Crossover & Midsize

Does the 2020 Lincoln Nautilus Edge Out the Ford Edge?

Are you in the market for a midsize SUV? There is a lot of variety in this vehicle class and your decision is not going to be easy. Do you wish to sit in the lap of luxury or would you rather contribute more to your retirement fund? If your needs lean toward the occasional road trip, the 2020 Lincoln Nautilus has probably caught your eye but the $41,000 base price may have given you sticker shock. If you like the Nautilus but not the price you owe it to yourself to check out the 2020 Ford Edge.

The Lincoln Nautilus

The 2020 Lincoln Nautilus placed ninth out of 20 in the U.S. News list of luxury midsize SUVs with a score of 7.7 and above-average predicted reliability. Obviously, ninth place isn’t earning the Nautilus any bragging rights, but taking the competition into consideration, ninth place is a respectable position. 

The leaders of the pack include names like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus, Acura, and Audi and with those names also come higher price points. In fact, with its $41,040 base MSRP the Lincoln Nautilus has the lowest base price of any SUV on the list.

The 2020 Lincoln Nautilus achieved its highest U.S. News score in the safety category with a 9.6. In crash testing, the Nautilus, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded it their highest rating of “Good” and also gave it “Superior” and “Advanced” ratings for its crash avoidance and mitigation systems.

As a midsize SUV, there is no third-row seat. The Nautilus provides seating for five, and it does so comfortably. Front seats in base trim models are supportive and plush. Upgrading to higher trim levels incorporates more features into the seats as well. At the top of the spectrum, front seats are equipped with heat, ventilation, and massage functions for a truly luxurious experience.

The rear seats in the Nautilus are spacious enough for three adults and offer adequate comfort. Also in the rear seat area, there are two sets of LATCH connectors for child safety seats, one set for each outboard seat. Placing a child safety seat in the middle seat requires borrowing an anchor from each side seat. This complexity led to an IIHS rating of “Acceptable” to “Marginal” for the system.

Reviewers also noted the Nautilus for its quiet, plush ride, user-friendly technology, and good fuel economy rating. However, they were not impressed with its handling characteristics, lack of performance, and small infotainment screen.

The Ford Edge

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The 2020 Ford Edge placed 13th of 22 in the U.S. News ranking of midsize SUVs with a score of 7.7 and average predicted reliability. With a U.S. News safety score of 9.8 and overall good crashworthiness ratings from IIHS, the 2020 Ford Edge earned a Top Safety Pick as a midsize SUV when equipped with curve adaptive headlights.

The interior of the Edge is roomy and comfortable for five adults. The 10-way power-adjustable driver seat is a nice feature, but there is a lack of side support common to all the seats and cloth upholstery is standard. Higher trim levels offer the option for synthetic or genuine leather and the option of a power-adjustable passenger seat as well. 

Reviewers praised the Edge for its fuel economy, responsive acceleration, and desirable standard features including dual-zone automatic climate control. They did not like the unresponsive steering, dull infotainment graphics, and the lack of support provided by the seats.

How they compare

With Ford and Lincoln being produced under the same umbrella, it is natural that the Edge and Nautilus share some similarities as midsize SUVs. In fact, in U.S. News reviews, they each had an overall score of 7.7. The Edge had higher marks for critic’s rating, performance, and safety but the Nautilus scored higher in interior and reliability. 

Both vehicles have a 112.2-inch wheelbase and are within 1.2 inches of being the same overall length and width. The biggest size difference is the Edge is 2.1 inches taller than the Nautilus at 68.3 inches. 

Comparing the Ford Edge to the Lincoln Nautilus is mostly a matter of luxury vs price. The Nautilus is a Luxury SUV with a $41,040 base price. The Edge is nearly $10,000 cheaper in base trim and can be decked out with all the options $43,265. By contrast, a fully loaded Nautilus is upwards of $63,800. For the money, the Ford Edge appears to have the edge.