2020 Lincoln Nautilus vs. 2019 Toyota Highlander

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/11

The Nautilus has standard Post Impact Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Highlander doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Compared to metal, the Nautilus’ plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Highlander has a metal gas tank.

Both the Nautilus and the Highlander have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Lincoln Nautilus is safer than the Toyota Highlander:

Nautilus

Highlander

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/11

The Nautilus comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Highlander’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the Nautilus 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Toyota covers the Highlander. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Highlander ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the Nautilus third among midsize premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Highlander isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

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The Nautilus’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 65 more horsepower (250 vs. 185) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 184) than the Highlander’s standard 2.7 DOHC 4 cyl. The Nautilus’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6. The Nautilus’ optional 2.7 turbo V6 produces 40 more horsepower (335 vs. 295) and 117 lbs.-ft. more torque (380 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regardless of its engine, the Nautilus’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Toyota only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Highlander LE Plus/XLE/Limited/Platinum.

The Nautilus has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Highlander doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Lincoln Nautilus higher (5 out of 10) than the Toyota Highlander (3 to 5). This means the Nautilus produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Highlander every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Nautilus’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Highlander:

Nautilus

Highlander

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

12.9 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

12.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Nautilus’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Highlander (265/40R21 vs. 245/60R18).

The Nautilus’ optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Highlander SE/Limited/Platinum’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Nautilus offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Highlander’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The Nautilus has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Highlander’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Nautilus offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Highlander’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Nautilus’ wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the Highlander (112.2 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

Chassis

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The Nautilus uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Highlander doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The front step up height for the Nautilus is 1.8 inches lower than the Highlander (17.5” vs. 19.3”). The Nautilus’ rear step up height is 1.5 inches lower than the Highlander’s (18” vs. 19.5”).

Cargo Capacity

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The Nautilus has a much larger cargo volume than the Highlander with its rear seat up (37.2 vs. 13.8 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Nautilus’ rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Highlander doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Nautilus Reserve/Black Label’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Highlander doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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The Nautilus’ standard towing capacity is much higher than the Highlander’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The Nautilus uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 25% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

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The Nautilus has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Highlander doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Nautilus’ standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Highlander doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Nautilus’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Highlander’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Nautilus’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Highlander’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Nautilus the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Highlander can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Nautilus’ exterior PIN entry system. The Highlander doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Nautilus (except Standard) offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Highlander doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Nautilus (except Standard) also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The Nautilus Select/Reserve/Black Label has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Nautilus has a standard dual zone air-conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air-conditioning costs extra on the Highlander.

The Nautilus (except Standard)’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Highlander doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/11

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Lincoln Nautilus and the Toyota Highlander, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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