2022 Lincoln Nautilus - Driven
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Once known as the MKX, the Lincoln Nautilus rides comfortably in the two-row midsize SUV segment and is underpinned by the same platform as the Ford Edge. As little more than a glorified Edge with a different look and nicer materials, the Nautilus is far from being the most exciting in its class, but it does seem to fit right in with people more focused on comfort than sporty capability. Lincoln updated the Nautilus for the 2021 model year, so for 2022, there’s nothing new to talk about. The Nautilus is still offered with your choice of two engines, one being a four-cylinder and the higher trims featuring a larger V-6 that offers ample power for its class. While most people will tell you that the Nautilus exists to compete with models like the Cadillac XT5, Lexus RX, and Genesis GV80, we’ve also looked to the slightly smaller BMW X3 and Audi Q5 – both sit in similar price brackets and bring a fair bang for your buck. Now, after spending a week with the Nautilus, it’s time we tell you a little more about it in detail.
2022 Lincoln Nautilus Updates: How’s it Compare vs 2021 Lincoln Nautilus?
The Lincoln Nautilus didn’t change at all from 2021 to 2022, but that’s a good thing as it was thoroughly updated for the 2021 model year. With that year changeover, the Nautilus was offered with three new exterior colors and an all-new dashboard that’s highlighted by the new 13.2-inch infotainment system. The older center console and its plethora of buttons have been replaced by something more modern and minimalistic. The gear shifter has even been replaced by Lincoln’s new piano-key interface. Interior color options include Sandstone or Black Ebony while the range-topping Black Label models can be equipped with Chalet and Flight.
2022 Lincoln Nautilus Trims
|Standard||2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||8-Speed Automatic||Front-Wheel DriveAll-Wheel Drive||$43,595|
|Reserve||2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||8-Speed Automatic||Front-Wheel DriveAll-Wheel Drive||$49,995|
|Black Label||2.7L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas||8-Speed Automatic||All-Wheel Drive||$66,185|
Lincoln Nautilus Exterior
The 2022 Lincoln Nautilus has the same updated look the model line received for the 2021 model year. Despite this, you’ll probably have a hard time distinguishing the 2022 model from any of the models pre-2021. Standard and Reserve models featured 18-inch wheels as standard while the Black Label jumps straight to 21-inch wheels. The entire lineup receives LED headlamps, LED running lights, and automatic high beams, while the Black Label has LED multi-projector headlamps. The entire lineup comes standard with a power liftgate and chrome exhaust outlets, but you have to go for the Reserve of Black Label trims to get the panoramic vista roof included on the standard features list.
All versions of the Nautilus measure in at the same 190-inches long with a 112.2-inch wheelbase. The width with the mirrors folded is a reasonable 78.7 inches while the mirrors in place increase side clearance to 86.1 inches. All models max out at 66.2 inches higher. The base model with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder and FWD is the lightest of the pack at 4,165 pounds or 4,339 pounds with AWD. The Black Label is not only the most expensive but also the heaviest at 4,545 pounds. It does have the larger 2.7-liter V-6, though, so there’s no penalty to performance from the extra weight and, in fact, the engine is a big part of the weight increase.
|Length:||190 Inches||Wheelbase:||112.2 Inches|
|Width (W/O Mirrors):||76.1 Inches||Front Track:||64.8 Inches|
|Height:||66.2 Inches||Rear Track:||64.7 Inches|
The Lincoln Nautilus is available with 12 different exterior color options, 11 of which are available to even the base model. No-cost paint options include Green Gem, Silver Radiance, Artisan Blue, Infinite Black, and Asher Gray. For $685 you can upgrade to Iced Mocha, Ceramic Pearl, Flight Blue, Red Carpet, Pristine White, and Burgundy Velvet. If you saw that cool Chroma Elite Copper color, you’ll have to go with the range-topping Black Label trim and pony up $1,750. It’s the only for-cost paint option for the Black Label trim, however, there are only six other colors to choose from leaving some only available to the lesser models.
