Goodbye Lincoln MKX, Hello Lincoln Nautilus

Lincoln Motor Company has taken the cover off its new Nautilus SUV ahead of this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

Nautilus is a new name for the MKX, Lincoln’s mid-size two-row SUV that shares a platform with the Ford Edge. Both are currently assembled at Ford’s facility in Oakville, Ontario.

The name change solidifies a trend for Lincoln of moving away from lettered vehicle names and into recognizable monikers when refreshed vehicles are launched (the recently announced 2019 Lincoln MKC being a notable exception).

“We’re excited to add Nautilus to our Lincoln family of luxury SUVs, along with a new name that better reflects the ideas and attitudes of Lincoln clients,” says Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra.

The most significant change sees Lincoln drop the 3.7L naturally aspirated V6 currently available on the 2018 MKX and move Nautilus to a turbocharged-only engine lineup. The upgraded mill remains the 2.7L twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm, while the base engine is replaced with Ford’s 245 hp, 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s available on the smaller Escape. Both of these engines are EcoBoost-branded in Ford vehicles, but that nomenclature is not used by Lincoln. Either engine comes equipped with auto stop-start technology and a standard eight-speed automatic transmission.

Several new safety features are integrated for 2019 as Lincoln firsts, including a lane-centring feature. Lincoln stops short of calling it an autonomous technology, but the company does point out that it happens to pair well with the existing adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality to help keep the vehicle centred in a highway lane. Another new feature is called evasive steer assist, which uses radar and cameras to analyze the gap between the Nautilus and slower-moving or stationary vehicles ahead of it to help reduce the risk of a collision by helping the driver steer around them.

Design changes mainly focus on replacing Lincoln’s bat-wing grille with the more recent rectangular signature grille featured on the Continental large sedan and Navigator large SUV. All the sheet metal forward of the A-pillar is new for the Nautilus.

The Lincoln Nautilus debuts as a 2019 model and will arrive in dealerships in the spring of 2018.

Turbocharged engines only. 11/28/2017 10:00:00 PM