2024 Lincoln Nautilus: From China With Love

Strong points
  • Wonderful interior
  • Top-notch materials and build quality
  • Amazing comfort
  • Hybrid performance
Weak points
  • Expensive packages
  • Black Label model not on sale in Canada
  • No plug-in hybrid variant
  • Brand reputation has taken a hit
Full report

Relaxing. Freeing your mind. Isolating yourself from the outside world. That was the goal when developing the new 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, which puts comfort above all else. Similar to Lexus, which is Lincoln’s top rival, sportiness is not exactly high on the list. The Nautilus is about delivering a multi-sensory experience in a luxurious, stress-free environment.

As the most popular of the brand’s four SUVs—not only in Canada and the U.S. but also in China, where it’s now manufactured after years in Oakville, Ontario—the completely redesigned, two-row midsize SUV continues to impress with generous interior space and high versatility, but it looks even sleeker than before.

We quite like the illuminated front grille, the door handles neatly hidden in the lower window line, as well as the stretched side windows with a series of stripes at the back conveying a sense of speed. Rich body colours are available and paired with a black roof for a seriously elegant appearance.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Inner Beauty

Studies reviewed by Lincoln indicate that people spend an increasing amount of time inside their vehicles, parked somewhere. The company wants them to make the most of that time by seducing their senses to the max. 

Open the doors, and your eyes will pop at the sight of the 48-inch display covering nearly the full width of the dashboard, near the windshield. The graphics are virtually unmatched in the auto industry and set the tone for a unique and extremely enjoyable atmosphere.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Another major highlight of the new Nautilus is what Lincoln calls a Rejuvenate program with three available scents, soothing animations and sounds, plus various memory options for seat position and massage. For vehicles equipped with the Lincoln Digital Scent feature, customers will receive a collection of three in-cabin scents in the form of cartridges that are housed in the centre armrest. All it takes is 4-5 minutes and you’ll be as fresh as a rose, ready for the next step of your journey.

In the middle of the centre stack is an 11.1-inch touchscreen allowing you to access and control a ton of information and vehicle functions (speed, trips, energy usage, navigation, traffic, weather, etc.), with the ability to transfer some of them to the upper display. Awesome. 

Naturally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is included. You can even stream content from online platforms such as YouTube or play video games when the vehicle is parked. And because the infotainment system is designed to prioritize the use of voice, you can select either the Google Assistant or Alexa in-vehicle controls to set cabin temperature, search information, find and set a destination, request a specific broadcast or satellite radio station and more. 

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Appointed with some of the finest materials you can imagine, the interior of the Nautilus can be ordered in four different themes—six if you happen to live in the U.S., where a more luxurious Black Label model is also available. The exclusive Black Onyx theme features a Copper Code aluminum applique, which is enhanced by Dusted Copper accent stitching throughout. A Jet Appearance Package adds further exclusivity to the cabin.

The seats prove highly comfortable even if you don’t select the 203A Package in top-line trim, which includes 24-way power adjustable Perfect Position seats. There’s no shortage of space in the first or second row, and the trunk is quite large, as well. Clearly, this is an area where the Nautilus stands out from the competition.

Hybrid Powertrain is the Star

Under the hood, the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus shares its standard powertrain with the smaller Corsair, namely a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine delivering 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are included on every model.

Optionally, as a replacement for the 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6, the same turbo-four can be paired with a 100kW electric motor and a small lithium-ion battery. Total system output for this range-topping hybrid powertrain is rated at 310 horsepower. Achieving a combined 7.7 L/100 km, the gas-electric Nautilus is 22 percent more fuel-efficient than the conventionally powered variant. It lands halfway between the Lexus RX 350h and RX 500h in terms of power and fuel economy.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Lincoln’s hybrid tech is so flexible that you wouldn’t suspect a CVT is part of the mix. The quieter operation is another reason why we’d recommend it over the 2.0-litre engine, not to mention the fact you’ll be saving about $800 at the pump every year (based on an annual use of 20,000 km) and getting a higher resale value. It’s really the go-to option, even though the base mill is a commendable performer.

Now, about the drive. The new Nautilus doesn’t have any kind of sporty aspirations, yet it feels solid with surprisingly good handling. The steering wheel isn’t perfectly round, mind you, which becomes pretty annoying. Smooth acceleration, strong braking power and limited body roll make the driving experience quite pleasant. Ride quality is remarkable despite the 22-inch wheels included in the Jet Appearance Package. You should stick with the 21-inch wheels (the smallest available on the Nautilus) if you regularly drive on rougher pavement.  

Photo: Antoine Joubert

The Lincoln Image

As mentioned up top, the Nautilus is now manufactured in China, which probably won’t sit well with those patriotic Americans. Lincoln doesn’t brag about it, instead emphasizing the vehicle’s technology, comfort and luxury, which compare favourably with a number of competitors. A plug-in hybrid model would have been sweet, though.

If the badge isn’t that important to you, the new Lincoln Nautilus is definitely a product you should put on your short list. It’s that impressive. Alternatives from Lexus and Genesis have a few irritants that you won’t find here. How many luxury SUV shoppers will consider the Nautilus for what it really is and not let Lincoln’s less than stellar reputation cloud their judgement? We’ll find out soon enough.

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