|Red Carpet||Burgundy Velvet||Infinite Black|
|Ceramic Pearl||Flight Blue||Green Gem|
|Iced Mocha||Chroma Elite Copper (Chromoflare)||Asher Gray|
|Pristine White||Silver Radiance||Artisan Blue|
The Lincoln Nautilus wasn’t built with performance in mind, so it’s not the SUV to buy if you were hoping to get to the local Whole Foods and back home in record time. The standard four-cylinder and optional (standard on Black Label) V-6 offer adequate performance for the segment. The standard four-cylinder engine delivers 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. It’s nothing to write home about, but it’ll get you to 60 mph in around seven seconds. FWD is standard but AWD is an option across the lineup where it’s not standard.
Meanwhile, the 2.7-liter V-6 is good for 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, which means you get a lot more motivation when you put the hammer down. It’s standard on the Black Label and optional on the Reserve. Independent tests from Motor Trend have pegged this engine as being able to do 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. Top speed hasn’t been published for either model, but we’re assuming the base engine is good for around 130-150 mph while the V-6 could get you up to 155 mph or so. With the Class II towing package, the Nautilus can tow as much as 3,500 pounds, but you can’t get it as a standalone option as it’s only available with the Reserve II Package which adds almost $8,500 to your take-home price.
Engine and Transmission
The 2.0-liter engine is found in the base model and the Reserve trim, which we’re told is the most popular among the three trims. It comes standard with FWD, but you can option it with AWD. The turbocharged V-6 comes standard on the Black Label trim, but can be optioned on the Reserve trim, but is only available with AWD. The base engine isn’t exactly sluggish, but after spending time with the 2.7-liter V-6 and its oodles of power, it’s hard not to recommend it despite its very premium price tag.
Regardless of the trim level and engine you choose, an eight-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties. It’s the same transmission offered in the Ford Edge, but strangely enough, it seems to offer better performance and doesn’t seem to struggle with shifting anywhere near as much. The difference is so evident it would be hard to believe that Lincoln didn’t provide different calibration for the transmission, but that hasn’t been confirmed. You do still get the feeling of odd gear ratios when you really put the hammer down, though, so don’t expect a perfect experience all of the time. The most common thing we noticed was a struggle to downshift, literally taking a second or more to respond to heavy throttle input. It was long enough that at times it seemed we missed our overtake opportunity.
|Lincoln Nautilus||Lincoln Nautilus V-6|
|Engine||2.0-liter inline-four||2.7-Liter V-6|
|Horsepower||250 @ 5,500 RPM||335 @ 5,500 RPM|
|Torque||280 LB-FT @ 3,000 RPM||380 Lb-FT @ 3,250 RPM|
|Driveline||FWD or AWD||AWD Only|
|Suspension||Four-Wheel independent||Four-Wheel independent|
|Curb Weight||4,165 LBS||4,545 LBS|
|Towing Capacity||3,500 LBS||3,500 LBS|
|0-60 mph||7.0 Seconds||6.0 Seconds|
|Top Speed||138 mph (est)||152 mph (est)|
Handling and Driving Impressions
If you’re looking for something with a resume that includes sporty handling and breakneck performance, then you should probably look elsewhere because that’s not what the Lincoln Nautilus is all about. The Nautilus is more geared towards comfort ride quality, which is where it excels quite nicely. Ride comfort is beyond impressive, even on less-that-favorable roads. This isn’t quite as true when you opt for the Black Label with the 21-inch wheels as those do have an effect on ride quality, but that’s the price you pay for riding on those big, gorgeous wheels. Steering is super light with little feedback, but it’s to be expected here as this is a cruiser, not a corner carver. Dealers might try to trick you into thinking that the “S” drive mode will remedy this and prepare you for hitting some back roads, but in our experience, “S” mode changed very little about the Nautilus’ attitude.
