What do you consider luxury? Perhaps soft, heated leather seating and a smooth ride?
Each of us has an idea of what luxury is — and so do the auto manufacturers.
Lincoln has a long heritage of building luxury vehicles and, according to Lincoln president Kumar Galhotra, it is all about the personal experience in everything from when you first wish to purchase a Lincoln to the comfort of driving it every day.
Lincoln has just announced the addition of a new name to its family of luxury SUVs and, according to Galhotra, the 2019 Nautilus “better reflects the ideas and attitudes of our clients, the technology in this vehicle is thoughtful and purposeful,” he said. “We focused on bringing in innovative features to make each drive effortless for our clients.”
Replacing the popular MKX model in the spring, the 2019 Nautilus is all new from the A-pillars forward, and this new architecture helps incorporate new technologies.
There are several driver-assist features in the Nautilus.
Building on previous tech such as blind-spot information, active park assist, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control with pre-collision warning and pedestrian detection, the Nautilus uses both camera and radar sensing to add new features.
The new features include lane-centring. By monitoring lane markings on the road, the system determines the desired path of the vehicle and uses the electric power steering to subtly adjust the steering to keep the vehicle in the centre of the lane. This reduces driver fatigue on longer drives.
Another new feature is evasive steer assist. The cameras and radar system analyze the gap between slower or stationary vehicles on the road ahead. When there is a risk of a collision, the system alerts the driver and will apply braking. But now, if there is insufficient space to avoid a collision by braking, the system helps the driver steer around the other vehicle to avoid a rear-end collision.
Technology also adds comfort to the vehicle. Approach lighting gradually turns on front and rear lighting and then side “welcome mat” lighting on the ground by the front doors. Then interior lighting fades in, all resulting in a relaxing, welcoming experience. It is a small touch of technology which requires no driver inputs — but adds to the driving experience.
Acoustic side glass is another simple, but effective, use of technology.
The side windows use two layers of glass with a plastic sheet laminated between them, similar to windshield construction. This type of glass reduces noise in the vehicle interior, making for a quieter, more relaxing ride. Another benefit is acoustic side glass is very difficult to penetrate, protecting passengers from ejection if a seatbelt is not worn, and reducing the possibility of a thief gaining access to your vehicle contents.
A refreshed driver is a safer driver, and the available ultra-comfort seats are adjustable up to 22 ways and include massage features as well as heating or cooling. Developed with input from orthopedic surgeons, the massage system is specifically designed to reduce fatigue.
The 22-way adjustments include individual thigh supports, as almost everyone sits in a vehicle with each of their feet in a different position. Supporting each leg separately is more comfortable and less fatiguing.
As a convenience, a wireless charging pad in the console enables compatible smartphones to be charged by simply placing the phone on the pad. No wires or cords are required.
The powertrain is also improved with technology.
The Nautilus features a new eight-speed automatic transmission, the first application of this transmission by the company. Driving all wheels, the eight-speed improves fuel economy, acceleration and driving smoothness.
I have always been fascinated by automotive technology. But over the years, I have seen many technologies incorporated into vehicles that take a driver’s attention away from the road, or are installed just because the technology is available, without considering the driving experience. I applaud Lincoln with its approach to using technology wisely, adding to the driving experience and occupant safety — without distracting drivers.