Lincoln Nautilus

  • The new SUV replaces the MKX midsize crossover.
  • The name, evocative of Jules Verne and the nautical lifestyle, signals a new direction for the brand.
  • Nautilus pricing for the 2019 model year wasn’t announced, but the outgoing MKX started at about $40,000.

Lincoln has pulled the cover off a new crossover SUV, choosing Los Angeles and the LA auto show as a backdrop for the reveal.

The midsize SUV takes the place of the MKX in the lineup of Ford’s luxury brand, which has been undergoing a revival and rebranding under Kumar Galhotra, the division’s President.

Galhotra recently became Ford’s Chief Marketing Officer, so he’s now wearing a bigger hat, but he’s still in charge at Lincoln, overseeing the evolution of a “quiet luxury” strategy that’s intended to make Lincoln stand out from Cadillac, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, and other premium nameplates.

The Nautilus is a step in the right direction, continuing a suave nautical theme that Lincoln has been employing with the new Navigator SUV, launched at the 2017 New York auto show. Lincoln is also stepping away from the letter convention — MKX was actually derived from “Mark” names that Lincoln used from the late 1960s to late 1990s — a welcome move for customers who could never figure things out.

“We are going to move away from MK for all our future reveals,” Galhotra told Business Insider, chuckling when we brought up the Captain Nemo references, but pointing out that “Nauta” is Latin for sailor, and that Lincoln’s brand identity is working with the theme of a journey.

Nautilus also does away with the MKX’s “beaky” grille in favor of a more elegant treatment that aligns the design of the crossover with the Navigator and the rebooted Continental.

“Our view is that the brand should have a common visual language,” Galhotra said.

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