Now that the Ford Motor Company has turned its attention to Lincoln, new and updated products are debuting with more on the way. In 2013, the latest generation MKZ sedan made its appearance. This summer, the all-new MKC crossover utility vehicle rolled out. And this fall we have the latest iteration of the Lincoln Navigator, a full-bodied, traditional sport utility vehicle that is itself new.
2015 Lincoln Navigator
Perhaps the most significant change for the Lincoln Navigator is that it no longer offers a V-8 engine. A 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 is the sole power choice, a 380-horsepower beast with an output of 460 foot-pounds of twist. The engine is a familiar one with its dual overhead camshaft and twin variable independent variable camshaft timing, promoted as “EcoBoost” technology by the Ford Motor Company. The direct injection engine is paired with a select shift six-speed automatic transmission.
Despite its smaller footprint, the new Lincoln Navigator engine is more powerful than the 5.4-liter V-8 engine it replaces (310 horsepower, 365 foot-pounds of torque). It is also more efficient as fuel economy rises from 14 to 16 mpg city and from 20 mpg to 22 mpg highway, for best in class fuel efficiency.
The 2015 Navigator’s dimensions are nearly identical with the new vehicle as it sits on a 119-inch wheelbase and measures 207.4 inches long by 78.8 inches wide and 78.1 inches tall. It comes with 8.4 inches of ground clearance and a front track measuring 67 inches and a rear track measuring 67.2 inches.
Extended Wheelbase Edition
As before, an extended wheelbase Navigator L model returns, what adds a foot between the wheels and 15 inches overall. Both models offer three rows of seating with the biggest gains coming in third row shoulder room and cargo space. All models seat eight.
The 2015 Lincoln Navigator is priced from $62,745, including destination and delivery charges. The most noticeable exterior change is the split-wing grille, an adaptation of the brand’s current design language. That face is flanked by high-definition headlamps and jewel-like daytime running lights.
Standard 20-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels give way to 22-inch wheels with the Reserve package. The package also brings in stainless steel or Tuxedo Black running boards.
Lincoln says that the 2015 Navigator is its best handling one yet. The electric-power assisted steering adjusts vehicle speed to provide improved control. An available Lincoln Drive Control option brings in continuously controlled damping, what adjusts the suspension system automatically. You can also choose from three driving modes: normal, comfort and sport.
Nivomat Load-Leveling System
Choose the 44 package and your Navigator is outfitted with hill descent control and hill start assist. The Select package brings in a load-leveling system called “Nivomat,” what raises the rear end of the SUV for improved handling. Lincoln says the system also improves aerodynamics while reducing tire wear.
Inside, the interior has been redone and features a Wollsdorf leather-wrapped, wood-trimmed steering wheel with a better grip. Choose the Reserve package and the cabin receives upgraded leather seating across all three rows, a hand-wrapped leather instrument panel and premium Ziricote wood trim — found in many yachts.
Speaking of maritime pursuits, this SUV can pull up to 9,000 pounds when properly equipped. Its standard 42 system can be upgraded to 44, the latter offering a near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution.
Infotainment and Safety Systems
Other Lincoln Navigator features include: Illuminated welcome mats, a passive entry system, keyless engine ignition and SYNC with MyLincoln Touch. Lincoln’s infotainment system permits the driver to use voice-activated or touch screen controls to make phone calls, play music, manage the navigation system or set cabin temperature. The system includes an 8-inch touch screen in the center stack and a 4.2-inch LCD screen in the instrument cluster. You will also find traditional knob controls to bypass the screen.
Several safety features are standard with the new Navigator, including a Blind Spot Information System. BLIS automatically signals when another vehicle is detected in an adjacent lane behind either rear wheel. A rearview camera is also standard as are six airbags, roll stability control and a post-crash alert system that automatically calls for help following an accident when you are not able to do so.
“The new Lincoln Navigator has more of what our customers want delivering both power and beauty,” said Elaine Bannon, chief engineer. “It’s got the new Lincoln design DNA on the exterior, a redesigned instrument panel and a new Reserve option with 22-inch wheels along with the 3.5L EcoBoost engine. Once we were able to include all of those elements, I knew we had a vehicle people will love.”
Those attributes keep Lincoln competitive in a segment with only a handful of large-scale luxury SUVs available. You can name the Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GL Class, Lexus LX, Infiniti QX80 and the Range Rover Land Rover among the Navigator’s top competing models.
Photos courtesy of the Lincoln Motor Company.