Ford’s Lincoln luxury division is on a roll: three consecutive Wards 10 Best Interiors wins in three years. The Continental sedan was honored two years ago and the fullsize Navigator last year.
Completing the cycle is the Nautilus, a direct descendant of the MKX midsize luxury CUV, which handily outsold both the Continental and Navigator last year. The lovely, serene passenger compartment in the Nautilus is a step above the MKX, so count on it to make waves in the segment.
The midsize luxury CUV field is becoming increasingly crowded, but the Nautilus’s elegance and functionality stand out.
“You have to give it to Lincoln, they’ve got some major mojo,” editor James Amend enthuses.
A feeling of spaciousness pervades the interior of the Nautilus, with ample headroom and legroom in both rows of seats and a generous cargo area. Quality materials extend from front to back in the Black Label edition we tested, including Cashmere Venetian leather seating and trim, Alcantara headliner, contrasting stitching, satin metallic finishes and Silverwood appliques on the dash, doors, center stack and even the steering wheel (below, left).
The gently curved, 12.3-in. (31-cm) digital instrument cluster is clean and brilliantly lit. The shifter is replaced by Lincoln’s signature push-button transmission controls on the center stack. A right-sized combination of toggles and buttons controlling HVAC functions is replicated on controls within the 8-in. (20-cm) touchscreen. Always-welcome on/off/volume and tuning knobs control a 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system that envelops occupants in rich, luscious sound.
Creature comforts abound in the Nautilus, including a 22-way Ultra Comfort power driver’s seat designed with input from orthopedic surgeons, and soothing ambient lighting. The roomy second row isn’t overlooked, offering heated seats, outlets for electronic devices and, for a visual change of pace, a two-piece panoramic sunroof.
“Nice color scheme, stitching, accent trim and accent lighting,” notes editor Dave Zoia. “Gauge package is sharp, and puddle lamps a plus.”
The SYNC 3 infotainment system responds promptly to voice and manual commands, and the Nautilus also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 4G Wi-Fi capability and a wireless charging pad.
At $67,630, the Nautilus tested by Wards editors competes in a segment that includes the Acura RDX, BMW X5, Cadillac XT5, Infiniti QX70 and Volvo XC60. Some cost more, some less, but as editor Amend asserts, “This crossover makes an argument for every penny.”