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The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus Has a Killer Feature the Lexus RX Can’t Match

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Lincoln went for the big screen option. And shockingly enough, it’s wonderful.

Photo by Tyler Duffy

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I’ll be honest: I was not quivering with anticipation about driving the new Lincoln Nautilus. Every luxury automaker builds a two-row crossover, and while these SUVs are super-important from a financial perspective, their sales volume disincentivizes taking risks. As a result, nearly every brand games out the same safe formula. Strip away the badging and the styling cues, and every entry can feel largely identical.

That’s sort of what I anticipated with the Nautilus — albeit with a potpourri of curated digital scents. But when Lincoln brought me out to Palm Springs to test the Nautilus for a first drive on some mountain roads, it surprised me — in a good way.

The Nautilus has one unique feature: a massive, 48-inch coast-to-coast screen. I was skeptical when I saw the big screen at the launch event. Advanced tech innovations like this in cars tend to be flashy and performative rather than helpful to drivers. But Lincoln’s screen works. It felt like the future, without feeling too alien, and resolved some significant issues with touchscreens. And I now want one in every car.

The advanced tech in the Lincoln Nautilus added a surprising wrinkle in what can be a bland crossover segment.Photo by Tyler Duffy

The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus: What We Think

The Nautilus delivers what most luxury crossover buyers want. It’s good-looking, comfortable, quiet, spacious and practical. The advanced tech is well-executed and intuitive to use. That should be a major selling point with younger, affluent buyers who see themselves as more sophisticated than adventurous.

I would say it’s worth the upgrade to the Nautilus’s hybrid powertrain. It adds more than 50 horsepower to the mix, bumps fuel efficiency from 21 mpg to 30 mpg in city driving — and it’s only an extra $1,500, the price of the swanky “Jet” appearance package (which, for the record, I’d also recommend).

The Nautilus big screen is a great improvement

I never feel older than when watching the latest car infotainment tech revealed. I’m not a complete Luddite, but I’m a simple person who wants to play my music and navigate … and have the car otherwise leave me alone. Lincoln’s screen initially conjured images of Byton’s 48-inch concept display at CES, which looked like peak screen distraction.

But Lincoln’s display won me over. Unlike some notable big screen competitors, it reduces distraction. The big screen is below your sightline while driving. Instead of jutting up into your windshield, the dashboard slopes downward to accommodate it. It’s not a touchscreen; it projects the information from the touchscreen upward and forward nearer to the road. The simple, customizable layout presents the vital information in a clear, prominent, highly-visible format. And it in no way resembles the Vegas strip.

As a result, I looked down less often and for a shorter duration than I would in a car with a typical touchscreen. I’m not sure I needed the whole 48-inch expanse; the far-right sections are more challenging to see, and I was scraping for things like local weather to fill them. But I could imagine the added space would be good for future app or phone integrations.

The Lincoln Nautilus’s massive 48-inch screen looks like it would be intrusive. But it’s actually less distracting than a traditional touchscreen. Lincoln

Don’t be put off by the Nautilus’s odd-shaped steering wheel

Lincoln didn’t give the Nauitlus a Tesla-style yoke, but the oblong-shaped apparatus with a flat top and bottom — designed to facilitate seeing the screen — comes within spitting distance of the wheel/yoke divide. Don’t be scared of it.

The wheel feels normal with your hands at 9:00 and 3:00, where you should place them while driving. And unlike a yoke, you can still graze your hand along it, grab the top and go hand-over-hand in tight, low-speed maneuvers.

The buttons on the steering wheel are blank; pressing them brings up small pop-up menus on the big screen. Most of the time, the buttons on the right side will control the stereo/volume, and the buttons on the left control hands-free BlueCruise semi-automated driving. (Lincoln no longer refers to it as ActiveGlide). But the buttons can change roles, to let you answer a phone call or do other functions.

