Lincoln Hits It Out of Park With Nautilus

Scouring details of the Nautilus interior and UX, it’s easy to see where the money went: technical innovation, impressive design and top-quality materials.

Drew Winter, Contributing Editor

May 23, 2024

3 Min Read
Nautilus front to back view
Redwood leather and suede seating a showstopper.

Lincoln, the brand that long ago introduced us to novel ideas such as center opening doors and keyless entry systems, now brings us a groundbreaking futuristic cockpit in the 2024 Wards 10 Best Interiors & UX-winning Nautilus.

The luxury CUV’s pillar-to-pillar display is huge, but what makes it truly innovative is it is pushed up to the bottom of the windshield.

Nautilus wide IP.jpeg

Many automakers are talking about this concept, but Lincoln is doing it. The big screen delivers the shock and awe factor that every automaker dreams about, but unlike so many other displays, it impresses without being confusing. Everybody gets the idea: You can see everything you need without getting distracted.

“Until now we’d only seen this on concept cars and CES exhibition booth displays,” says judge Dave Zoia. “It makes a strong first impression. The screens light up with an exploding sky theme with the Nautilus emblem and they fully come to life as soon as you press the start button.”

It may seem like the first time the screen lights up it is sensory overload, but once you start driving, it quickly becomes comfortable.

“The panoramic screen makes me feel like I have made a leap forward, but it still works the way I want as a user interface,” adds judge David Kiley.

In our opinion, the Nautilus proves landscape layouts work much better than massive vertical portrait screens.

But the praise doesn’t stop at the panoramic screen. Judges also rave about the beautiful user interface graphics and heated and cooled rear seats, plus digital fragrance options, great voice controls and gorgeous materials.

The big piano-like physical buttons on the center console for shifting gears and controlling cockpit functions are another great, easy-to-use feature.

The midsize CUV also is loaded with practical features. Judge Christie Schweinsberg makes note of the two USB-C ports on the backs of front-row seats for second-row passengers, as well as a USB and USB-C port up front and a wireless phone-charging pad. And if that weren’t enough, up front there are also two USB-Cs in the center box, along with a 12V outlet. A 110V AC volt outlet on the back of the center console also was in our test vehicle, a feature you don’t typically get on a 2-row CUV.

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The materials and features in our $79,000 Black Label test vehicle were a feast for the eyes: Redwood Venetian leather, aluminum trim and an ambient lighting system that wowed us with luminescent waves on piano-black door trim.

“There’s lots of pizzazz here even without the screens due to the attractive (and unexpected) rust-red suede and leather seating and trim, with white stitching and piping,” says Schweinsberg, who also loved the chevron-pattern perforation on seats and the elaborate design of the satin-metal speaker grilles. A faceted volume knob, copper metal trim, wood trim and the ribbed glossy trim on doors also earned her praise.

While our tester was expensive, the harder the judges scoured details of the Nautilus interior and UX, the more they could see where the money went: technical innovation, impressive design and top-quality materials.

“Yeah, it’s a bit pricey, but there’s some first-of-its-kind tech here that – importantly – actually works. If this was a BMW, it would be $100,000,” quips one judge.

Overall, Lincoln designers understood the assignment and knocked it out of the park.

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About the Author(s)

Drew Winter

Contributing Editor, WardsAuto

Drew Winter is a former longtime editor and analyst for Wards. He writes about a wide range of topics including emerging cockpit technology, new materials and supply chain business strategies. He also serves as a judge in both the Wards 10 Best Engines and Propulsion Systems awards and the Wards 10 Best Interiors & UX awards and as a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards.

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