By Peter Perrotta
Back in the day, when I lived in the Bronx during the ’60s, you were either a Lincoln Continental fan or a Cadillac Coupe DeVille aficionado when it came to your cruiser of choice.
The hot shots in my neighborhood would spend the day polishing their cruisers and at night they would show them off by riding around the blocks real slow making sure everyone saw their American beauties.
Fast forward to today’s automotive landscape and these guys would be hard pressed to find much in the large sedan cruiser segment to prowl the streets in.
Lincoln killed the Continental in 2021. The largest sedan cruiser Cadillac makes anymore is the CT6 – which hardly can be considered an oversized cruiser.
Instead, the new cruisers, for most manufacturers, are SUVs.
Lincoln killed the Continental in 2020 and the year before they introduced a new model to their SUV lineup the mid-sized Nautilus.
Case in point, Lincoln’s current model lineup consists solely of four SUV models: Corsair, Nautilus, Aviator and Navigator.
I recently jumped behind the wheel of the top-of-the-line Nautilus model for one week, the 2021 Nautilus Black Label edition AWD.
For 2021 Lincoln redid the interior of the Nautilus making it more plush and luxurious and headlined by the edition of Ford’s new Sync 4 infotainment system and a 13.2 inch touch screen.
The Black Label Nautilus comes standard with an upgraded engine, the twin turbo charged 2.7 liter V-6 engine that is paired with an 8 speed automatic transmission. This engine is pretty chipper putting out 335 horsepower at 380 pound feet of torque.
The entry level or standard level engine in the Nautilus is the turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder version that pumps out 250 horsepower.
The base price of the Black Label edition comes in at $65,090. However the bottom line sticker price with options and destination and delivery is $68,295.
The Black Label equipment package includes: Lincoln co-pilot 360 plus; enhanced active park assist; 360 degree camera; adaptive cruise with lane centering; ultra comfort 22-way seats and more.
Much like the smaller Corsair SUV – which I recently reviewed – this Nautilus is a very smooth operator. Overall, for a mid-sized SUV it is very roomy and comfortable. The sight lines are good all around as well.
This, my friends, is the ultimate SUV cruiser. It glides around town on a very pillowy ride but with a lot of punch in the 2.7 liter V6 engine. It handles smoothly but not very athletically. If you are looking for that European performance ride, this may not be the mid-sized SUV for you then.
But, if comfort, smoothness and elegance is what you are looking for in your SUV ride, then this is one that should be placed at the top of your list.
The editors at Car and Driver give the 2021 Nautilus high marks for its “comfort tuned suspension”, “nicely outfitted cabin” and its large infotainment display.
Car and Driver gave it low marks for the high price of the Black Label edition, its lack of athleticism and for not being as fuel efficient at other similar SUVs in its segment.
For the record, the EPA fuel consumption ratings for the Nautilus come in at 21 miles per gallon overall, 19 mpg for city driving and 25 mpg for highway driving.
The EPA estimates that this Nautilus will cost about $1,950 per year for fuel as it uses about 4.8 gallons of gas per every 100 miles driven.
The Nautilus also got very high marks in the government’s 5-star safety ratings crash test. It received 5 stars in its overall crash test scores. It also got five stars for both the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.
According to Lincoln officials, the newly redesigned Nautilus has proven to be a popular choice.
“Our focus continues to be on long term, healthy growth and despite the many challenges we’ve all faced this year, the Lincoln brand continues to build momentum and outperform around the world,” said Joy Falotico, president, Lincoln Motor Company.
“Global sales rose 17 percent year over year in the third quarter (2021), we had out best October in 34 years and we’re excited to keep building on that success with the new Nautilus.”
The 2021 Nautilus offers up a new sleek looking dashboard design that incorporates the large 13.2 inch touch screen nicely.
I found the new infotainment system to be above average. It synched my music and phone seamlessly and the navigation system worked without a glitch as well. The voice command system also operated better than most do.
Overall, if you are in the market for a very American riding mid-sized SUV then this Nautilus should be considered a serious contender in this segment.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears weekly. He can be contacted at email@example.com.