The 2015 Lincoln Navigator will make its official debut in a little over a week during the Chicago Auto Show, but Ford’s would-be luxury brand is showing the new country club special in advance of its Windy City premier.
There’s a lot to digest with the new luxo-truck, but the most obvious change is its face. Lincoln’s split wing grille makes it onto the SUV albeit in less sweeping form than the MKZ mid-size sedan or any other Lincoln product for that matter. The shape is similar, but chunkier because feminine lines and body-on-frame SUVs mix like two cats in a wet paper bag. The Navigator will come with standard 20-inch machined aluminum wheels, although customers can opt for 22-inch rims as part of the “Reserve Package.” The hood has also been revised and both front and rear ends now feature LEDs along with adaptive HID front lamps.
Under that hood, Lincoln is slotting a predictable and logical choice. For 2015, it will drop the 5.4-liter V8 in favor of Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. It’s the most popular engine in the F-150 pickup truck that the Navigator is based on and gets a yet-undecided power upgrade over the pickup. For now, Lincoln is only saying the twin-turbo mill will crank out “at least” 370 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque, both of which are small increases over the truck application. Shifting duty is still handled by a six-speed automatic transmission.
With that announcement, Ford is also predicting best-in-class towing capacity without offering any hard numbers. The current Navigator is rated to tow up to 9,000 lbs with rear-wheel drive models while the four-wheel drive version can pull up to 8,700.
Electric power assistance joins the standard equipment list of 2015 while the brand’s continuously controlled dampers are an extra-cost option. A mechanically leveling Nivomat rear end is still included as standard equipment.
Standard and extended length models are still offers in the same 207.4- and 222.3-inch measurements. With that, the company also expects segment-leading interior cargo capacity. The base model offers 18.1 cubic feet behind the third row, 54.4 behind the second or 103.3 with all but the front seats folded. Extended models offer a whopping 42.6 cubes behind the aft-most chairs or a grand total of 128.2, which should be enough to move your daughter into her dorm room in one fell swoop.
The power-folding third row also folds completely flat thanks to an independent rear suspension. There’s an available second-row bench seat, but Lincoln will sell you captain’s chairs if you prefer. A center console between those is also optional.
Interesting as those seats might be, the rest of the cabin is also making news. Lincoln updated it with premium wood accents some sort of leather upholstery (normally brands boast about the grade but – suspiciously – not here). Blind spot monitoring is available and the same MyLincoln Touch infotainment system finds its way into the center stack. There’s also a new rear-view camera.
Lincoln hasn’t made a pricing announcement yet, but the vehicle will begin arriving in showrooms early this fall. The current car starts at $57,160, or considerably less than the almost $72,000 that Cadillac is asking for the new Escalade. It comes equipped with GM’s new 6.2-liter V8 making 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.
Earlier this month, Ford unveiled its next-generation F-150, which will make extensive use of aluminum to shed up to 700 lbs over the old model. Lincoln hasn’t said anything about similar weight savings with the Navigator, indicating that it will be based on the outgoing truck.
GALLERY: 2015 Lincoln Navigator
Discuss this story at our Ford forum.