While this might not seem like we’re being too friendly to Lincoln at the moment, don’t take these words at face value by themselves. See, most automakers aim to be sporty and some of them truly miss the mark. Lincoln took the other path and aimed for luxurious comfort instead. By leaning in that direction, the Nautilus almost gives us that old-school luxury car feeling that is quite honestly very rare in a modern car these days. In town driving, for example, is one of the places that the Nautilus shines thanks to minimal cabin noise and a cool demeanor. The Revel audio system and massaging seats are also top-notch. The overall cabin experience is great, and while it might be a hard sell to an Audi or BMW enthusiast, it certainly ranks right up there with the best premium vehicles on the market.
Nautilus SUV Gas Mileage
The 2022 Lincoln Nautilus does earn fairly decent fuel economy for this segment, but it’s not offered as a hybrid, so it’s not exactly as good as it could be. The four-cylinder Nautilus with FWD managed 21 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. Opting for the 2.0-liter with the AWD will cost you one point across the board with 20/25/22. If you buy the Nautilus Black Label (or opt for the Reserve trim with a V-6) then you’ll get 19 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined. It should go without saying that if you do mainly highway driving, opting for the V-6 won’t hurt you very much in terms of economy, so it’s something to keep in mind.
|Lincoln Nautilus 2.0 FWD||21||26||23|
|Lincoln Nautilus 2.0 AWD||20||25||22|
|Lincoln Nautilus 2.7 AWD||19||25||21|
When Lincoln launched the new Nautilus, the interior was, arguably, its weakest point. Fortunately, the company listened to consumers and journalists alike, and with the 2021 model year update, that problem was effectively solved. Once an interior that couldn’t keep up with even entry-level vehicles, the Nautilus now features an elegant, beautiful interior that’s also minimalistic. The centerpiece is clearly the new 13.2-inch touchscreen display that sits ever so elegantly on the top of the dash, just above the new and compact air vents.
Fortunately, Lincoln kept the climate controls and even the basic audio controls separate from the display, but this is fine considering how updated the center console is. Interior space, in general, is ample for all passengers, and the new interior colors work very well with the design. The Black Label features Venetian leather that really pushed the Nautilus into a place where it can really compete with premium brands like Mercedes, BMW, and Audi.
Seating and Interior Space
The Nautilus has two rows of seating with enough room for five full-grown adults. The front of the cabin has 42.8 inches of legroom, but it drops to 39.6 inches in the rear. Headroom comes in at 39.9 inches up front and 39.2 inches in the rear, but if you go with the Black Label or Reserve, you get the panoramic sunroof as standard and the headroom drops a bit. It’s not enough that you’ll notice, but there is a bit less.
With comfort being at the top of Lincoln’s priority list, it should be no surprise that the company’s comfort front seats with power adjustability, power lumbar support, and driver memory are standard across the range. Reserve and Black Label models come standard with heating and ventilation in the front seats as well as heated rear outboard seats. If there’s one thing that you can count on, it’s that you’ll be comfortable in the Nautilus on short trips to the store or week-long cross-country road trips.
|Front Headroom||39.2 Inches|
|Front Shoulder Room||58.9 Inches|
|Front Hip Room||56.4 Inches|
|Front Leg Room||39.6 Inches|
|Rear Headroom||39.2 Inches|
|Rear Shoulder Room||59.0 Inches|
|Rear Hip Room||55.6 Inches|
|Rear Leg Room||39.6 Inches|
Interior Colors and Materials
When Lincoln updated the Nautilus for 2021, it made some upgrades to the materials available inside and introduced some new colors. That standard model comes with Luxury Soft Touch upholstery that can be had in either Ebony or Sandstone. Standard trim is linear brushed aluminum, but you can upgrade to leather upholstery with the same color options for the added cost of $1,815. You do get premium leather as standard on Reserve models, though, and you can have that in Ebony, Slate, Sandstone, or my personal favorite, the Ebony and Roast Brown combination. If you don’t like the brushed aluminum trim, you can go for Santos Rosewood or Espresso Ash Swirl.
