Over the past decade, the luxury SUV market has proliferated. Saying the segment is highly competitive does the market a disservice. Not only does the market have enough models to provide an example for every niche and whim, but does so twofold. Amongst the tidal wave of luxury, performance, and off-road luxury SUVs some models disappear into the fray. With them so do some customers' interest. Carrying large price tags, it’s hard to find a genuinely bad model. However, one that so far slips beneath many drivers’ radars is the 2022 SUV Lincoln Nautilus.

The Nautilus’ life began as the MKX back in 2007, sharing the underpinnings of the Ford Edge as tradition dictates, the model had a more premium feel than the cheaper Ford model. Showing this model’s age the X in its name stood for crossover, back when that label on its own could sell a car. The model along with the Edge went into its second generation in 2016. After a small revision, Lincoln christened the MKX the Nautilus. The name draws inspiration from a cephalopod. Naming an SUV after a small animal is a little peculiar. However, there is some logic behind the madness. The Nautilus is the smallest SUV offered by Lincoln, sitting beneath the Aviator and Navigator. Thus, its chief competition comes in the guise of the BMW X3, Range Rover Velar, and Cadillac XT5.

Lincoln's smallest SUV beats Cadillac and BMW in key areas.

How Well Equipped Is The Nautilus?

2020 Lincoln SUV Lineup

As one can expect from a Lincoln model, the Nautilus is a little better in every way than the cheaper Ford product. In the headline equipment, this means an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on higher specifications, the standard fare of optional 21-inch alloy wheels and dual tailpipes. Nothing makes drivers happier than a symmetrical rear to their car.

Lincoln has incredible confidence in their vehicle’s reliability. A bumper-to-bumper warranty runs for four years on the entire car or 50,000 miles. On certain components, this lasts for longer. The powertrain warranty lasts for six years or 70,000 miles.

When one buys a car from a luxury marque, a few extra niceties come in the deal. One of these for the 2022 Nautilus is Lincoln Embrace. This feature illuminates the Lincoln logo on the floor as you approach the car. Not exactly practical but something that will surely impress your family and friends. As a car in 2022 should, the Nautilus has full driver assistance, which goes by the label Lincoln Co-Pilot360. The navigation system clearly displays this suite of software. A smaller system than one would find in the competing Tesla Model X but still highly useable.

Why Should You Buy A Nautilus Over A Navigator?

2021 Lincoln Nautilus

Many will find the Nautilus’ chief flaw when compared to the larger Aviator and Navigator models is its greatest selling point. These larger vehicles have three rows, so room for eight in the Navigator and a maximum of seven in the Aviator. For those who don’t need this space, there’s simply no need to spend the extra money on something they don’t need. The Nautilus provides seating for five.

The larger Navigator for 2022 starts at $76,710. The 2022 Nautilus starts at only $43,030. So the Nautilus for many is an excellent economical choice. This continues at the gas pump. According to Lincoln, the Nautilus returns 26 mpg on the highway. For the sake of comparison, the Navigator returns 23 mpg on the highway from a 3.5-liter V6 motor. This saving largely comes from the downsized engine. The standard Nautilus comes with a 2.0 Liter in-line 4 cylinder. A customer can upgrade to a 2.7 liter V6 that returns 25 mpg on the highway. Cadillac's XT5 starts at $43,995 and from a 2.0-liter motor returns 29 mpg on the highway.

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How Does The 2022 Nautilus Compare To The Competition?

2021 Lincoln Nautilus Rear

Unlike many of the ‘little’ Lincoln’s German rivals, the trims available on the Nautilus are simple. With only three, Standard, Reserve, and Black Label. The latter two sell for $49,435 and $65,630 respectfully. The Reserve specification fits adaptive LED headlights, an upgraded audio system, and a sunroof. Black Label is harder to come by and only available at certain dealerships, but these vehicles promise Rolls-Royce levels of luxury with ingrained wood dashboards and darker aluminum.

According to Mercedes-Benz, in its most expensive AMG guise, the GLC 63 AMG comes in at $59,900, so the prices don’t quite rise to the same level as the Black Label Nautilus. With a comparable asking price of $43,700 for an entry-level BMW X3 and $70,100 for a BMW X3 M, the Munich-based competition comes in second place. For the same money, a buyer gets an imported car, that may have a little more prestige with it. However, the BMW does achieve 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, around a second faster than the fastest Nautilus. But the Lincoln offers a higher degree of luxury.

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Regarding practicality, the X3 offers 550 liters of trunk space, the exact same as the GLC and even the Q5. It’s almost as if a gentleman’s agreement exists between these brands to not outdo one another. The Nautilus comes in with 37.2 cubic feet of trunk space with the seats up, 7.2 cubic feet more than the competing Cadillac XT5. Converted to European measurements, the Nautilus comes in at over 1,000 liters of trunk space. The Nautilus is a much larger car and in its most expensive form has a few more luxurious features than the competition.

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