like the Continental Mark IV, are too old school for today’s generation, too passé.
However, Lincoln has remained relevant despite this. While some of the old school brands, Pontiac, Plymouth, AMC, Mercury have all gotten off their last exit, Lincoln is still very much in the game. And their latest entry into the SUV market may be just the reason why. Lincoln sent me one for a recent week, and it was indeed a good week.
Lincoln is still Ford’s flagship luxury brand and for 2019 they introduced the Nautilus. It replaced the MKX, and in fact is based on the second-generation MKX which was itself introduced in 2016. So basically, the Nautilus is an updated MKX, which is a good thing, because as SUVs go the MKX was a very good one.
The only change for 2020 was the dropping of the mid-tier Select trim. The 2020 Lincoln Nautilus is available in three different trim levels: base, Reserve and Black Label. Each comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (250 horsepower, 280 lb-ft of torque) and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Stepping up through the variants gives access to more option packages and more standard equipment.
Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. You can option in a 2.7-liter V6 engine (335 hp, 380 lb-ft) on the Reserve and it’s standard on the Black Label. All-wheel drive is standard with that engine.
The base Nautilus comes nicely equipped with features such as power-adjustable front seats, driver-seat memory settings, heated front seats and simulated leather upholstery. There is also an 8-inch touchscreen with the Sync 3 interface, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, and a 10-speaker sound system. Driver assist includes blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
The optional Equipment Group 101A package adds a hands-free liftgate, premium leather upholstery, a universal garage door opener and a navigation system.
The Reserve trim gets you upgrades such as panoramic sunroof, premium leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and a power-adjustable and heated steering wheel. An adaptive suspension is also included if you upgrade to either the V6 engine or the 21-inch wheels. Available options include the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus package (a surround-view camera system plus more driver aids), a navigation system, upgraded front seats, and either a 13- or 19-speaker Revel audio system.
The top-of-the-line Black Label is comparable to the Reserve but is loaded with just about every feature as standard. Lincoln also offers different paint and interior theme options for the Black Label and includes the special Black Label concierge service.
My tester for the week was the top of the line Black Label with the larger engine and all wheel drive.
The exterior features a front grill inspired by the Navigator, but still looks like an updated MKX, which is of course what it is. And that’s not a bad thing at all.
The interior is where the Nautilus really shines. It’s roomy, plush and luxurious. It’s reminiscent of that Mark IV I had all those years ago. An old school feel with a new school makeover. Of course, my Mark IV didn’t have seat massagers, my favorite all time automotive accessory of all time ever. The Nautilus had that and more. On the road the 2.7-liter was plenty of power, and like my old Mark IV, the ride was cushy, and the Nautilus seemed to float effortlessly and smoothly.
Overall, the Nautilus is a very nice place to be, a reminder of the Lincoln days of yore. It could of course carry eight female companions should I wish that, but my hormones fuel very little these days, and besides my wife gets pretty upset when I bring extra guests home for dinner uninvited.
The 2020 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label AWD
MSRP: $ 64,280
MSRP (as tested): $66,080
Engine (as tested): 2.7 Liter V6 335 horsepower @ 5500 rpm, 380 ft.-lb. torque @ 3250 rpm
Transmission: 8 speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 19 city, 26 highway, 21 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested mixed conditions): 23 mpg
Base Curb Weight (pounds) 4305
Exterior Dimensions (inches)
Width, without mirrors: 76.1
Front Track Width: 64.8
Rear Track Width: 64.7
Minimum Ground Clearance: 7.9
Passenger / Seating Capacity: 5
Total Passenger Volume (cubic feet): 108.3
Front Head Room (inches): 37.8
Front Leg Room (inches): 42.8
Front Shoulder Room (inches): 58.9
Front Hip Room (inches): 56.4
Second Row Head Room (inches): 38.6
Second Row Leg Room (inches): 39.6
Second Row Shoulder Room (inches): 59
Second Row Hip Room (inches): 55.6
Cargo Space/Area Behind Front Row (cubic feet): 68.8
Cargo Space/Area Behind Second Row (cubic feet): 37.2
Cargo Space/Area Behind Third Row (cubic feet): 37.2
4 Basic Years / 50,000 Basic Miles
6 Drivetrain Years / 70,000 Drivetrain Miles
5 Corrosion Years / Unlimited Corrosion Miles
Unlimited Roadside Assistance Years / Unlimited Roadside Assistance Miles
4 Maintenance Years / 50,000 Maintenance Miles
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