The 2021 Lincoln Nautilus comes in Standard, Reserve and Black Label trim levels. The Reserve offers the most choice with regard to upgrades, while the Black Label is curated to exclusive themes offering maximum luxury.
The eye-catching design of the new 2021 Lincoln Nautilus is equally as elegant as it is functional, working to improve your view of the Leesburg roads ahead. Far more efficient and longer-lasting than incandescent light bulbs, the all-LED exterior lighting of the 2021 Nautilus shines bright with great promise.
And by applying sweeping lines and elegant contours, our design team created a 2021 Lincoln Nautilus that can transform every Florida drive into a liberating experience for all occupants.
Lincoln has given the Nautilus a thorough interior redesign for 2021, bringing the mid-size SUV in line with the rest of the company’s lineup. A new dashboard design incorporates a larger 13.2-inch infotainment display running the latest version of Ford’s Sync 4 operating system.
Lincoln’s now-pervasive piano-key shifter replaces last year’s push-button setup. Fancy Black Label models can now be ordered with two new interior themes—Chalet and Flight—while Standard and Reserve trims can be had with either Sandstone or Black Ebony. The only discernable exterior styling change is a tweaked lower front bumper.
ENGINE AND IMPLEMENTATION
The entry-level engine in the Nautilus lineup is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that pumps out 250 horsepower. It’s hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission and can be had with front- or all-wheel drive.
Our Reserve test vehicle with all-wheel drive managed a 6.8-second zero-to-60-mph time, edging out the V-6–powered Lexus RX350 by 0.1 seconds but falling behind the Cadillac XT5 by 0.2. We also tested the optional 335-hp 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6, and it delivered a brisk 5.9-second zero-to-60-mph time.
Neither engine felt underpowered in city driving, but the V-6’s extra power is handy during highway merging and passing maneuvers. In keeping with the Lincoln brand’s luxury ethos, the Nautilus is a soft-shoed crossover that’s the happiest wafting lazily along.
Its available adaptive suspension helps smooth impacts from potholes. Reserve and Black Label models, along with the all-wheel-drive Select, come with three driving modes (Comfort, Normal, and Sport) for an extra layer of personalization.
ENERGY AND REAL-WORLD MPG
The SUVs in this segment are all closely grouped when it comes to EPA fuel-efficiency estimates, but it’s no surprise that the four-cylinder Nautilus with front-wheel drive leads the way for the Lincoln entrants. What is surprising, though, is how close the turbocharged V-6 models are to the four-cylinder numbers.
The all-wheel-drive four-cylinder Nautilus is rated at 22 mpg in combined driving, while the all-wheel-drive V-6 version is rated for 21. Our all-wheel-drive V-6 Black Label test vehicle only delivered 24 of its 25-mpg highway estimate on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test route.
The all-wheel-drive RX350, for context, delivered an incredible 31 mpg versus its EPA rating of 26 mpg.
INTERIOR, CONVENIENCE, AND BOOTH
The cabin of the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus is finished in nice materials; layers of more luxurious leathers, metals, and woods become available as you climb up through the lineup. Nearly everything in our Reserve and Black Label test vehicles was wrapped in soft leather, and the headliner of Black Label models is covered in faux suede.
Although the Nautilus shares a platform with the Ford Edge, buyers likely wouldn’t guess that. While the vehicles are similarly spacious, the cabin of the Lincoln offers more style and substance in the form of optional massaging seats with 22-way adjustability, a standard digital gauge cluster, and a push-button gear selector.
Behind the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus’s rear seat is a vast cargo area that swallowed 12 carry-on suitcases in our testing—two more than the XT5 and three more than the RX350.
Dropping the rear seat to its flat position—a process that’s made simple due to handy levers in the cargo area that flop the seatbacks down—creates room for up to 27 suitcases, which matches the larger, three-row Volvo XC90.
IN-VEHICLE INFOTAINMENT AND INTERCONNECTIONS
In addition to the 12.3-inch digital gauge display, all Nautilus models come with a large 13.2-inch infotainment touchscreen. Ford’s latest Sync 4 infotainment software is easy to use and offers more modern features, including over-the-air update capability.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, an 11-speaker audio system, and a 4G LTE–powered onboard Wi-Fi hotspot are all standards; navigation and a wireless smartphone-charging pad are standard on Reserve, and Black Label models.
Especially appealing to buyers with kids, the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus offers an optional rear-seat entertainment system on all trim levels.
PROTECTION AND DRIVER ASSISTANCE ASPECTS
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus its highest safety rating of five stars but missed out on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick designation thanks to headlamps that scored “Poor” in that agency’s tests. All Nautilus models come with Lincoln’s Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assistance features as standard.
2021 Lincoln Nautilus
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Standard, $42,935; Reserve, $50,405; Black Label, $66,085
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 250 hp, 280 lb-ft; twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 2.7-liter inline-6, 335 hp, 380 lb-ft
Wheelbase: 112.2 in
Length: 190.0 in
Width: 78.7 in
Height: 66.2 in
Passenger volume: 111 ft3
Cargo volume: 37 ft3
Curb weight (C/D est): 4350–4800 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 5.8–6.9 sec
1/4 mile: 14.3–15.4 sec
Top speed: 135 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 21–23/19–21/25–26 mpg