LOS ANGELES, CA – Admitting that its three-letter MK-series names did not resonate with consumers, Lincoln is dropping those confusing appellations in favour of real names. The first to get the axe was the MKS, which became the Continental last year. Next up is the MKX, which will be known going forward as the Lincoln Nautilus.
It’s a bold move for Lincoln that could help it stand out further from its competition, which continues to retain alpha-numeric designations – Audi A3, BMW X1, Cadillac XT, Lexus RX, and Mercedes GLA, for example.
Lincoln says the new name is based on the Greek word nautilos, or "sailor," and fits in with the travel theme alongside Navigator and Continental. Revealed at the auto show here, and coming to your local Lincoln store next summer, the mid-size, five-passenger 2019 Nautilus is a heavily reworked take on the current MKX.
It’s a bold move, too, because the MKX, which the Nautilus replaces, is the brand’s best-selling vehicle in both Canada and the U.S. It has proven to be a great conquest vehicle, with more than 40% of MKX customers coming from other brands.
It is also critical to Lincoln’s continued growth in China. Lincoln sold 11,600 vehicles there in 2015, 45,700 last year and expects to pass 50,000 this year. And it expects utility vehicles to account for 70% of sales in China by 2024.
The Nautilus can be readily identified by Lincoln’s new-signature family grille, which can be found on the MKZ, Continental and Navjgator as well as the just-revealed next-gen MKC.
The 2019 Nautilus gets more than a new grille, however. Every panel ahead of the windshield is new and there is also a new slate of safety technologies, including pre-collision warning and blind-spot monitoring. A new lane-centering system uses adaptive cruise control and cameras to help maintain the vehicle’s position in its lane.
The Nautilus has a 31-cm full-colour, configurable instrument panel, revised centre console with pass-through storage beneath and a 13-speaker Revel audio system as standard. Want even more? You can opt for a 19-speaker system.
Quiet, roomy and connected
The centre touch-screen will have Sync3 as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The steering wheel is wrapped in hand-stitched leather and the panoramic sunroof introduced on the Continental will be available.
With the Lincoln-Way app – you can start, lock and unlock the Nautilus, schedule remote starts to heat or cool the interior to comfortable levels and check on fuel level, tire pressure and battery status. Among other new features, there is also a wireless charging pad.
Ford says the new interior boasts best-in-class head- and leg-room – serious amounts of leg-room – thanks to carefully-contoured new seats.
In addition, the Nautilus has been developed to keep wind and road noise out, with new acoustic glass in the rear windows and additional sound insulation.
Replacing the old 3.7-litre V-6 engine as standard equipment is a new turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder, producing 245-horsepower. A 335-hp, turbocharged 2.7-litre V-6, with 380 lb-ft of torque also will be available. Both will have an automatic stop/start system and, here in Canada, send power to all four wheels through a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Our neighbours to the south will get a front-drive Nautilus with AWD available.
Regular production will begin next July in Ford’s Oakville, Ontario plant, with delivery to dealers to follow soon after. Pricing has not been disclosed this far in advance of the on-sale date, but based on the current MKX, we can expect something in the area of $50,000.