Lincoln Nautilus: Farewell MKX, welcome Nautilus!

Lincoln Nautilus: Farewell MKX, welcome Nautilus!

Forget Lincoln's Alphabet Soup and say welcome to the Nautilus. A novelty ? Not quite. In its previous life, this utility, close relative of the Ford Edge, was nicknamed MKX. For its new generation, which has been on our roads since January, Ford, its manufacturer, has chosen to give it a new, more evocative name.

The Nautilus therefore targets MKX customers by playing the card of a gentle evolution. Because this Lincoln product, described as novelty, does not revolutionize much. Moreover, compared to the model it replaces, its dimensions have remained unchanged. Its massive and plump forms also remain very recognizable, so much so that you have to be used to the brand to distinguish this 2019 model from its predecessor.

Most of the aesthetic changes that distinguish it are concentrated in its front part, redesigned to harmonize it with the brand's other models. These elegant and classic shapes reminiscent of the Continental are added to a redesigned hood. On the other hand, the sides of the vehicle remain intact, the manufacturer being satisfied with flanking them with an escutcheon carrying the new term. As for the rear part, subtle changes are limited to details in the rear lights and this full-width reflector embedded in the central part of the bumper. Besides that, the rear doesn't change an iota.

The automaker is once again offering aluminum alloy wheels in three different dimensions, similar to the 2018 MKX. The new wheels are 18 "in size for the entry-level Nautilus Select. The Nautilus Ultra, a larger version, has a choice of three models of 20 "and 21" wheels. Nice big wheels, of course, but plan a substantial budget to put them on winter tires!

In short, these timid efforts to sketch the forms of the Nautilus signal an ardent desire not to scare the regulars of the brand. After all, the MKX had been Lincoln's hobbyhorse so far, being the best-selling model in Canada, but also among our American neighbors. That said, compared to its rivals, this "newcomer" will have a lot to do in turn. The position of "middle of the peloton" which he occupies in the sales charts since his arrival on the market, as did the MKX, confirms it. It is far behind the Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLE, BMW X5, Cadillac XT5 and Acura MDX, the five best-selling mid-size luxury utility vehicles.

The powertrains used for the Nautilus also betray the family ties that unite it with the Ford Edge. For this vehicle, Ford uses a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo reserved for the Select version, while a powerful 2.7L twin-turbo V6 drives the Ultra version. The latter, which appeared in the MKX 2018 catalog as an entry-level engine, is also used for the Edge ST, a sporty variant.

Do not look for a lever for the automatic transmission. The latter is controlled by a series of buttons aligned vertically to the left of the touch screen and is very easy to confuse!

These engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission with separate reports for each. The MKX, on the other hand, used 6-speed transmissions. This change naturally aims to reduce fuel consumption. However, the average rating of 11.0 L / 100 km assigned by Natural Resources Canada to the V6 biturbo, engine of the vehicle we tested, confirms this. Compared to the 12.1 L / 100 km that was allocated to the same engine for the 2018 MKX, this represents a welcome decrease of about 10%. The new idle stop-start device that this V6 now has probably also contributes to this reduction in consumption. Unfortunately, by completely cutting off management assistance when stopped, which makes it unusually heavy on restart, this device gives an image of a cheap vehicle to a luxury utility vehicle which can cost close to $ 70,000 when the team from A to Z.

The towing capacity of the Nautilus is limited to 680 kg with the 4-cylinder and 907 kg in the case of the V6, unless you opt in both cases for the optional towing package, which adds $ 850 to the price of purchase. This package, which increases the capacity to 1587 kg, includes a hitch and a trailer stabilization system.

Having said that, we certainly won’t buy a Nautilus to tow heavy loads. For this, there is the Navigator, as well as the Aviator, a novelty that will soon debut at Lincoln dealers. Buyers of the Nautilus prefer its spacious interior and its opulent endowment. Its bucket seats, tightly molded, support the body well, and both have multiple electric adjustments, whatever the version. In addition, heated and ventilated seats are available in the Ultra version. For their part, music lovers will appreciate the Revel audio system with 13 speakers (or 19 for an additional fee). Behind, the clearance for the head, knees and feet will suit two medium-sized adults, three as needed.

The rear seat has divided backrests (60/40) which, when folded, allow a considerably larger loading area to be enlarged when they are raised. The trunk user will however make two disappointing observations when loading luggage. On the one hand, a considerable effort is necessary to raise the files of the bench. On the other hand, when you stretch the luggage cover curtain to hide the contents of the trunk from passers-by who are too curious, the available height is not even suitable for shopping bags!

On the road, the tranquility of the cabin and the smooth ride of the Nautilus are sure to appeal to typical Lincoln customers. These buyers will probably not criticize the softness of the suspension that is behind this smooth ride, even if it lets the front of the vehicle dive suddenly during heavy braking. They will attach more importance to the lightness of the steering, even if this gives it relative precision at low speed. The beautiful garnishes of gray ash or very glossy brown walnut or open pore Espresso will also provoke approving reactions from them. These are the aspects of the MKX that have ensured its relative success. A success that the Nautilus will no doubt be able to reproduce.

(1) L4 turbo DOHC 2.0 L; 250 hp at 5,500 rpm, 275 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm; (2) 2.7-liter DOHC 2.7-liter V6; 335 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 380 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm. 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive.

Wheelbase: 2850 mm; length: 4826 mm; width: 1933 mm; height: 1682 mm. Weight: 1879-1953 kg. Boot space: 1053-1948 L. Towing capacity: 680-1587 kg (1500-3500 lb). Tank volume: 68 L. Average consumption (Ultra V6, manufacturer): 11.0 L / 100 km.

These anonymous names used the abbreviation of the English word "Mark" to evoke old Lincoln models: the Continental Mark II, III, IV and V. They rather caused confusion among regulars of the brand , while leaving other consumers indifferent.

Curiously, by adopting these names, the manufacturer had made an exception by retaining the Navigator designation for the largest Lincoln utility vehicle. Why ? Because of the ... notoriety of this name!

In 2015, the MKS sedan was replaced by a new high-end model reviving a popular name: Continental. Then, this year, we discover the Nautilus, the replacement for the MKX, which will soon be followed by the Aviator, a clone of the Ford Explorer. Finally, later this year, the Corsair will replace the MKC.

Daimler announced the creation of a 50-50 joint venture with the Chinese group Geely Holding to operate smart and further develop it. The assembly will now be done in China in a new factory specially dedicated to electric vehicles, and sales around the world will start in 2022.