Lincoln’s Nautilus midsize luxury SUV gets a new interior and significant connectivity improvements when the 2021 model arrives in dealerships early next year. The Nautilus will also go into production then in China, a growing market for Lincoln. North American versions of the SUV will continue to come from the Oakville, Ontario, plant that’s always built the Nautilus and its predecessor, the MKX.
The most immediately noticeable changes include luxurious new Black Label models and a 13.2-inch touch screen — biggest on any Lincoln — connected to the latest version of Ford’s Sync voice recognition and connectivity system. The 2021 Nautilus will also be able to receive over-the-air updates and new features, continually adding functions like your smartphone does.
The current Nautilus was a bright spot for Lincoln amid this week’s otherwise disheartening reliability report from Consumer Reports. Lincoln’s newer SUVs, the Corsair and Aviator, scored poorly with the influential publication, but the Nautilus and Navigator escaped criticism.
Electronic updates like those on the ‘21 Nautilus can initially be troublesome, but Lincoln is “taking additional steps to improve quality,” communications manager Angie Kozleski said.
“We’re 100% committed to delivering quality to our clients. We’re making progress and will continue to make more.”
The 2021 Nautilus’ instrument panel is all-new, with a wide, low design to emphasize the feeling of space and serenity Lincoln aims to achieve.
Standard driver assist features
— Automatic high beams
— Blind spot and cross-traffic alerts
— Lane-keeping alert and assist
— Front collision alert and emergency braking
— Pedestrian detection
— Auto brake hold
— Backup sensors
— Post collision braking
The interior also features new leather colors — Espresso and Alpine Venetian — new wood trim and laser-etched details.
“It has been a collaborative process from the beginning between the color and materials team and the design team to ensure that the new themes really sweep the cabin with color in all the right areas and round out the design in a harmonious way,” Lincoln color and materials design manager Ronni Celoto said.
One of the Black Label interior themes, “Flight,” borrows from Lincoln’s larger Aviator SUV.
The Nautilus also gets some exterior changes:
— Three new exterior colors: Asher Gray, Flight Blue and Green Gem
— A new front fascia adds surface lines to strengthen resemblance to Lincoln’s other models
— The upper grille gets more texture and more dimension
— Fine-tuned placement and chrome interior of fog lamps
— Full-width chrome on lower grille
The Nautilus’ drivetrain lineup is unchanged: front- or all-wheel drive; turbocharged 2.7L V6 or 2.0L four-cylinder; and 8-speed automatic transmission. Prices will be announced closer to when the 2021 Nautilus goes on sale.