Home » Here’s Why The 2021 Lincoln Nautilus Was Quiet Perfection

Here’s Why The 2021 Lincoln Nautilus Was Quiet Perfection

Beige Lincoln Nautilus Ts Copy
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Want a used luxury crossover? It’s okay, you definitely aren’t the only one, but it might hit the pocketbook harder than expected. See, because everyone wants late-model crossovers, they’re expensive. So what if I told you that there’s a recent luxury crossover that’s commodious, comfortable, and shockingly affordable on the second-hand market? I’m talking about the 2021 to 2023 Lincoln Nautilus, one of the finest vehicles to ever roll out of Ford’s Oakville assembly plant.

Why the 2021 to 2023 Nautilus specifically? Well, some cars don’t get their wings as soon as they’re born. Think of the E30 BMW 3 Series. It started life as respectable transportation, but it ended life with the legendary M3 and iconic 325i models. The Nautilus is a little like that, just without the touring car trophies. Let me explain.

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Welcome back to Beige Cars You’re Sleeping On, a weekly series in which we raise the profile of some quiet greats. We’re talking vehicles that are secretly awesome, but go unsung because of either a boring image or the lack of an image altogether.

Through the latter half of the 2010s, Lincoln decided it was done with forgettable alphanumerics and ready to embrace names once again, so for 2019, the MKX midsize crossover became the Nautilus. It got a new family face ditching the old waterfall grille and looked far better than the car it replaced, however, one little problem remained for the first two model years.

2021 Nautilus Reserve Silver Radiance

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The 2019 Nautilus had plenty of interior space and width for three child seats across the rear bench, but it still had an interior carried over from the days of the MKX moniker, and that just wasn’t it. Lincoln was still harmonizing its brand identity, and the Nautilus had to catch up. For 2021, it finally happened, when the brand’s midsize two-row crossover finally gained an interior with all the goodies.

2021 Nautilus Flight Blue

Not only did it get the typewriter key-style shifter buttons from the Continental and Aviator, it got Sync4 with a crisp 13.2-inch touchscreen, improved interior materials, and just straight-up nicer center console controls. After all, you don’t normally see the outside of your car while you’re driving, so it’s what’s inside that counts.

2021 Nautilus Flight Blue

Speaking of what’s inside, let’s talk about what’s under the hood. While the 2021 Nautilus did come standard with a perfectly adequate two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque, the real catch was the optional 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6. Sure, fuel economy around town was abysmal, but 335 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque did a solid job of moving more than two tons of crossover. I mean, Car And Driver clocked a zero-to-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds out of the mechanically identical 2019 model, and that’s not bad. However, you don’t buy a Lincoln Nautilus for its speed, you buy it for its road manners.

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2021 Nautilus Reserve Silver Radiance

Ease it up past 60 mph, and you’ll find that the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus is unexpectedly sublime. It absorbs potholes and frost heaves like a sponge, it’s library silent at highway speeds, and its multi-way power seats mold to your body like the world’s most supportive bean bag chairs. How do I know? A few years ago, I had to get from Windsor to Toronto late at night, and a 2021 Nautilus was my steed.

2021 Nautilus Flight Blue

If I were driving a Cadillac XT5 or an Acura MDX or an Infiniti QX50, I’d have stayed another night and tried to gamble with traffic in the morning, but because I was in the Lincoln, a midnight 230-mile one-shot drive across an entirely monotonous landscape wasn’t just easy, it was pleasurable. The seats always held me just right, the Revel sound system sounded sensational for the segment, and the steely beams of the headlights pierced the inky night with the ferocity of stars. Sure, sports cars are fun, but on that stretch of highway, at that hour of night, a couch is what you really need. I stepped out of that car more alert than when I got into it, and even if for that reason alone, it’s not dull at all.

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Despite being three model years old at the oldest, the 2021 to 2023 Lincoln Nautilus is outstanding value for money on the used market. These things start at around $25,000, such as this 2021 Nautilus Reserve up for sale in Florida for $24,998. Sure, black-on-black might not be the most inspiring color combination ever fitted to a vehicle, but this one has just 38,014 miles on the clock and is going for truly sensible coin, especially for a three-year-old luxury vehicle.

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Want the V6? Expect a higher price tag, but one that’s still fair for a vehicle of this age and segment. Here’s a 2021 model up for sale in Wisconsin for $33,473, and it’s in an intriguingly subtle dark green. With 60,108 miles on the clock, it’s still new enough to offer some proper life, along with a true slice of luxury for reasonable coin.

2021 Nautilus Flight Blue

The 2021 to 2023 Lincoln Nautilus isn’t a car you’ll see at the Nordschleife, or on your teenage offspring’s bedroom wall, but it’s an excellent real-world highway warrior that’s way better and way less expensive than you’d expect. If you’re looking at used BMW X3s and Audi Q5s and are okay with a little more car, you owe it to yourself to put that three-model-year run of Nautilus on your shortlist.

