The 2022 Lincoln Nautilus is the middle child of Lincoln’s excellent crossover and SUV lineup. It fills the space between the three-row Aviator and compact Corsair, competing with other two-row midsize SUVs. Up until a year ago, it was also the odd one out in that it lacked Lincoln's mid-century-modern-inspired interior design that's wowed since it originally showed up in the Navigator. That changed last year as the Nautilus finally got its makeover and it instantly made the Nautilus a more viable option in a stacked class of excellent choices from BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Volvo, just to name a few. And if you’re only considering American options, it walks all over Cadillac’s XT5 in both luxury and drive experience.
Don’t expect it to handle or drive like the German luxury options, though. Lincoln knows its target market is much more concerned with things like ride quality than they are skid pad ratings. We’ll give them credit for not trying to make this crossover something it shouldn’t and can't be, too. While the twin-turbo V6 will still hustle you down a road, the isolated interior and eye-catching technology makes the argument for why you should come home with a Nautilus. Should you? It's hard to say it's a better SUV than a BMW X5 or Mercedes GLE, but then it's also priced lower than those and other European contemporaries, which at least makes up for its various deficiencies.
Interior & Technology | Passenger & Cargo Space | Performance & Fuel Economy
What it's like to drive | Pricing & Features | Crash Ratings & Safety Features
What’s new for 2022?
Very few things are changing for the 2022 Nautilus, since the model was treated to a fairly notable refresh for 2021. That said, Lincoln is adding two new colors: Bronze Smoke Metallic and Gilded Green Metallic. It’s also gaining another Black Label interior option with Flight (dark tan and black combo) joining the Alpine White that was the sole Black Label interior for 2021. Beyond the colors, Lincoln made some minor packaging changes.
It's also important to note that this could be the final year for the Nautilus, as Lincoln is reportedly turning its attention to other crossover concepts.
What’s the Nautilus interior and in-car technology like?
Even if the exterior styling isn’t fully up to the new Lincoln norm (the Nautilus started life as the second-generation MKX back in 2016), the interior design has adopted the same mid-century-modern-inspired theme as Lincoln’s other gorgeous interiors. It’s not quite as decadent or beautiful as the Navigator or Aviator, but it’s also cheaper than those models. That Lincoln is able to replicate the same style and feeling in the Nautilus is an accomplishment in interior design. Two Black Label themes (Flight and Alpine) are available that ramp up the interior experience to its highest levels with unique carpeting, an Alcantara headliner, Venetian Leather-covered seats and many more extras. We found the seats to be decadently-upholstered, but not as comfortable or soft as rivals.
The centerpiece of the redesigned dashboard is a new, horizontally oriented touchscreen that measures 13.2 inches. The system runs SYNC 4 and has the ability to accept over-the-air updates. The bright, crisp screen can display two functions at once, such as showing the map in the larger field and music info in the smaller one. It’s zippy in operation, and while there’s still an acclimation period to learning the system, it’s less complex and deep than the infotainment system in Lincoln’s German competition. We like its digital instrument cluster, too, as it’s typical Lincoln with pretty and simple graphics that give you just the information you need and nothing more.
How big is the Nautilus?
Rear legroom is sitting at 39.6 inches, which means there’s ample room for an adult to comfortably sit behind another. Don’t expect the rear seat to be as expansive as an Aviator's, though, as it’s considerably tighter back there with less room to spread out both upwards and side-to-side than Lincoln’s three-row crossover.
Behind the rear seats, there’s 37.2 cubic feet of luggage space in the large cargo hold, and 68.8 cubic feet with the seatbacks folded. Those figures put the Lincoln’s luggage space toward the larger end of the spectrum, topping the Lexus RX and the arch-rival Cadillac XT5. In-cabin stowage is quite good. The center console has multiple cubbies, one on the top level with USB-C and USB-A ports inside, a large open one underneath, another at mid-level, plus the usual covered bin under the center armrest.
