In 1997, the Lincoln Navigator was launched to the full-size luxury sport utility vehicle segment, one that spawned several competitors including the Cadillac Escalade. Like the Escalade, the Navigator is based on the company’s truck platform, a traditional body-on-frame SUV that seats as many as eight people.
2015 Lincoln Navigator
On Feb. 6, 2014, at the Chicago Auto Show, a new Navigator model will be introduced, the first major change to this vehicle since 2009. The upcoming model adopts Lincolns current design language and will be be powered by a 3.5-liter twin turbo V-6 engine, replacing the naturally-aspirated 5.4-liter V-8 that has long moved this SUV.
The newest Navigator will sit on a 207.4-inch wheelbase, down slightly from the current 208.4 inches. An extended wheelbase model also loses an inch, measuring 222.3 inches between the wheels. A redesigned exterior, a refreshed interior, upgraded technologies, and additional luxurious accoutrements will be included.
Inside, the 2015 Lincoln Navigator will be furnished with electric welcome mats as owners press the key fobs unlock button. Even so, owners will be able to gain access to the cabin without a key as the car automatically unlocks provided that the key fob is present in a purse or a pocket, for instance. Push button start replaces the current keyed ignition.
Update Connectivity, Infotainment System
The Navigator will also be outfitted with the latest version of SYNC with MyLincoln Touch, its driver connectivity/infotainment system. This standard-equipped system makes it possible for the driver to control a number of important commands by voice or by touch screen. Cabin temperature controls, audio system access, and phone calls can be made through this system. An 8-inch touch screen located above the center console, a 4.2-inch instrument cluster LCD display, and customary control knobs provide access points to the system.
Standard seating for eight can be changed to seven if buyers elect to replace the fold-flat bench seat with a pair of captains chairs. They can also opt to keep or lose the center console. For the third row a power operated fold-flat seat is standard.
Reserve Package Amenities
The available Reserve Package also brings to the model line high-end leather across all three seating rows, as well as across the center console, on the armrests and to the transmission shifter. The instrument panel will feature hand-wrapped leather with contrast stitching and a leather glove box. Zircote wood trim, a natural-grain wood commonly found in yachts, will also be used.
Under the hood, the first six cylinder engine to ever power a Lincoln Navigator will be the sole motor offered. It is a familiar engine used in other Ford and Lincoln products, one outfitted with a pair of turbochargers, direct injection and variable valve lift technology. It will be coupled with a select-shift 6-speed automatic transmission.
Three Driving Modes
Rear-wheel drive will be standard and four-wheel drive optional. Electric power-assisted steering, a continuously controlled damping system to provide an improved ride, and three different driving modes (normal, sport, and comfort) will be offered. Hill start/descent assist is another standard feature.
“Navigator has retained some of the most loyal following in the segment for more than a decade,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president, Ford global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln. “Among Lincoln owners, more than 70 percent have been return customers – purchasing the vehicle for its power, for its beauty and for its capability, and this new Navigator gives them more on all three fronts.”
Available Fall 2014
The 2015 Lincoln Navigator will be produced in Louisville, Ky, beginning late summer and arrive in Lincoln showrooms by early fall. It will be joined by another new model, the Lincoln MKC, a compact crossover utility vehicle that goes on sale this spring.
So, why invest in a segment that is clearly declining? Navigator sales topped 40,000 units in 1999, but have been falling most years since. Indeed, Lincoln sold just 8,613 units in 2013, up 2.9 percent over 2012, but far below the sales this model attained when gas prices were hovering around one dollar a gallon.
For one, the Navigator shares its platform not only with Fords trucks, but with the Ford Expedition, an SUV with sales topping 38,000 units in 2013. For another reason, the Navigator enables Ford to breath just a little more life in its Lincoln brand, as it brings out other new or refreshed products. And with an EcoBoost engine under the hood, buyers may take a fresh look at the Navigator and its improved performance, fuel economy, and luxurious amenities, deciding to replace their aged models with something new.
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2015 Lincoln Navigator photos courtesy of the Lincoln Motor Company.