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2024 Lincoln Nautilus First Drive: An Improved Product, Out to Gain Ground on Difficult Terrain

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus | Photo: D.Boshouwers
  • EPA Category: Luxury midsize SUV
  • Price: 61900 $ - 65400 $
  • Consumption: 7,8 - 8,0 L/100km
  • Warranty: 4 years / 80000 km

strong / weak points

  • Both powertrains up to the task
  • Impressive, customizable multimedia screen
  • Refined, comfortable interior

  • Some questions regarding finishing details
  • Odd disconnect when comes time to adjust climate settings, stations, etc.
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Derek Boshouwers
The revised new Nautilus SUV is unquestionably an improved product and you can see why it might attract certain buyers.

•    Auto123 gets in a first drive of the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus.

Halifax, NS – Some uncommonly beautiful weather and the irresistible charms of the Maritimes provided an attractive context indeed in which to make the acquaintance of the revised new 2024 Lincoln Nautilus. Certainly, the creature comforts of the luxury midsize SUV made it a pleasant travel companion on our little three-day road trip through a few pretty corners of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

But of the questions we had going in regarding this premium utility vehicle from a brand in search of its place in the marketplace, only some had been answered coming out. This is unquestionably an improved product and you can see why it will attract certain buyers. Case in point, a couple of the golfers we encountered on the 13th hole of the course where Lincoln had placed a striking red (and black-topped) Nautilus had nice things to say and declared their approval of the model, and of a brand they’ve long appreciated.

But are the improvements enough to reach a demographic beyond the well-off middle-aged or silver-haired golfer?

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, hybrid version
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, hybrid version | Photo: D.Boshouwers

2024 Lincoln Nautilus – What’s new?

Built on a new platform, the Nautilus benefits from a pretty substantial overhaul, on the design front but especially in terms of the interior and the technology integrated in it. In the first case, lines and contours have been modernized and, as with most of the SUVs we’ve seen redesigned in the past few years, the front end gets more aggressive. The back end is prettified as well, with a vehicle-spanning light bar the most notable feature.

In Canada, the 2024 Nautilus is offered in just the one trim, the Reserve, and in two powertrain configurations, including a hybrid one.

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, in red
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, in red | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Design of the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus – 7.5/10

Overall this SUV remains an attractive proposition. The new front end is a little more aggressive what with the squinting headlights that bookend a bigger, more vertical front grille. Out back is even more handsome with the DRLs placed in a bar spanning the width of the vehicle, and with the top half of the Nautilus curving gracefully inward in synch with the black roof (all 2024 Nautilus models have the two-tone exterior finish).

That bar on the hatch is broken in the middle by an illuminated Lincoln badge, another nice little touch.

We spent three days sporadically following other journalists in their Nautiluses and can vouch for the attractiveness of the new model’s back end on the road.

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, on the road
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, on the road | Photo: D.Boshouwers
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, hybrid version, in profile
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, hybrid version, in profile | Photo: D.Boshouwers

The profile view is nothing exceptional, though that of course means it’s not exceptionally horrid or dull either. Glass half full. There are echoes to my eyes of the Genesis GV70 in the lines, including the slight descent of the roofline and side panel cuts converging towards the back.

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, interior
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, interior | Photo: D.Boshouwers
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, part of the screen with the flat-top steering wheel
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, part of the screen with the flat-top steering wheel | Photo: D.Boshouwers

The interior
This is where we find the more substantial changes, and those most crucial to the success of the SUV going forward. This premium vehicle needs to deliver a premium experience, and exhibit A is the vehicle-width-spanning new gauge cluster/multimedia display harbouring two screens stuck together and totaling 48 (!) inches diagonally across.

As you’d expect, it’s impressive in person, and it’s impressive as well in how you can personalize the display. Unique in my experience, it allows you to swipe up onto the large display the elements you want – radio details, climate control status, time/temperature, etc. etc. - from the touchscreen placed lower down on the central console. In order to provide a clear view of this feast of high-resolution information, the Nautilus’ steering wheel is flat-topped.

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, first-row seats
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, first-row seats | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Seating is very comfortable, to be expected in a luxury highway cruiser like this. The seats are 24-way power-adjustable, which is a little crazy, and it has a massage feature with a “firm” approach that isn’t crazy at all, in fact it was greatly appreciated on our drive and left on for virtually the whole time because you know, we’re all getting older.

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, second-row seats
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, second-row seats | Photo: D.Boshouwers

The second row is a wide-open affair with tons of space for heads, legs and other body parts. The seating itself is very comfortable there as well. Behind it, the cargo area is large, offering 997 litres (and 1,947 with the seats down). In both these areas, this is where you gain back the advantage lost to rivals like the Lexus RX, Buick Enclave and Cadillac XT6, which offer a third row.

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, touchscreen
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, touchscreen | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Technology in the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus – 8.5/10

We did experience an odd feeling of disconnect from that screen, in part because we hadn’t traveled the whole of the learning curve, but also due to some hiccups in the ergonomics of it all. Want to change the Sirius station? That’s something I do almost constantly when driving, but here we found ourselves watching almost helplessly at the nice-looking display on the far right of the 48-inch screen, at a loss as to how to do it without turning eyes away from the road. Turns out you need two steps on the touchscreen to do it. We experienced a similar disconnect when it was time to move up or down the climate control vents, because you can’t just move them physically.