What are the Nautilus fuel economy and performance specs?
The 2022 Lincoln Nautilus comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that serves up 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Shifting duties are handled by an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the base engine can be had with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Maximum fuel economy comes with the front-drive option at 21 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. Upgrade to all-wheel drive, and you lose 1 mpg in every category.
Lincoln’s optional engine is a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 that pumps out 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Once again, it comes with an eight-speed automatic, but Lincoln makes all-wheel drive standard. Fuel economy takes another tick downward to 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.
What’s the Nautilus like to drive?
Our test example had the 2.7, and its 380 lb-ft of torque puts some spring in this Lincoln’s step. There’s plenty of grunt on tap to go charging out into busy, fast-moving traffic or to execute a quick two-lane pass. It often produces a squirm of torque steer before the engine’s torque is redirected to the rear. Although plenty potent, this engine isn’t overtly sporty — that’s not what Lincoln is going for here. It’s largely silent with a muted growl only under heavy throttle. In town, the accelerator is a little touchy, and the start-stop system is smart and unobtrusive.
While the dampers and bushings successfully round off most impacts, disturbances do still get through to the cabin. The worst roads we test on in Michigan impart some especially jarring impacts that are rather un-Lincoln-like, but it’s not poor in comparison to the competition. Our test car was equipped with adaptive damping with three modes: Comfort, Normal, and Sport. The differences between them are not that pronounced, and surprisingly the Sport mode’s superior body control really didn’t come at a cost of any additional harshness. At the same time, Sport doesn’t work a whole lot of magic when the road turns twisty. Powering through some winding rural roads, this Lincoln in any mode proves to be more of a relaxed cruiser than an energetic charger. The steering, though, is pleasantly if artificially weighted. It’s no bore to hustle on account of its power, but a BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE or even Lexus RX F Sport would be superior choices if handling prowess is on your list of priorities.
We have yet to drive a Nautilus with the four-cylinder, but will update this review with impressions when we do.
What other Lincoln Nautilus reviews can I read?
Read our first drive of the refreshed Nautilus to see if the updates are enough.
Lincoln changed the name from MKX to Nautilus for 2019, then gave it a massaged look, but it's still the same crossover underneath.
How much is the 2022 Nautilus’ price and what features are available?
Full pricing for the 2022 model year wasn't available at the time of this writing, but we expect it to change little from its 2021 price that started at $42,395, including the destination cost, and went up to $66,085 for the Black Label. You'll be able to find the most up-to-date Nautilus pricing here on Autoblog.
We do know standard and optional equipment for 2022, however. The base model includes respectable for the price and includes full LED headlights, a power liftgate, proximity entry and push-button start, 18-inch aluminum wheels, auto-dimming mirror, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, a 13.2-inch touchscreen (w/Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), a 10-speaker audio system and satellite radio.
In addition to the interior niceties on the Black Label detailed in the Interior section, Lincoln adds multi-projector LED headlights, LED fog lamps, Black Label badging, heated/cooled everything (minus cooled rear seats), the Revel Ultima audio system and a giant host of driver assistance systems that’d otherwise be optional. Many of those features upgrades are available as options on the mid-level Reserve. Lincoln’s Black Label experience also includes free maintenance for the first four years/50,000 miles and a concierge for those service appointments.
What are the Nautilus safety ratings and driver assistance features?
The Nautilus received an IIHS Top Safety Pick award for the 2021 model year, the result of its new-for-2021 LED projector headlights now rating high enough to earn the honor (the previous headlights scored poorly and held it back). The Nautilus scored a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with subsequent five-star frontal and side crash scores.
Standard driver assistance systems for the Nautilus are plentiful and include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors and auto high-beams. Even more are optional, and they include Lincoln’s auto-parking tech, a 360-degree camera, follow-distance alert and the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus Package that tacks on an adaptive cruise control system with stop-and-go capability and lane-centering steering assist.
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