Over the past decade, the luxury SUV market has proliferated. To say that the segment is highly competitive does the market a disservice. Not only does the market have enough models to provide an example for every niche and every whim, but it does it twice. Among the tidal wave of luxury, performance and luxury off-road SUVs, some models are disappearing into the fray. With them, the same applies to the interest of some customers. Carrying hefty price tags, it’s hard to find a really bad model. However, the one that has been slipping under many drivers’ radars so far is the 2022 SUV Lincoln Nautilus.
The Nautilus’ life began as an MKX in 2007, sharing Ford Edge underpinnings as tradition dictates, the model had a more premium feel to it than the cheaper Ford model. Showing the age of this model, the X in its name stood for crossover, back when that label alone could sell a car. The model with the Edge entered its second generation in 2016. After a small overhaul, Lincoln dubbed the MKX the Nautilus. The name is inspired by a cephalopod. Naming an SUV after a small animal is a bit peculiar. However, there is a logic behind the madness. The Nautilus is the smallest SUV offered by Lincoln, sitting below the Aviator and Navigator. So, its main competition comes in the form of the BMW X3, Range Rover Velar and Cadillac XT5.
Lincoln’s smallest SUV beats Cadillac and BMW in key areas.
How well equipped is the Nautilus?
As you’d expect from a Lincoln model, the Nautilus is a bit better in every way than the cheaper Ford product. In headline equipment, that means an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on higher spec, the standard fare of optional 21-inch alloy wheels and dual tailpipes. Nothing makes drivers happier than a symmetrical rear end to their car.
Lincoln has incredible confidence in the reliability of its vehicle. A bumper-to-bumper warranty lasts four years on the whole car or 50,000 miles. On some components, it lasts longer. The powertrain warranty lasts six years or 70,000 miles.
When buying a car from a luxury brand, a few additional niceties come into play. One of them for the 2022 Nautilus is Lincoln Embrace. This feature illuminates the Lincoln logo on the ground as you approach the car. Not exactly practical but something that will surely impress your family and friends. As a car in 2022 should, the Nautilus has full driver assistance, which bears the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 label. The navigation system clearly displays this software suite. A smaller system than you’d find in the competing Tesla Model X but still very usable.
Why should you buy a Nautilus rather than a navigator?
Many will find the Nautilus’ main flaw over the larger Aviator and Navigator models to be its biggest selling point. These larger vehicles have three rows, so room for eight in the Navigator and a maximum of seven in the Aviator. For those who don’t need that space, there’s just no need to spend extra money on something they don’t need. The Nautilus can accommodate five people.
The largest Navigator for 2022 starts at $76,710. The 2022 Nautilus starts at just $43,030. Thus, the Nautilus is for many an excellent budget choice. It continues at the gas pump. According to Lincoln, the Nautilus returns 26 mpg on the highway. For comparison, the Navigator returns 23 mpg on the highway from a 3.5-liter V6 engine. This saving comes largely from the downsized engine. The standard Nautilus comes with a 2.0-liter inline-4. A customer can upgrade to a 2.7-liter V6 that returns 25 mpg on the highway. Cadillac’s XT5 starts at $43,995 and from a 2.0-liter engine, it returns 29 mpg on the highway.
How does the Nautilus 2022 compare to the competition?
Unlike many of Lincoln’s “smaller” German rivals, the trim available on the Nautilus is simple. With only three, Standard, Reserve and Black Label. The latter two sell for $49,435 and $65,630 respectively. The Reserve spec fits adaptive LED headlights, an upgraded sound system and a sunroof. Black Label is harder to find and only available at select dealerships, but these vehicles promise Rolls-Royce levels of luxury with ingrained wooden dashboards and darker aluminum.
According to Mercedes-Benz, in its most expensive AMG form, the GLC 63 AMG costs $59,900, so prices don’t quite reach the same level as the Black Label Nautilus. With a comparable asking price of $43,700 for an entry-level BMW X3 and $70,100 for a BMW X3 M, the Munich-based competition comes in second. For the same price, a buyer gets an imported car, which may have a bit more prestige with it. However, the BMW hits 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, about a second faster than the fastest Nautilus. But the Lincoln offers a higher degree of luxury.
In terms of practicality, the X3 offers 550 liters of trunk volume, exactly the same as the GLC and even the Q5. It’s almost as if a gentleman’s agreement exists between these brands not to outdo each other. The Nautilus arrives with 37.2 cubic feet of trunk space with the seats up, 7.2 cubic feet more than the competing Cadillac XT5. Converted to European measurements, the Nautilus offers over 1,000 liters of boot space. The Nautilus is a much larger car and, in its more expensive form, has a few more luxurious features than the competition.
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