As for the Black Label trim, your options are a little limited, but that’s because it’s already very well equipped. Things start out with Alpine Venetian leather upholstery. There are two themes to choose from, including the Flight theme or the Chalet theme, the latter of which features Silverwood trim and cashmere leather on the steering wheel and seats.
Nautilus Trunk and Cargo Space
The Nautilus won’t win any awards in terms of cargo space, but it doesn’t fall dead last, either. With all seats in place, the Nautilus will swallow up 37.2 cubic-feet of cargo which is more than you’ll get in a Mercedes GLE, the smaller Audi Q5, and the BMW X3. Lay down the 60:40 folding rear seats, and you’ll be able to carry as much as 68.8 cubic-feet of cargo room.
Along with the 2021 update, the Nautilus now features an impressive amount of interior storage space too. The front armrest features a storage bin, two cupholders, and there’s even a smaller cubby under the center console buttons. Lift up the center console lid and you’ll find another sizeable storage area. As one would expect, an overhead sunglasses holder is standard across the lineup.
Nautilus Infotainment and Features
With a starting price well into the $40,000 range, it should be no surprise that Lincoln offers plenty of features as standard. The list includes dual-zone climate control and the power-adjustable front comfort seats, even on the entry-level model. Keyless entry, keyless ignition, a power tailgate, three 12-volt power outlets, and remote start also highlight the features list. As for safety, each model includes Lincoln’s Co-Pilot 360 suite with the following features:
- Forward collision avoidance
- Pedestrian detection
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Lane keep assist
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Automatic high beams
The Black Label adds some more features onto this list, including forward sensing, enhanced active park assist, and a surround-view camera – all of which can be options on the Reserve.
The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster carried over unchanged from the pre-facelifted model, but it’s about the only thing that was left over inside. Meanwhile, the Reserve trim includes a number of extra standard features, including
- Hands-free liftgate
- Power tilt and telescoping steering column
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- Ambient lighting
- Heated steering wheel
- Wireless phone charging pad
If you go with the range-topping Black Label, which boasts a 360-degree camera system, you can use your mobile phone as your key.
One of the biggest highlights of the Nautilus’ mid-cycle update was the new 13.2-inch touchscreen display that’s powered by Ford’s latest SYNC 4 infotainment software. Lincoln models have a unique Constellation theme, although, it’s notably similar to that found in Ford models like the F-150. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and over-the-air updates are all standard, while Navigation is only standard on the Reserve and Black Label. The Phone as a key feature is pretty cool, especially if you have a habit of forgetting your keys, and it seems to work pretty smoothly. I’m still not sure it’s something I’d want to put my faith in all of the time, but it’s a cool feature nonetheless.
For those of you who love a good audio experience, I have to admit that the base system isn’t bad. It’s a 10-speaker system with pretty decent sound quality and SiriusXM is standard across the lineup. Reserve models come with a Revel 13-speaker system with HD radio technology, while the Black Label includes a 19-speaker Revel Ultima which can also be optioned on the Reserve model. If you have kiddos or plan to entertain folks on longer trips, I’d recommend the rear-seat entertainment system.
Nautilus Problems and Reliability
I’ll come right out and tell you that the Lincoln Nautilus hasn’t been the most reliable car in the world. The 2019 model, for example, was recalled a total of four times, with two of those being related to airbag problems. One recall involved the driver’s airbag module, one was an issue with the hands-off wheel alert, there was also an issue with the instrument cluster failing, and another about damaged wiring causing possible airbag malfunction.
In 2020, the Nautilus was recalled three times, one of which included that same issue with damaged wiring that could lead to an airbag malfunction. There was another issue with the rearview camera and another problem that included poor lubrication in the rear-drive unit. The 2021 model was recalled once again in early 2021 for the same issue with the rear-drive unit that could cause the rear axle to seize. The rest of the year was tidy, though, and so far the 2022 model has yet to experience any recalls.
