The 2021 Lincoln Nautilus compact crossover SUV sheds the vestiges of its MKX predecessor with a new interior more in line with the upscale refinements of the larger Lincoln Aviator and Lincoln Navigator. The powertrain carries over, and new color options and a revised front bumper freshen the outside, but the inside is the main attraction, based on Lincoln's announcement Friday morning.
The leading role belongs to a new 13.2-inch touchscreen mounted front and center on the horizontally themed dash. The two-tiered dash separated by a band of wood trim and chrome accents steps down to a horizontal band of vents, and Lincoln's piano-key electronic gear shifter. The climate and audio control panel angles into the center console and sits above a large lower storage area.
The large screen epitomizes the technology overhaul throughout the Nautilus. The Lincoln smartphone app can replace the key so pockets and purses can go unburdened, and Ford's Sync 4 infotainment software has a special display theme unique to Lincoln. Wireless smartphone compatibility cuts the cord, and natural voice recognition promises to simplify the most common commands ranging from raising the volume to setting the navigation or voice surfing the web. Over-the-air updates freshen the system like a smartphone.
A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is standard, along with power-adjustable front seats that are heated, four USB ports, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and LED headlights and taillights. Options range from a surround-view camera system and heated rear seats to 22-way massaging front seats and an excellent Revel audio system.
Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high beams. The rear camera can be washed clear with the push of a button.
Powertrains remain the same from last year with a standard 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque with front-wheel drive or a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 making 335 hp and 380 lb-ft with all-wheel drive. Both engines pair with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Built in Ontario, Canada, the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus goes on sale early in 2021.