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(Photo credits: Lincoln, Autotrader sellers)

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Christopher Glowacki
Christopher Glowacki
9 days ago

Yeah it’s a glammed up late model Edge with an admittedly far nicer and prettier to look at interior. I’d certainly rock it over the Edge as it does just look better to me from every angle inside and out even if I know they are mechanically the same vehicle. Though I do know I’m not gettin those Lincoln every which way adjustable seats in the Ford at any price without some seriously not worth it surgery

Runaround
Runaround
1 month ago

This is my wife’s car and she loves it. It’s actually her 2nd one. They are amazing on the highway, especially in comfort suspension mode.

The one thing that I was disappointed with the new interior is the dash for the black label trim. On the previous interior it was actually leather (or leather like) instead of the soft molded plastic on the new one. And since it’s something you see the entire time your driving it’s a pretty noticeable downgrade on an otherwise very nicely designed interior.

Zerosignal
Zerosignal
1 month ago

I have a 2017 MKX and it’s the nicest car I’ve ever owned. I would definitely look for a 21-23 Nautilus when my wife’s Tucson is ready for replacement. (hopefully after my MKX is paid off)

Last edited 1 month ago by Zerosignal
No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
1 month ago

How much cheaper will these be in a couple more years? 2021 seems almost new to me.

NebraskaStig
NebraskaStig
1 month ago

I skipped ahead after the “typewriter” button comment with the following thought…”if a retro car came out today, who would rock the classic typewriter shift buttons?”

It’s the PT Cruiser.

Calling Bishop! We need a third Gen PT Cruiser, where nostalgia is the drug

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
1 month ago

Make sure you get an extended warranty if you pick one up. Still see a lot of ecoboosts (more 4s than 6s but the v6 does it too sometimes) blowing out head gaskets/cracking blocks and or heads right between the cylinders.

Angel "the Cobra" Martin
Angel "the Cobra" Martin
1 month ago

Can confirm all this is true. The V6 rips and the cabin is most quiet I’ve ever been in. If I’m not mistaken, they use noise cancelling tech to get the quiet up to 11.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
1 month ago

It’s one quieter, innit?

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
1 month ago

I LOL’d

AlterId
AlterId
1 month ago

I’m talking about the 2021 to 2023 Lincoln Nautilus, one of the finest vehicles to ever roll out of Ford’s Oakville assembly plant.

I’m sure it’s very nice, but should we be encouraging the export of American jobs to the eh-quiladoras north of the border?

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
1 month ago
Reply to  AlterId

Yes, give us your jobs. Do it. Do it now!

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

You can have all the actual labor if we get to keep all the monies and benefits.

Deal?

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
1 month ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

That’s actually more or less how NAFTA works…

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

This time send all the monies and benefits directly to me please.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Labour*

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

You can call it whatever you like as long as you’re the one getting it done.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago

Why are there so many available with decent miles – rentals or problems perhaps?

Last edited 1 month ago by Ranwhenparked
VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

I wouldn’t assume this explains all of them, but if you’re buying a Lincoln new, I would assume “keeping up with the Joneses” plays into it if some of these are already 3 years old.
Or if they’re just coming off leases?

Kasey
Kasey
1 month ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

I hear they’re pretty popular with uber black drivers, so that may play a role in it.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
1 month ago

Lincoln has been quietly putting out some of the nicest interiors for several years (no pun intended).

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago

For those who, like me, can’t keep these straight, this is the fancy Edge, not the fancy Escape or fancy Explorer.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Thank you. I always forget which is which. The Corsair is the Escape and the Aviator is the Explorer, then.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

Is the Navigator still (s)extant?

Flatisflat
Flatisflat
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

I believe my mom owns a 2021 fancy Escape. And every time I drive it, the infotainment makes me want to chuck the whole thing straight into the ocean.

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Thank you. I nonetheless appreciate that they use actual names, and with a theme to boot.
Death to alphanumeric names.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

I too have become lost by this, I thought there was only the fancy Escape and fancy Explorer… did not remember there was a fancy Edge.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
1 month ago

But what’s the difference between the Edge and Escape??

Timmy
Timmy
1 month ago

Edge is SLIGHTLY bigger in width and length (interior room).

Suss6052
Suss6052
1 month ago

The Edge was based on the same platform as the Fusion, the Escape on the Focus

Tomato Cards
Tomato Cards
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Every single time I see one of these (any of the three) on the road I scratch my head. I can kinda sorta see someone choosing to buy a Lexus or Acura over a Toyota or Honda (not really, mind you – I still think its a sucker move). But if you are going to get a Ford? No way!

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