For 2021, JD Power rated the Nautilus with 82 out of 100 pounds in its yearly ownership survey. Of course, this is far from as good as it gets, but it’s not exactly a bad score, either. Any new Nautilus is sold with a four-year, 50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a six-year, 70,000-mile powertrain warranty, the latter of which also includes roadside assistance for the entire duration of the warranty period.
|Term Length||4 Years||6 Years||5 Years||6 Years|
In previous testing, the NHTSA gave the Lincoln Nautilus a safety score of five out of five, though it only scored four stars in the rollover test. The IIHS gave an equally positive rating, with six of the top scores being “Good,” and it was awarded the Top Safety Pick title. This title, however, is limited only to models with a specific headlight technology.
Key Safety Features
The Lincoln Nautilus is pretty well equipped when it comes to standard safety features. Standard equipment across the lineup includes:
- Traction control
- Stability control
- Knee airbags
- First row and side curtain airbags
The base trim and reserve trims come standard with Lincoln Co-Pilot 360. This safety suite includes the following:
- Forward collision avoidance
- Pedestrian detection
- Automatic high beams
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Cross-traffic alert
- Lane keep alert
- Lane keep assist
- Review camera with a washer system
- Post-collision braking
- Lane departure warning
- Reverse sensing system
Step up to the range-topping Nautilus Black Label, and you’ll get a more advanced safety suite with adaptive cruise control, surround-view camera, and active park assist. These extras can be optioned on the Reserve trim if you’re willing to pay extra for them.
Verdict: Is the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus A Good Vehicle?
The Lincoln Nautilus poises itself as the ideal companion for anyone that wants an extra emphasis on comfort and doesn’t desire to have a sporty ride or stiff steering. Those looking for the sportier ride and more engaging driving experience should look to the BMW X3 (it’s in the same price point, but the X5 is roughly the same size), the Audi Q5, or the Mercedes GLE but be warned you’ll also lose that cushy, magic carpet feeling that the Nautilus excels at. Through 2020 the Nautilus’ weakest link was its interior, but post the mid-cycle facelift, the interior is largely improved. In fact, I was quite surprised the first time I saw it in person. There is more of an American approach to luxury than you’ll get with Japanese or German vehicles, but that’s part of what makes the Nautilus stand out. Unless you’re deadest and extremely loyal to another brand, the Lincoln Nautilus certainly deserves a look.
How Much Does the Lincoln Nautilus Cost?
Despite the 2022 model year carrying over virtually unchanged from 2021, the Nautilus saw a minor price increase for some trims with the starting, base model asking for $43,030 – an increase of $530. The Reserve model comes in at $49,435, which is actually a bit lower than it was in 2021 ($49,550). The Nautilus Black Label now has an MSRP of $65,630, which represents a small increase of $540.
Lincoln Nautilus Models
The Lincoln Nautilus is available in three trim levels: Standard, Reserve, and Black Label, the latter of which is the range-topping model. The standard trim comes standard with the 2.0-liter inline-four, and there’s no option for an upgrade. FWD is also standard, but you can opt for AWD if you chose to. This same engine is standard on the Reserve, but you are able to upgrade to the larger and more powerful 2.7-liter V-6 if the four-pot isn’t enough for you, and that will also include AWD. The Black Label can only be hard with the turbocharged V-6 and AWD.
Since a lot of features are standard across the range, the three trim levels have quite a bit in common. All include exterior LED lighting, a power tailgate, power-adjustable front seats, remote start, remote ignition, dual-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and Lincoln’s Co-Pilot 360 safety suite. All models also include the very impressive 13.2-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
As far as audio is concerned, the Standard trim comes with a 10-speaker sound system while the Reserve trim level comes with a 13-speaker system. Move up to the Black Label, and you’ll enjoy 19 speakers of audio goodness from the Revel Ultima audio system and built-in navigation. The range-topping model also includes a surround-view camera and adaptive cruise control. Leatherette seats come standard in the base model, but the Reserve and Black Label trims come with genuine leather.
