The Lincoln Nautilus was all-new for 2019, so it’s not quite due for a complete overhaul. But the midsize luxury SUV gets a significant refresh for 2021 with the bulk of the focus landing on the interior design.
While I never thought the previous interior looked bad, seeing photos of the old and new interiors side-by-side (below) showcases the magnitude of the redesign. Nautilus, which replaced the MKX, was the first of a trio of new SUVs being launched in rapid-fire succession – followed quickly by Aviator and Corsair.
In retrospect the original Nautilus interior was more of a re-badge refresh than a complete redesign, and this 2021 design brings it more in line with the new era of Lincoln design.
With the refresh, the interior design gets simplified, streamlined and horizontalized. (Yep, that’s a word, I looked it up.) The vertical stack is now bisected by horizontal lines housing the air vents, piano-key gear shift buttons and a couple gorgeous lines of stitched leather.
This more closely resembles the interiors introduced in Aviator and Corsair, with the large info screen popping up over the dash. Previously this was a 12.3-inch screen, and it has gotten even bigger, jumping up to 13.2 inches. This is now the largest screen in the Lincoln lineup.
In addition to the dash changes, the Nautilus adds two new interior colors as well as two new Black Label themes.
The color options include Sandstone and Black Ebony, and they will be available across the Nautilus lineup. The Black Label themes added for 2021 include Chalet and Flight.
In addition to interior color changes, Nautilus adds three new exterior colors: Asher Gray, Green Gem and Flight Blue.
Now that Sync 4 has been added to the Ford F-150, Mach-E, Bronco and Edge, it’s making its way over to the Lincoln lineup, and the Nautilus will be the first model that adds this new connected technology.
Sync 4 is the vehicle’s infotainment system that facilitates over-the-air updates as well as a more connected experience with conversational voice recognition and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
Other technologies added for 2021 include Lincoln’s Phone As Key, standard Co-Pilot360 safety suite and available Co-Pilot360 Plus, which adds a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and enhanced park assist.
The bottom line on the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus
I really liked the Nautilus when I first drove it at the launch in 2018. It was quiet and comfortable, and the exterior was extremely elegant. In fact, I was fairly obsessed with the grille.
This new interior and added tech complete the picture, and Nautilus feels less like a rebadged MKX and more of its own vehicle.