More time spent with the vehicle will surely resolve some of that, but just as surely, there could be steps taken to avoid having the driver’s attention taken from the road. Which, after all, is a stated purpose of the wide-spanning, almost eye-level screen and that flat-topped steering wheel in front of it.

Beyond that, note that the vehicle is fitted with Ford’s BlueCruise semi-autonomous drive system, so we were able to drive some highway portions of our route hands-free. The system works like a charm virtually all the time, but the caveat is that virtually means not quite 100 percent. There was some bouncing around between lane markers, and on one occasion the system didn’t seem to recognize it was edging us towards the grass on the highway’s median. In our vehicle we both found it a little difficult to trust fully completely. Maybe we’re just old.

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, front
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, front | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Powertrains of the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus – 8/10

We test-drove both powertrains Lincoln is offering the 2024 Nautilus with. The first is a 2.0L inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engine delivering 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, working with an 8-speed auto transmission.

The hybrid model has a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo supported by an electric motor to generate total system output of 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. In that case the powertrain uses an electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Both variants come in standard AWD configuration.

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, three-quarters rear
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, three-quarters rear | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Driving the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus – 7.5/10

In a nutshell, this new Nautilus is a great long road tripper. You might not get a sporty ride out of it but you will enjoy a comfortable one. Both powertrains are sufficient to move this thing along properly, so highway entry and passing is no issue. The steering is light but not loose, so a breeze to handle. Plus, with BlueCruise activated you don’t need to even touch the wheel (but stay alert! In any case the system will remind you if your gaze wanders).

Curves are handled gracefully as long as you remember what kind of vehicle you’re in. For an SUV that is not particularly squat and low to the ground, this doesn’t really feel top-heavy on the road. You do feel the weight when turning or accelerating aggressively, but that’s unavoidable.

In the hybrid variant, switches between the electric motor and engine are, if not unnoticeable, unobtrusive.

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, on a trip to the beach
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, on a trip to the beach | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Fuel consumption
The hybrid powertrain obviously confers a big advantage on this front, particularly if you do a lot of city driving. Here are the official numbers for the hybrid variant:

  • - 7.6L/100 km, city
  • - 7.6L/100 km, highway
  • - 7.7L/100 km, combined

For the non-hybrid, you’re looking at:

  • - 11.2L/100 km, city
  • - 8.1L/100 km, highway
  • - 9.8L/100 km, combined

We couldn’t establish exact numbers during our test drive as we were hopping into and out of different models with the two powertrains like excited rabbits. But we can say that when in the hybrid Nautilus, driving on efficiency-friendly secondary roads in Nova Scotia and PEI, we were generally floating around the official 7.7L/100 km mark.

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, rear
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, rear | Photo: D.Boshouwers

2024 Lincoln Nautilus pricing in Canada

  • - 2024 Nautilus Reserve AWD - $61,900 CAD
  • - 2024 Nautilus Reserve AWD (Hybrid) - $65,400 CAD

Transportation and prep fees amount to $2,395.

A few 2024 Lincoln Nautiluses
A few 2024 Lincoln Nautiluses | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Some of your questions about the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus

So, hybrid or not for my 2024 Nautilus?
Performance-wise, we noted little significant difference in the way the two models handled themselves. Both provided sufficient power to a vehicle that’s not intended to be a speed demon or curve carver on the road. The hybrid will save you money at the pump and make you feel greener. The relatively small price difference between the two ($3,500) tips the balance in favour of the hybrid. You’ll make that money back in saved gas costs pretty quickly.

Would I need to feed my 2024 Nautilus premium gas?
You never HAVE to buy high-octane gas at the pump, but carmakers can recommend it to ensure you get full advertised output from the vehicle’s powertrain, and prolong the engine’s good health. This not being a sports model, you likely will never notice any difference on the road.

Is that screen display in the new Nautilus as impressive as it looks?
Well, yes, until comes time to change some common commands, like the radio stations. Of course as an owner you will get used to the system and it likely won’t feel so unergonomic. And the ability to simply swipe up the displays you want from the smaller touchscreen is an innovative touch that we think we like.

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, badging
The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus, badging | Photo: D.Boshouwers

The final word
Lincoln has unquestionably taken a notable step forward with this new edition of its Nautilus SUV.  The styling is modern and attractive, the interior roomy, comfortable and refined. We did note some shortcomings in the finishing inside, and the sportier look of the vehicle is not matched by a sporty ride. That probably won’t matter much to most buyers of this model, which certainly responds to the needs of its core clientele. The question is, then, will it be able to expand that clientele? That’s not so certain.

Competitors of the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus

  • - BMW X5
  • - Buick Enclave
  • - Cadillac XT6
  • - Lexus RX
  • - Mercedes -Benz GLE

 

2024 Lincoln Nautilus, in white
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, in white | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, profile
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, profile | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, three-quarters rear
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, three-quarters rear | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, in blue
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, in blue | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, in blue, badging
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, in blue, badging | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, front grille
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, front grille | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, three-quarters front
2024 Lincoln Nautilus, three-quarters front | Photo: D.Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Automotive expert
  • Over 5 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 50 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 30 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists