The blue oval’s luxury division has recently celebrated its centennial and, after years of struggle, the company is finally rising up to its feet. The confusing MK* nomenclature is finally giving way to a more traditional naming strategy, and so is the hapless split-wing grille which didn’t do the brand any favors. The next-generation of Lincoln models is about to get much more aesthetically appealing, which is definitely a move in the right direction. The Lincoln division is again marketing north of 100,000 vehicles in the U.S. for the first time since 2008. They sold 111,159 units during 2017 and the numbers are only expected to grow further from here. The 2019 Lincoln lineup will be richer for two new crossovers: the Aviator and Nautilus. However, the latter is actually a renamed and restyled Lincoln MKX, so the actual number of new Lincoln vehicles for 2019 is one.
Regardless, MY 2019 should provide a spark for the Ford premium division‘s further growth. One new model and a few redesigns should work wonders for the venerable brand that’s missed taking that left turn at Albuquerque a decade or so ago. It feels like they’ve been rejuvenating their lineup for years without any significant progress, but all that could finally be put to bed in the next few years. The recently reintroduced Continental and redesigned Navigator should provide an example to their smaller sedan and SUV siblings respectively – both in terms of nomenclature and design language. And in terms of growing sales if everything goes according to plan for the Lincoln Motor Company. Here’s what the upcoming Lincoln models have in store for us in 2019.
What’s Hot In the New 2019 Lincoln Lineup
03. 2019 Navigator
The all-new fourth-generation Lincoln Navigator is a significantly different vehicle than its predecessor. The body-on-frame full-size SUV is not only better-looking and more refined, but also larger, lighter, and more capable than its predecessor. Completely revised for MY 2018, the 2019 Lincoln Navigator only continues from where the inaugural fourth-generation model had left off. Borrowing the F-150’s aluminum structure, the next-gen Navigator saves around 200 pounds on average. Regardless, the long-wheelbase models still weigh over 6,000 pounds. Speaking of wheelbases, the longer Navigator L models sport a 131.6-inch long wheelbase and 221.9 inches of overall length, whereas the regular-wheelbase models come with a 122.5 inches in wheelbase and 210 inches in total length.
The oversized and overweight Lincoln Navigator will be no slouch, though. For that, the SUV has its potent twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 engine that’s capable of putting up 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque to thank. Apart from having an abundance of power, the EcoBoost V6 pairs with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic that works like a charm. However, the Navigator’s fuel economy leaves a lot to be desired. Then again, 18 mpg combined isn’t at all that bad of a figure for the Navigator’s class. The large SUV also offers an abundance of space – especially in its long-wheelbase form, and a plethora of available advanced electronic safety gear. The starting price of more than $72,000 might be another one of the Navigator’s downsides (range-topping models top the $100,000 sticker), but Lincoln’s most opulent vehicle should be filling the ‘pros’ category much more quickly than it does the ‘cons’ column from now on.
02. 2019 Aviator
Despite the fact the Aviator nameplate was already briefly used between 2003 and 2005, the upcoming 2019 Lincoln Aviator is an all-new model and the latest addition to the Ford premium division’s lineup. A mid-size SUV at the time it first appeared, the new Aviator will slot just below the regular-wheelbase Navigator and offer three rows of seats. Presented as a practically production-ready concept at the 2018 New York auto show, the upcoming Lincoln Aviator looks every bit as handsome as the Navigator. In fact, it’ll likely borrow most of the Navigator’s design cues, but offer a slightly less upscale interior and a more affordable starting price. Practically a junior Navigator, the 2019 Aviator will measure up to 210 inches of overall length and offer almost every bit of equipment found in its role model SUV. This includes goodies such as a surround-view monitor, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring among other things.
One of the Aviator’s centerpieces in terms of available tech will likely be the Suspension Preview Technology. This all-new system uses a camera in order to scan the road ahead, spot approaching potholes, and mitigate any possible impacts. It’ll work together with the Aviator’s adaptive dampers, but the system itself will likely only be available with the range-topping models. The powertrain lineup still hasn’t been revealed, but the EcoBoost V6 – probably a 2.7L one – is one of the most likely possibilities. With 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, this option works rather well in the smaller Nautilus. The Lincoln division is also promising a plug-in version of the SUV, but details on that model are even stingier. What is known, however, is the fact that all Aviators will be built on a new rear-wheel-drive platform, whereas an all-wheel-drive will likely be optional. The Aviator will likely go on sale during the Summer of 2019.
01. 2019 Nautilus
Despite sporting an entirely new name for the Lincoln division, the Lincoln Nautilus is still a Lincoln MKX and therefore still a Ford Edge deep down. However, with the new name came a new styling, as well as a completely revised interior with more advanced tech. The 2019 Lincoln Nautilus improves where it counts with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both standard from the get-go. Furthermore, active safety features like automatic braking in case of emergency, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors and lane-departure warnings are also available. The interior quality remains somewhat sub-par for a luxury badge of Lincoln’s stature, but the entry-level Nautilus still starts from around $40,000 in a front-wheel-drive configuration. The range-topping Black Label edition will push the limit close to the $60,000 mark, but most of the base model’s issues will be rectified.
