Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Lincoln Nautilus


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Last year, at the Detroit Auto Show, Lincoln showed off its new flagship sedan, the Continental. It not only marked the return of a legendary nameplate but was also a sign that Lincoln was considering moving away from its MK nomenclature. Then, at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, we got another surprise. The MKX would become the Nautilus. Beyond the new name, it got a new front end, as well. So how does the Nautilus’ look compare to the outgoing MKX?

The front end is obviously where most of the changes were made. The Nautilus now gets the corporate grille we first saw on the Continental, as well as updated headlights and a redesigned bumper. Putting a new grille on a vehicle that was designed around a different one could easily end up looking awkward, but we have to admit, it looks a lot better than we would have thought.

In profile, it looks pretty much the same because, despite what the name change would suggest, Lincoln only gave the Nautilus a mid-cycle refresh. The Continental-inspired Nautilus badge on the front fender is a nice touch, though. Out back, Lincoln made a few more changes. Most noticeably, the taillights have been updated, and the liftgate has been restyled. It’s not a drastically different look, but it’s a nice refresh for a car that only received minor changes.

Inside, you won’t see any major changes, either. The center stack and most of the other design elements have all been left alone. So if you were hoping the Nautilus would get rid of the MKX’s push-button transmission, you’ll be disappointed. But Lincoln did manage to add more rear-seat headroom and legroom by tweaking the seats. It didn’t, however, add a third row to the Nautilus.

The good news is, this change to an actual name will soon spread to the rest of the Lincoln lineup. To avoid too much confusion, the MKC won’t get a new name just yet, but we’ve been told that the MK names will eventually all be phased out. And while the Nautilus and the Navigator both start with the same letter, Lincoln says it doesn’t plan to give all its new vehicles N names. Considering how confusing the lineup has been over the last several years, we say this is good news.

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