2024 Lincoln Nautilus Premium SUV Will Soothe Your Weary Soul

Jackson Wheeler
9 Min Read


  • Lincoln’s refreshed Nautilus premium SUV is made in China and designed for both China and U.S. markets.
  • That means there’s a lot high tech, most noticeably in the monster 48-inch pillar-to-pillar full-color screen that dominates the dashboard with infotainment galore.
  • It’s in showrooms now priced starting at $52,010.

It’s hard to tell whether the bigger news is that this is the first Lincoln product made in China for sale in the U.S., or that the craft’s infotainment screen stretches from A-pillar to A-pillar. Or maybe it’s the addition of seven scents for Lincoln’s “Rejuvenate” system, which combines input for all your senses up to and including smell to make you calm, cool, and collected as you luxuriate in your new ride.

Take your pick.

Technically, this is a “refresh,” not that anyone cares about which suspension or even engines the new Naut offers. For the record, it’s MacPherson struts up front and short- long-arm suspension rear, rolling on wheels from 19 inches in diameter all the way up to 22s.

Under the hood are two engine choices. You can get the same turbocharged 2.0-liter transverse-mounted direct-injection four-cylinder from the Corsair, which makes 250 hp at 5500 rpm and 280 lb-ft at 3000. Or you can go upscale in both power and performance with the turbocharged 2.0-liter transverse-mounted direct-injection four-cylinder mated to a hybrid drive unit. Combined output of that power choice is 310 hp at 5500 rpm and 295 lb-ft.

(Hint, get the hybrid, the base engine feels wimpy in the 4349-pound entry-level Nautilus. Even though the hybrid’s curb weight is 4517 pounds, it feels noticeably more mighty.)

One problem with these powertrains is that the more powerful hybrid is mated to a CVT transmission (groan), while the non-hybrid gets a more-responsive eight-speed automatic. If you ever push this beast hard on a twisting mountain road, which I did all day but which a typical buyer likely won’t, you’ll want the greater control of the automatic and the greater power of the hybrid, a combination that doesn’t exist. Waaah.

available early 2024 pre production screens shown are simulated and subject to changeVIEW PHOTOS

Lincoln

Blue Cruise takes over the driving as long as you keep your eyeballs aiming straight ahead.

But you gotta think, at least from Lincoln’s presentations during the product launch, that buyers nowadays, both here and in China, don’t think of specs like that. They’re far more interested in things like that 48-inch drive-in movie screen splayed across the dashboard. That’s impressive. I say that having come just days before from a tour of the inside and outside of the Honda/Sony Afeela, a car so bland on the outside that its only saving grace may be the A-pillar-to-A-pillar-wide screen it sports inside.

The 48-inch-wide screen is so big that it has to be controlled by a separate, center-dash-mounted 11.1-inch-wide screen which, together, take care of almost all your needs. It’ll take you a short while to learn how everything works, so stick around in the dealer’s showroom for the full techno-tour—don’t leave early just because you’ve already been there four-and-a-half hours.

Your enjoyment from and appreciation of the Nautilus will correspond exactly to how well you can exploit it and for that you will need the full demo. For instance, there are three “widgets” that populate the rightmost half of the 48-inch screen. You get to choose which three from the seven offered to you on the smaller screen. Choose wisely. Or choose poorly and then swap them around until you’re happy. This thing is highly modular.

Using voice or the 11.1-inch touchscreen you can load music, audiobooks, and podcasts from Google Play, including Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible, and iHeartRadio. Lincoln says SiriusXM with 360L is embedded and works even if your smartphone isn’t connected.

Three scent canisters stowed under the armrest dispense curated aromas into the cabin to help ease your harried head. Who wouldn’t feel better with “Cloud Balsam” swirling about the cabin? Yes, Cloud Balsam, “…an invigorating blend of lush pine needles, oak moss, crushed tonka and  vanilla beans.” Crushed tonka? I looked it up, it’s a bean.

Then, if you park your car, your options multiply. You can “surf the web,” as the kids say, using the Vivaldi Browser app—as well as Chrome “coming soon in Beta”—including a Bluetooth-connected keyboard to make typing easier.

the inside of a carVIEW PHOTOS

Lincoln

The wide screen is controlled by the smaller screen.

You can also watch videos and stream movies on YouTube, Prime Video, “and more,” Lincoln says. You can play video games on the big screen, purchased through the Google Play Store—Asphalt Nitro 2, anyone? You can even lead video conference meetings (also “coming soon,” Lincoln says). And the “Lincoln Premium Connectivity” plan will give you 5G connectivity.

It’s an entertainmentpalooza.

Yeah, but what’s it like to drive? Most of the time it’s a comfortable, mostly silent joy, isolated from not only the road but from all your life’s cares by the latest Lincoln technology. I got to drive both the hybrid and non-hybrid and, as I said, the hybrid is the one you want. Problem is you can’t downshift a CVT, or even really pick the rpm at which you want to operate. You can with the automatic, but then you have fewer horses to play with.

One big selling point is Blue Cruise, which is a nice expression of Level 2 driving that lets you take your hand off the wheel but requires you keep your eyes on the road. A lane-change feature in Blue Cruise will move you over one lane when you switch on the turn signal. That was fun.

Both Nautilus versions are in showrooms now starting at $52,010 including destination for the entry level Premiere model; Reserve starts at $56,345; and the Lincoln Black Label, “the highest expression of Lincoln design and personal service,” begins at $75,845. Whether it was all designed for us, for the Chinese market, or for both, it’s a comfortable space in which to spend a day commuting.

Is the screen so big that it’s more of a distraction than anything else? Share your thoughts.

Headshot of Mark Vaughn

Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours holding a trouble light over a straight-six miraculously fed by a single-barrel carburetor while his father cursed Ford, all its products and everyone who ever worked there. This was his introduction to objective automotive criticism. He started writing for City News Service in Los Angeles, then moved to Europe and became editor of a car magazine called, creatively, Auto. He decided Auto should cover Formula 1, sports prototypes and touring cars—no one stopped him! From there he interviewed with Autoweek at the 1989 Frankfurt motor show and has been with us ever since.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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