Even though we’ve seen it leaked once, twice, and thrice, there is nothing better than the real thing. We’re, of course, referring to the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus refresh, which brings a significant update to the midsize luxury crossover’s interior along with a teensy change to the exterior.
The exterior changes are limited to a redesigned lower front fascia, with the 2021 model featuring a more flush. There are also three new exterior colors – Green Gem, Lincoln Flight Blue, and Asher Gray, also available in a sleek Monochromatic Package.
The real magic of the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus is inside, with the cockpit getting a complete makeover. Lincoln says that the new cockpit was inspired by the horizon, while aiming to deliver a serene, sanctuary-like experience, consistent with Lincoln’s Quiet Flight DNA.
At first glance, the cockpit replaces the rather haphazard design direction of the outgoing model with horizontal lines and neutral tones for a rather elegant appearance. If the Nautilus’ new cabin seems similar to the very attractive cabins featured on the Corsair and Aviator, that’s because it is.
Accentuating those horizontal lines is an all-new 13.2-inch center stack screen, which just happens to be the largest available across the Lincoln brand. The screen is running the new SYNC 4 system.
Besides a completely revamped infotainment experience, SYNC 4 delivers a much-improved satellite radio experience via SiriusXM 360L. The new infotainment system features conversational voice recognition with internet search, allowing owners to get the latest information using their natural voice. A digital owner’s manual makes finding out about the 2021 Nautilus much easier than shuffling through the paper version. Additionally, SYNC4 also features Over-the-Air Updates to bring the latest technologies and improvements to the system as well as the modem, with little-to-no action from owners.
The new design of the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus’ cabin is complemented by sophisticated colors and materials. The midsize crossover features two new standard interior colors in addition to two Lincoln Black Label themes – Chalet and Flight.
The Chalet theme “evokes contrasting pleasures of mountain slopes and the warm comfort of an après-ski lodge with Espresso and Alpine Venetian leathers and deep Silverwood appliqués, according to the luxury marque. Meanwhile, Flight – available next year – “harmoniously combines rich leathers and other materials to give the sensation of taking to the skies.”
The 2021 Nautilus will also add Sandstone as a new color across the portfolio. The new colorway showcases neutral tones with higher color contrasts varying from light to dark. Black Ebony returns with new Roast accents on the seats, doors and console armrests, as well as the mid-horizontal instrument panel, and luxury brown tones harmonize with black contrasts, real wood finishes and bright chrome accents.
The 2021 Lincoln Nautilus also introduces Phone As A Key technology. Activated through the Lincoln WayTM app, it allowing clients to start and drive their Lincoln using their compatible smartphone without a traditional key. The introduction of Phone As A Key on the Nautilus makes the technology available across the 2021 Lincoln lineup.
The 2021 Lincoln Nautilus comes standard with Lincoln Co-Pilot360. Lincoln Co-Pilot360 Plus is optional, and features a 360-degree camera with a front sensing system, Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go and lane-centering technology, Distance Alert/Distance Indication and Enhanced Active Park Assist and Evasive Steering Assist.
The 2021 Nautilus’ powertrain lineup remains the same as before: the standard engine is the turbocharged 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder rated at 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The twin-turbo 2.7L EcoBoost V6 is optional, and delivers a more sprightly 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Both engines include standard Auto Start-Stop capability and are mated to Ford’s 8-speed transmission.
The Ford CD4 platform continues to underpin the 2021 Nautilus, as it has done since its introduction as the second-generation Lincoln MKX for the 2016 model year.
The Nautilus will be built at the Ford Oakville plant in Ontario for North American markets and will arrive in dealerships early next year. It will also be built in China for the Chinese market.