The 2024 Nautilus Hybrid Makes a Case for Lincoln’s Future

By 10 Min Read

Many don’t consider Lincoln a serious competitor in the world of modern luxury. Years of irrelevant, lackluster products will do that to a brand. Just 10 years ago, Lincoln’s lineup couldn’t hold a candle to the likes of BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Now, things are different. That’s especially clear after spending a week with the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus.

The new Nautilus is the brand’s best attempt yet at getting back into the conversation. With sleek, modern looks, a quality interior space, a smooth powertrain, a comfortable ride, and more tech than you know what to do with, this new Lincoln should be on the list for anyone considering a mid-size luxury SUV. So long as you’re okay with CVTs and staring at a giant four-foot screen all day.

Quick Specs 2024 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label Hybrid
Engine Turbocharged 2.0-Liter Four-Cylinder Hybrid
Transmission Continuously Variable
Output 310 Horsepower / 295 Pound-Feet
0-60 MPH 6.5 Seconds (est.)
Base Price / As-Tested Price $51,915 / $78,095

The Nautilus has always looked good. When it debuted in 2019, the Nautilus brought an air of freshness to the brand with its soft lines and upscale vibe. For 2024 the face is sharper with sleeker, thinner headlights that slice into a taller, more prominent grille. The daytime running lights now consist of a single, unbroken bar that runs through an illuminated Lincoln badge. It looks thoroughly modern; more interesting than a Mercedes GLE and certainly better than anything BMW has in its SUV department right now.

But it’s the cabin that steals the show. Step inside and you’re greeted with a spectacular welcome thanks to the standard 48.0-inch screen (yes, four whole feet) that rests atop the dashboard. After a flashy “N A U T I L U S” boot-up animation, the screen acts as a gauge cluster and infotainment display, showing speed directly in front of the driver, with items  like navigation, media, weather, and fuel economy to the driver’s right. These are separated as widgets you can place on the screen where you’d like. You can even swap them out for other pieces of info like a clock or a tire pressure monitoring widget.

The screen looks impressive, and it’s nice to have things like a weather widget telling you if your drive is going to get colder or wetter later in the day. But it’s not as customizable as I’d like. The Nautilus has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but neither can be emulated on the big 48.0-inch screen. Instead, CarPlay’s relegated to the smaller 11.1-inch screen farther down the center console. So if you want to use Waze instead of the (admittedly seamless and easy) built-in Google Maps navigation app, you’ll have to use the secondary screen. And no, you can’t run Lincoln’s Google Maps up top and Waze in the smaller screen, I tried. 

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Pros: Stylish Looks Inside and Out, Lots of Fun Tech, Good Value

You can’t run things like YouTube or Netflix on the screen either, for obvious reasons. And there aren’t any built-in games or other useful apps for when you’re stopped. That begs the question: Is a four-foot dashboard screen necessary? Not really, but it’s cool as hell to look at, and if you’re into ostentatious new tech, this is about as showy as it gets. 

The rest of the cabin is pretty excellent. Our Black Label-trimmed tester came with what Lincoln calls a “Chalet” interior theme, consisting of white leather and metallic brown trim. The leather is soft to the touch, and the 24-way power-adjustable front seats have a position for any body type. Lumbar and massaging features mean no fatigue for me, even after spending 10 hours behind the wheel during a particularly busy weekend day. 

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My only real complaint inside is the lack of physical buttons for the climate control, adjusted exclusively via the 11.1-inch touchscreen in the dash. Thankfully there’s a physical button for the 360-degree camera system, making it easy to fit into tight spaces without wondering if I’m about to curb a wheel or scrape a bumper. And true to its livery car origins, the space behind the front row is cavernous, with tons of leg and headroom for the second row and over 35 cubic feet of storage in the trunk area. 

I mean this in the best possible way: Driving the 2024 Lincoln Nautilus is a forgettable experience. This car is designed to make the act of driving fade into the background without you noticing, freeing you to enjoy the optional 28-speaker Revel Ultimate 3D audio system in sublime comfort. The steering reminds me of the kind you’d find in a Tesla, fully synthetic and lacking in feel, but quick enough that you won’t find your forearms crossing often. You can place the car with next to no effort, while a tight turning radius keeps three-pointers to a minimum. 

On uneven roads, the adaptive suspension makes the Nautilus feel like a floaty couch (again, in a good way). This car is firmly a luxury item, with no hint of sporty intentions. I suspect avoiding the 21-inch wheels for a smaller set will make things even more comfortable and help keep smaller imperfections from reaching the cabin.

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Cons: Gigantic Screen Has Limited Uses, BlueCruise Is Subscription-Based, 21-Inch Wheels Make the Ride Worse

Depending on your commute, Ford’s BlueCruise hands-free driving assistant can be a fun gimmick to share with your friends or a legitimately useful tool. In its current state, the system can deliver hands-free driving on thousands of miles of pre-mapped roadways throughout the United States and Canada. Using infrared cameras, BlueCruise tracks eye movements to make sure you’re keeping your eyes on the road. I spent about 50 miles sitting behind the wheel with BlueCruise activated, and found it as effective as the Chevy Super Cruise system I tested last year. Like that system, BlueCruise can change lanes on its own when you flip the indicator switch, as well as slow down and speed up with traffic. Aside from one or two false alerts of me not looking at the road, BlueCruise’s only real downside is that it needs a subscription to work, priced from $800 annually or $75 monthly. At least you get four years free when you buy a Lincoln equipped with the tech (on most trims, anyway).

The drivetrain, like the rest of the experience, does a good job of blending into the background. Our tester came with the optional hybrid system, which combines a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four to two electric motors and a continuously variable transmission sending power to all four wheels. The combined 310 horsepower is adequate for this application, but what’s really impressive is how smoothly this powertrain melds with the rest of the car, matching its comfort-oriented demeanor. Power delivery is pleasant and consistent, and when the engine fires up to supplement the electric motors, it never rattles the cabin or disrupts the experience. CVTs usually suck, but here the droning is kept to a minimum, and when you do hear it, the sound doesn’t feel out of place. 

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Though I haven’t driven the base, non-hybrid Nautilus, this optional powertrain seems like a no-brainer for buyers, as it’s only a $1,500 add-on. Not only does it likely improve the driving experience, but it’s also far more economical, delivering a combined 30 miles per gallon combined, according to the EPA—6 mpg better than the standard Nautilus. Factor in the nice big 20-gallon fuel tank, and you can go weeks between fill-ups. 

At $78,095, our tester wasn’t cheap. But you can get into a base Nautilus hybrid for $53,510 including a $1,595 destination charge. Sure, you don’t get things like adaptive suspension, nice interior trim, or an impressive stereo system, but still, it’s a pretty good value. If it were my money, I’d go for the mid-level Reserve model, which adds some of that stuff back in but keeps the price under 60 grand

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