LINCOLN NAUTILUS

The Nautilus is the best seller among Lincoln's SUVs.

Lincoln previously used alphabet designations for a couple of its SUVs but switched to market-savvy names with the MKX becoming Nautilus last year and MKC now labeled Corsair for 2020.

Lincoln’s SUV line-up – all considered luxurious - now begins with the three-row Navigator, followed by the mid-size Aviator, the two-row crossover Nautilus (our 2020 test-drive) and the compact Corsair.

Nautilus is the best seller among them, adding a 2.7-liter V6 turbo engine option last year and a face-lift restyling the front fascia with a Navigator-like grille, adding Navigator-looking turbine-style wheels, lowering the rear bumper and improving front and rear lighting.

That helped boost Nautilus sales almost to a record high - second only to 2007, the year it was launched.

Our all-wheel-drive Black Label was top trim over the base Standard and Reserve. Options included the more powerful turbo engine, driver safe assistance, technical add-ons, 22-way driver seat controls and a cargo management package for $7,245, reaching top pricing within its market niche.

The 2020 changes are minor. The Black Label edition added a standard foot-activated lift-gate and four new exterior colors.

The profile reeks of performance and felt behind the wheel with rapid acceleration and a refined, quiet ride. Suspension settings and steering adjusted to match Comfort, Normal or Sport drive modes. Handling was responsive. Stop/Start functions smoothly to help increase miles per gallon.

Driver safety features included dynamic cruise control, blind-spot detection and surround cameras with sensors to identify and assist in avoiding obstacles when parking. Nautilus receives top scores in government crash testing.

Elegance in the spacious-sized cabin came with a leather dominated interior, flawless fit and finish and tasteful chrome/wood trim. Seats wore onyx colored Venetian leather trim - front seats ventilated, rear heated.

Other pluses included Alcantra headliner, graphically sharp 8.0-inch touchscreen, puddle lights, 12.3-inch gauge display, front seat massaging, Wi-Fi and wireless charger, panoramic sunroof and 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio.

Rear cargo space can absorb 27 suitcases with easily folded rear seats, Lincoln said. Small cabin storage space exists under the center spine.

Ford’s praised Sync 3 infotainment software with Lincoln MyTouch is easy to use with good device connectivity but requires a slight reach to manipulate. There is a CD player, Android Auto, Apple Car Play and extendable visors.

Black Label purchase comes with exclusive extraordinary customer service, including complimentary four-year maintenance, detailing and car washes plus help with restaurant reservations.

LIKES: Ride, power, quiet, comfortable, plush, spacey interior, looks.

DISLIKES: Pricey, safety options needed.

BOTTOM LINE: Style, performance, exquisite luxury for the upscale price.

FACT FILE

2020 LINCOLN BLACK LABEL NAUTILUS AWD

Base price: $60,385 ($67,630 as tested)

Curb weight: 4,529 lbs

Wheelbase: 112.2 inches

Length: 190 inches

Width: 76.1 inches

Engine specs: 2.7-liter, V6, twin turbo

Horsepower: 335 hp at 5,500 rpm

Torque: 380 ft.-lbs. at 3,250 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed Selectshift ® automatic w/manual paddles

EPA rating: 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway

Range: 18-gallon tank, premium unleaded

Performance: 0-60 in just under 6 seconds

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.