When does an SUV have a mind of its own?
With the 2021 Lincoln Black Label Nautilus, it’s when the suspension adjusts automatically even after you exit the vehicle. What Lincoln calls “a suite of sensors” make sure the ride is more like a glide (or maybe a magic carpet). The most curious thing is that the Nautilus even adjusts itself after you exit. I know this because I sat and watched it once from the rear of the vehicle, lowering itself a little and likely preparing for my reentry.
On a long drive, I could tell it was working.
First, a little back history here.
I’ve tested some 700 vehicles and, believe me, they don’t all do this. Most cars these days do have an adjustable suspension where you can use a knob to set the vehicle in comfort mode or sport mode (or somewhere in between). The Nautilus has this feature as well, you can use the comfort, normal, or sport mode easily enough.
What’s more interesting to me is that the Nautilus adjusts automatically. The SUV constantly monitors the road and your driving, and the sensors are making the ride more comfortable. I might have been hearing something else in my garage, but after each drive, I swear I could hear the sensors adjusting the suspension. It was a barely audible hiss sound.
In practice, it’s amazing.
As you drive, you can tell the Nautilus is literally adjusting every setting to make sure you ride in comfort. After testing some 700 vehicles over the last 10 years, I know this is not normal. In some of my car tests, even with higher-end luxury cars, you feel the bumps. You can use a “comfort” setting to mitigate against them, but the bumps all feel the same.
On several tests with the Nautilus, that wasn’t the case. I remember driving over a pothole one day and a few days later hit it square on and the Nautilus seemed to be in a different suspension setting because it felt less abrupt. It would be cool if there was even finer control over this than what I found in the vehicle. I’m guessing the adaptive suspension will make its way to other vehicles eventually (even the lower-priced models).
One reason I guess this is that we’ve already seen the trend. Lane-keeping and adaptive braking were common with BMW long before they showed up in a Toyota. That’s the great thing about technology in cars — eventually, it becomes more common and more affordable.
I had a blast driving the Nautilus. I still stood there for a few minutes and watched as the car kept adjusting itself after I disembarked. I wonder what else it is capable of.