I was apprehensive at first, but the buttons work remarkably intuitively and seamlessly — at least, for anyone who has used a video game controller. Engaging BlueCruise, for example, proved remarkably easy.

The Nautilus drives like a luxury car

Lincoln doesn’t feign sportiness. You don’t drive a Lincoln for adventure. The brand uses aviation and nautical imagery (see: Nautilus) to highlight its goal of smooth, unobstructed movement. No engine-revving, no power-sliding, no terrain-conquering; you buy a Lincoln for a serene, smooth jazz-like experience getting from A to B. That’s what the Nautilus delivers.

The Nautilus is supremely quiet. Lincoln fitted it with acoustic glass, active noise cancellation tech and sound-deadening material in the wheels. You feel cocooned from the outside world. With the hybrid, it’s hard even to detect an engine is operating in the background and switching from gas to electric unless you mat the pedal.

Both the hybrid and gas engines are reasonably peppy. The Nautilus isn’t a corner carver and has a bit of weight to it — more than 4,500 pounds in hybrid form. But it handled itself competently on some aggressive California mountain roads. The ride was mostly smooth, though I’d like to try the 21-inch and 22-inch wheels again on rougher Michigan pavement. The brakes on the hybrid felt a tad trickier to modulate than the ICE model, too.

My drive partner and I averaged about 25 mpg in the hybrid rather than the Nautilus’s EPA-rated 30-ish mpg. But we were climbing up grades, pushing the car in corners and not getting the typical regen one might in city driving. I suspect the official figure would be closer to the mark in normal driving.

Lincoln wants to rejuvenate you when you’re not driving

When you aren’t driving your Nautilus, Lincoln still wants you to hang out in your Nautilus. You can watch videos when the vehicle is parked. You can hook up a controller to play video games. I even tested Lincoln’s new “Rejuvenate” system in a controlled demo (it won’t be available on 2024 cars until an over-the-air update).

Rejuvenate essentially turns the Nautilus into a spa. There’s no particular revolutionary feature, but it combines Lincoln’s “digital scents,” massaging seats, big screens and sound system into an immersive relaxation (and eventually revitalization) experience. Call it a next-level, multisensory version of your Calm app. I suspect it’s even more relaxing without a Lincoln engineer guiding you through the experience.

Lincoln’s Rejuvenate use cases — getting home and needing 5 to 10 minutes to decompress before encountering your family — seemed borderline depressing. But I think this is technology fit for future Lincoln vehicles: electric cars at a charger (still waiting for that first EV, Lincoln) or perhaps a Lincoln that can drive itself a large portion of the time.

That said, I did get trapped for about 10 minutes at a railroad crossing as the world’s longest cargo train heading east from Long Beach passed, and would have loved some rejuvenation.

What are some Lincoln Nautilus alternatives?

The Nautilus plays in the large compact, small midsize, entry-level luxury segment starting around $50,000. There’s a lot of competition there. Lincoln most frequently referenced the Lexus RX hybrids as its main competitor; I’d also thrown the Cadillac XT5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and Acura RDX in there.

Lincoln starts the Nautilus at a higher price than most of the competition at $50,415. However, the Nautilus comes with standard all-wheel-drive, which alleviates that difference somewhat. The hybrid is comparatively attainable. The Nautilus is also just bigger than many of those competitors, with a massive 35.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row in the hybrid.


Lincoln Nautilus

The Nautilus is Lincoln’s two-row midsize luxury crossover. It slots between the smaller Corsair and the larger, three-row Aviator in the Lincoln lineup.



Turbocharged 2.0-liter / 2.0-liter hybrid


250 / 310


280 / 295 lb-ft

EPA Fuel Economy

21-30 mpg city, 29-31 mpg highway




Big screen well-executed and intuitive to use

Comfortable and spacious interior

Exceptionally quiet ride


Not particularly thrilling to drive aggressively

Not particularly capable off-road

Some competitors deliver better fuel economy