The 2019 Nautilus’ powertrain lineup consists of two turbocharged engines. Instead of the former 3.7L naturally aspirated V6, the base unit now displaces 2.0L, and develops 245 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, whereas an optional 2.7L EcoBoost V6 generates 335 horses and 380 lb-ft. Both are paired with new 8-speed automatics that replace the former 6-speed units. Both engines are more than up to the task of moving the mid-sized crossover around effortlessly, and their fuel economy is an improvement over the previous lineup. At least when it comes to the base 4-cylinder, that is. The new Lincoln Nautilus should finally see Lincoln’s mid-sized crossover selling more than 35,000 units per year, which it only managed to do once, during its inaugural year, more than a decade ago.
What’s Not In the New 2019 Lincoln Lineup
03. 2019 Continental
There are precious few nameplates in the world that are as iconic as the Lincoln Continental. Tracing its roots to Edsel Ford’s personal prototype car from 1939, the tenth-generation Conti finally arrived after a prolonged 15-year hiatus. After selling 5,261 units between September and December of 2016, and 12,012 units during 2017, the new Continental’s sales have begun declining. This doesn’t bode well for Lincoln’s flagship sedan that’s supposed to be the face of the lineup. The reasons for that are numerous, however. To begin with, the 2019 Continental will likely be the last pre-facelift model of this generation. Despite being handsome and well-appointed inside, the Conti is still lacking that fine touch of its German rivals and their advanced technology. It might be comfy and affordable in lower ranges, but it can also quickly become a $70,000 to $80,000 affair when fully kitted.
The Lincoln Continental finds its motivation behind a trio of V6 engines in 2019. The base naturally aspirated 3.7L V6 makes “only” 305 horsepower, and things just get better from there. An optional 2.7L EcoBoost V6 cranks up 335 horsepower, while the range-topping 3.0L twin-turbo V6 puts up as much as 400 ponies. Despite being at the gates of the third decade of the 21st century, the Lincoln’s most luxurious limo still fails to offer more than 6 available speeds. That’s one of the reasons the Conti is as thirsty as it is. Another one is the sheer robustness of its engines. If the modern-day Continental is to survive, the blue oval will have to start treating it as an important part of their lineup. A 10-speed automatic would definitely be a fine start, but that would still only be a beginning.
02. 2019 MKZ
Despite being one of the first Lincoln models to receive the next-gen styling update, the MKZ is now dangerously old, riding on a platform that’s first appeared in 2013. The name MKZ, too, is soon about to be phased out, but the intermediate sedan which shares its underpinnings with the Ford Fusion will likely continue to be offered under a new one. The current models start from around $36,500, for which you get a more luxurious cabin and a few standard features more but not much else. The cabin materials are still not of substantial enough quality, and ride quality also leaves a lot to be desired. Especially if you opt for high-performance tires. The MKZ can also become quite pricey if optional advanced safety gear is a must. The range-topping MKZ Black Label costs almost $50,000 regardless of whether you opt for a hybrid or a conventional model.
Speaking of which, the Lincoln MKZ hybrid combines a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with a duo of electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack for a combined output of 188 horsepower. Although it lacks the power of its conventional siblings, the MKZ hybrid manages to return up to 41 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. The conventional models, as mentioned before, offer a much more powerful EcoBoost duo, the first of which is a 2.0L 4-cylinder making 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of twist. Top-of-the-line performance is available with a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 which cranks up 350 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque with standard front-wheel drive and as much as 400 ponies with the optional all-wheel drive. This is one of the 2019 MKZ’s stronger points but, as you might have guessed, it comes with a hefty price tag.
01. 2019 MKC
The smallest of the blue oval’s crossovers can be ordered with both the Ford and Lincoln badges. Despite being numerous, the differences between the two can essentially be disregarded. Unlike the Ford Escape, the Lincoln MKC sports a more upscale interior and a comparably higher starting price. For $10,000 above the Escape’s entry-level price, the base Lincoln MKC could have offered some advanced safety systems, but most of them are still optional. That way, you have to order even more expensive upper echelon models in order to reap the benefits of features such as automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warnings, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts. The 2019 MKC does offer a cushioned ride and a new, handsome design language which puts it in-tune with the rest of the Lincoln range.
The MKC’s powertrain lineup carries over into MY 2019. The base models will continue with a 2.0L turbo four that yields 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of rotational force. On the other hand, a more powerful 2.3L EcoBoost variant cranks up as much as 285 hp and 305 lb-ft. The downside is – the blue oval still hasn’t deemed the Lincoln’s compact crossover worthy of a more contemporary transmission, given the 2019 models make do with 6-speed automatics. However, the powerful engines alone are more than enough to make the MKC one of the most inspiring small luxury crossovers on the market, performance-wise. Maybe even a handful since the optional engine puts a strain on the MKC chassis. The 2019 Lincoln MKC owners probably won’t find that to be the issue. Especially considering most of them will end up with the base engine anyway. The real question remains: how long will the MKC retain its current name?