2019 Lincoln Nautilus: Former MKX Dials Up the Brougham

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

As we learned yesterday, the midsize Lincoln MKX will soon be no more, replaced by a vehicle that’s very similar in appearance but definitely not in name. Nautilus, the Jules Verne-inspired moniker that graces the crossover’s flanks starting next summer, is a signal that real names are back, baby. Take note, rival automakers.

Besides freeing the former MKX from the abyss of alphanumeric naming hell, the arrival of Nautilus means significant powertrain changes and a design detour — pushing Lincoln’s best-selling model ever so slightly further upscale while adding a dose of fuel savings.

“With the introduction of Nautilus, Lincoln has a strong, distinctive portfolio with a common and recognizable identity,” said Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra in a media release.

This is key for the resurgent brand. By the middle of next year, all Lincolns will wear the corporate, Continental-esque one-piece grille, replacing the longstanding (and controversial) split waterfall opening of years past. The smallest member of the family, the MKC, adopts the look for 2019. Arguably, the MKX Nautilus wears it better.

Carrying the “all in the family” theme even further, it’s no surprise to see the Nautilus sporting wheels that look remarkably similar to those found on some Continentals.

Besides a remolded front fascia and minor alterations to the rear taillamps and reflectors, the 2019 model also receives a new base engine. The 3.7-liter V6 is gone, replaced with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. That mill churns out 245 horsepower and 275 horsepower. Buyers who aren’t living beyond their means will want to spring for the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, which carries over as the upgrade engine. Power figures remain the same: 335 hp and 385 lb-ft.

In the interests of fuel economy, both engines transfer power through Ford’s new eight-speed automatic, replacing the previous six-speed unit. Auto Start-Stop capability comes standard.

Lincoln’s making a big fuss over the standard and available technology found in the 2019 model. One feature that we found lacking in the MKX (and other Ford products) stands to see an upgrade. The Nautilus’ new lane-holding system uses radar and cameras to hopefully keep the vehicle planted between the lines. This system works with an adaptive cruise system with stop-and-go-capability. Evasive steer assist, now available, uses the same tools to analyze the road ahead and, if possible, help drivers head off a rear-end collision.

Both of these features join a list of returning driver’s aids, including pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, active park assist, and a lane-departure warning.

Technology is nice, but supple materials have a way of catching the eye. Hoping to lure customers used to the finer things, Lincoln has revamped the model’s Black Label offerings for 2019. Gone are Indulgence and Modern Heritage themes, replaced by Chalet and Gala. Thoroughbred carries over. Springing for the high-zoot Chalet brings Espresso and Alpine Venetian leathers and Silverwood appliqués — trappings you no doubt remember from your last trip to the ski slopes. Gala brings Onyx leather and an Alcantara headliner, plus Nouveax Armor aluminum accents.

Alas, no Givenchy or Bill Blass editions. There’s no opera window in sight, either.

However, one needn’t spring for Black Label living just to feel privileged behind the wheel of a Nautilus. Besides the standard pickup and delivery service afforded to new Lincoln owners, customers receive a six-month complimentary CLEAR membership if they buy after January 1st, 2018, thus allowing for smoother passage through airports. Black Label customers receive a 12-month membership.

Lincoln boasts of a 40-percent customer conquest rate for the soon-to-be-defunct MKX nameplate, making it a hugely important vehicle for the brand. Still, the model’s overall sales fall behind that of several rivals, including Cadillac’s XT5 (which outsells it 2 to 1). Capturing buyers from other brands is a nice, but Lincoln needs more showroom traffic. Will a name change and facelift bring more suitors to Lincoln’s door?

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • EBFlex EBFlex on Nov 30, 2017

    Gotta love how the rear lights are misaligned in the press photos: https://www.netcarshow.com/lincoln/2019-nautilus/1600x1200/wallpaper_30.htm

  • Olddavid Olddavid on Dec 11, 2017

    I cannot put my finger on it specifically, but the package seems to me to replicate the desperate "Gucci" and other so-called specials of the late 1970's. I have two Lincolns in the driveway now, so do not brand me a hater. Unfortunately, the newest is 14 years old. As Jack tries to point out semi-annually, there is quality luxury and faux luxury. The real thing has no need to call attention to itself. Like a 1928 Mathey-Tissot compared to an equally expensive modern Rolex. One has to exclaim its price while the other is quietly (except the chime)competent. I would posit that since the brand isn't profitable, why not build to a quality standard instead of a price standard? They have been chasing their tail for almost 20 years now so they have little to lose. First off, the front drive has to go. Second, to differentiate themselves, why not the Coyote V8 for all models? Something has to be done. I'm a believer and they haven't lured me to a showroom since 2002.

  • Hermaphroditolog Good hybrid cars use ICE implosion mode.Mercedes-EQXX uses implosion turbines (turboexpanders) for regeneration from heat losses.
  • Kosmo I, for one, and maybe only one, would buy a 5.0 L, stickshift variant of the sedan/hatchback that is Ford's "Not A Mustang EV" tomorrow.I'd buy the sportwagon version yesterday.
  • Akear I am counting the days when Barra retires. She has been one long nightmare for GM. People don't realize the Malibu outsells all GM EVs combined.
  • Redapple2 you say; most car reviewers would place it behind the segment stalwarts from Honda and Toyota,........................... ME: Always so. Every single day since the Accord / Camry introduction.
  • Akear GM sells only 3000 Hummer EVs annually. It is probably the worst selling vehicle in GM history.