With the Nautilus being so well equipped from the start, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that there aren’t too many optional packages to choose from. The Standard trim can be equipped with the $1,815 Standard I Package that includes 18-inch aluminum wheels, premium leather-trimmed seats, and built-in Navigation. This is the perfect package if you want the real leather and navigation but don’t want to spend an extra $20,000 for the Black Label.
The Reserve trim can be optioned with two different packages. The Reserve I package will set you back $3,420 and that will get you the advanced Lincoln Co-Pilot 360 Plus, 20-inch alloy wheels, and the Phone as a Key feature. Going for the Reserve II gets you that entire package as well as 21-inch wheels, a cargo utility package, and the Class II trailer package that can tow up to 3,500 pounds. The Co-Pilot 360 Plus can be added separately, as can a $1,895 Monochromatic package that adds black-out exterior accents to the Reserve trim.
Finally, the Reserve and Black Label can be optioned with Ultra Comfort seats with 22-way power adjustment, active motion, power thigh extenders, and power head restraints. The package only costs $1,500 but you also have to get the Reserve I package on the Reserve trim. The rear-seat entertainment system is an almost must-have, but you’ll have to pay an extra $1,995 for that.
What Lincoln Nautilus should I Buy?
At this price point, if you’re going to go for any options at all, it would be hard not to recommend the range-topping Black Level trim. Sure it starts out above the $65,000 mark, but it comes loaded with pretty much everything you want. I’d probably pay the extra $1,500 for the Ultra Comfort seats, but even then, you’ll still come out cheaper than most of the Nautilus’ rivals and with the Reserve coming in at just $5,000 less when equipped the same way, it really doesn’t make sense to hold back on going to the range-topping model unless you’re really at the tip of your budget.
Lincoln Nautilus Comparisons
|Lincoln Nautilus||250 hp||21/26 mpg||$43,030|
|Lincoln Aviator||400 hp||18/26 mpg||$51,465|
|Ford Edge||250 hp||21/28 mpg||$35,395|
Lincoln Nautilus vs Lincoln Aviator
If five seats aren’t enough for you, then Lincoln might have another option that will fit right in with what you need. I’m talking about the Lincoln Aviator and, believe it or not, pricing isn’t that far off. If you were looking at the Nautilus Reserve then you were about to pay about $50,000 before options, which isn’t far off what you’d pay for the entry-level Aviator, which comes in at just over $50,000. Add in the fact that the larger Aviator comes with a 400-horsepower, turbocharged V-6, and the fact that it’s pretty well equipped from the start and the sacrifice of moving up the Lincoln range is minimal at best.
Like the updated Nautilus, the Aviator’s interior is also more upmarket than you’d probably expect, but you will lose out on that very new and gorgeous 13-inch infotainment display in the Nautilus. Instead, the Aviator has a 10.1-inch that looks so pitifully small sitting inside such a large dashboard. You may also not find the Aviator as modern looking on the inside and might even conclude that Lincoln missed the mark a little bit in comparison to the upgrades brought to the Nautilus. Either way, the Aviator is a prime target if you want the same Lincoln comfort and ride along with a third row of seats all without paying a whole lot more.
Lincoln Nautilus vs Ford Edge
If you’re not quite as interested in luxury or really want to work within a lower budget, then the Nautilus’ distant cousin, the Ford Edge, might fit needs fairly well. Despite the relation between the Edge and the Nautilus, there’s a huge pricing gap – about $10,000 – and it’s not aimed so high up the consumer wealth ladder. If you stay within the regular Edge lineup, though, you’ll be stuck with the 2.0-liter that’s also found in the Nautilus, but you can pay a little more than a base Nautilus to get the 335-horsepower Edge ST, which might not be a bad compromise.
Well, that is unless you were really itching to have the typical Lincoln luxury, which the Edge just simply doesn’t have. Even the range-topping Titanium Edge sits below the entry price of the Nautilus, though, and it offers more standard features, so if you’re here, you should ask yourself if you want the better buy or more comfort – the Edge is good for the former, but the Lincoln is where comfort calls home.