Wednesday, July 8, 2015

2015 Lincoln Navigator 4x4: The Brand’s Flagship

Highlights: Complimentary maintenance is included for 2 years or 24,000 miles. An 8-cylinder engine is no longer available.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $73,640 (base model $62,915)

Seating Capacity: 7 or 8

Standard Safety Features: air bags (and a safety canopy system); a traction control system; a hill start assist system; a rearview camera with a traffic alert system; a tire pressure monitoring system; front and rear automated parking sensor system; a rain sensing wiper system; a trailer sway control system; and an electronic blind spot system

Standard Equipment (base model): 20-inch wheels; a power liftgate; power running board; a capless fuel filler door; HID Headlamps; a leather/wood steering wheel; heated/ventilated front seats; power front seats with driver’s side memory setting; second-row heated seats; power third row fold flat sets; a dual zone automatic climate control; power adjustable pedals for the driver with memory; a rear climate control system; and a remote keyless entry with keypad

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: 22-inch wheels; second-row split bench seats; a power moonroof; and upgraded premium leather seats

Other Trim Level:

L (an extended model)

Suspension System:

Front: stabilizer bars

Rear: multi-link independent

Towing Capacity: up to 9,000 lbs

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 14-speaker THX AM/FM/CD/HD audio system

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

iPod connectivity: Available                                                                                                

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.5, 6-cylinder/380-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 15-city/20-hwy

What’s New: Lincoln breathes life back into the Navigation with a much needed mid-cycle refresh. The brand’s flagship vehicle now wears Lincoln’s signature split grille and new technological enhancements all while been powered by a new 3.5-liter EcoBoost 6-cylinder engine.

Pros: The 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine seems to be more than adequate for this full size SUV. The Navigator is available in a variety of configurations: rear wheel drive, all-wheel drive, a short wheel base and an extended wheel base version.

The massive SUV, depending upon if one opts for the second-row bench or bucket seats, can easily accommodate up to eight passengers all while pulling a boat that weighs up to 9,000 pounds, when appropriately equipped with the correct towing application. 

Moreover, the Lincoln Navigator received a variety of mid-cycle updates to retain its luxury marque. Some of those updates included LED exterior lighting, Lincoln’s signature MyTouch infotainment system, a power liftgate which both opens and close, power side running boards, high intensity discharge adaptive headlights and massive 22-inch wheels.

Furthermore, the Lincoln Navigator offers a more car-like ride than the Cadillac Escalade. Both vehicles are based off of their popular light duty trucks. The Ford F-150 ride quality isn’t the typical harsh ride one would expect from a truck. Thus, since the Navigator is based-off of the same platform as the previous generation F-150 and added to the fact that the vehicle offers a continuously controlled damping, this translates into a much smoother ride than the costlier Escalade, which base price starts in the low $70K range.   

And one last note, the third-row bench seats can definitely accommodate adults for an extended road. This isn’t always the case with most vehicles with third-row seats.

Cons: The exterior design of the Lincoln Navigator isn’t as sharp and crisp, as the segment leader, the distinctive Cadillac Escalade. Even more surprisingly, the hot selling MKC, the brand’s entry-level utility vehicle offers features that aren’t even available on the Navigator. Some of those features consist of a heated steering wheel, a lane departure warning system, a radar-activated cruise control system, a keyless remote system without the use of a keypad and flip folding mirrors. We can only assume these features will be included in the next-generation Navigator.

Furthermore, there is no Black Label edition, which offers concierge services, currently available for the brand’s flagship vehicle. That seems quite odd, seeing that it’s available on other Lincoln models. And for buyers looking for a throatier 8-cylinder engine, pushing out over 400 horsepower, unfortunately they’ll have to look elsewhere.

Lastly, when the third-row seats are in use, this severely limits the Navigator’s cargo carrying capacity, as in the case of a number of utility vehicles.

Verdict: The Lincoln Navigator received a much needed update to stay competitive in the premium large utility segment. While overall sales for the first the six months of 2015 are about a third of the segment leading Escalade, it’s still a worthy contender. What works to the Navigator’s advantage is that it has a starting base price that is several thousand dollars less than the Escalade and that is due to the fact the large premium utility vehicle lacks some of the autonomous driving aids and the luxury features found in its competitors.

Competition: Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80, Lexus LX 570 and Mercedes-Benz G-Class

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