Lincoln marked 100 years in 2020 since its founding by the Vermont machinist Henry M. Leland, the same guy who earlier created Cadillac. If you’re wondering of late what Lincoln’s been up to, here’s one answer: It’s been gradually distancing itself from its recent practice of assigning three-character nameplates, which a lot of observers either didn’t understand or couldn’t remember when it counted, to its lineup of vehicles. One such item is the compact SUV that was originally known as the MKX since it first appeared in 2007, but which has been more recently called the Nautilus. Few may realize it, but this has been Lincoln’s largest-selling model since 2016. Based on its corporate cousin, the Ford Edge, the Nautilus slots into the Lincoln lineup between the Ford Escape-derived Corsair and the Explorer-based Lincoln Aviator.
The biggest change for the 2021 Nautilus is a new interior with a heavy helping of convenience. The SYNC 4 system is standard, with a segment-leading touchscreen that measures 13.2 inches. The cabin is available in two new colors, plus Lincoln’s premium Black Label interior treatments known as Chalet and Flight. Three new exterior finishes are also on the palette. Available power goes up to a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 producing 335 horsepower, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine as standard equipment. In its materials announcing the 2021 upgrades, Lincoln makes it clear that China is one of the primary intended markets for the nudged-upward Nautilus.