The full-size luxury SUV from Lincoln has not received much respect in recent years, partly because it has been eclipsed by its more modern and glitzier domestic rival, the Cadillac Escalade. However, the good news is that the Lincoln Navigator is back with a bang after being refreshed with new features including an upgraded interior, revised sheet metal, and a powerful new EcoBoost V-6. You might actually be surprised by the Navigator’s newfound competence and comfort.
BETTER PERFORMANCE AND POWER
What really impressed us about the 2015 Lincoln Navigator 4×4 is its biggest update – a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. The previous model’s 5.4-liter V-8 was perhaps the SUV’s most glaring flaw and it has now been fixed! The 2015 Navigator now gets twin turbochargers with the V-6 that puts out 380 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,750 rpm. You will also like how fuel efficient it is.
The rear-wheel-drive and short-wheelbase models are rated at a fantastic 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. Also, it features a 6-speed select, shift auto transmission, which gives you a 0-60 mph time of about 6.2 seconds. That is more than pretty fast! Certainly for a vehicle of this size.
On driving the car, we found that the 2015 Lincoln Navigator 4×4 is capable of hauling up to 9,000 pounds, giving you best-in-class towing. Another awesome thing that we noticed is that the 6-speed automatic transmission with haul/tow mode prevents you from gaining too much speed when you are towing downhill. And what about when you are going up? It helps keep the engine in its power band, allowing you to keep your momentum. Standard trailer sway control and traction control work together to monitor vehicle motion, giving you peace of mind.
You get two modes of operation with the standard SelectShift automatic — Progressive Range Select or Full Manual. In Progressive Range Select, you can lock out overdrive for consistent speed over hilly terrain by limiting the range of gears while in Drive. All you have to do is tap down into Range Select mode and you will find the available gears on the display and the one you are using highlighted.
With this feature, you can limit the use of upper gears when the vehicle is towing on grades or loaded heavily. In Full Manual mode, you can be in full control because it lets you go all the way up and down the gearbox. The gear you choose is displayed and to give you a full manual transmission feel, the control system will lock the torque converter and hold the selected gear.
INTERIOR DESIGN AND TECH
Now let’s take a look inside this baby, shall we? First off, we should mention that with the 2015 Navigator, there is no compromise on luxury. This car is luxury- redefined. We especially fell in love with the heated and cooled seats, with three settings for each, that allow you to feel comfy throughout the year.
You can comfortably accommodate three passengers with the standard one-touch PowerFold 60/40 third-row split bench seat. We think that is pretty neat! That’s not all – we were able to fold up both sides of the third-row seat to the floor in one fluid motion with just a touch of a button. Need more space? You can fold the second row, flat as well and create a flat load floor with minimal effort. And you also get more third-row head room than the Lexus LX, Infiniti QX 80, and the Toyota Land Cruiser.
The leather-and-wood steering wheel looks pretty fantastic and is a stellar item to work. But you cannot help but think that for such a large vehicle, a thinner rim would feel more appropriate.
With the 2015 Navigator, you now get a variation of Lincoln and Ford’s multi-function instrument cluster in front of you. This incorporates a central analog speedometer with two LCD screens on each side. You can configure them to show everything from vehicle settings to audio system info to a digital tachometer. The latest version of MyLincoln Touch is also included in the interior tech. You get an eight-inch touchscreen that has redundant buttons and knobs that, in our opinion, are much more intuitive than the touch-sensitive sliders that were found everywhere in earlier iterations of the infotainment system.
THX II certified audio system comes standard in the Navigator. It features a high-quality HD Radio reception, 12-channel amp, 600 watts of power and 14 speakers including subwoofer. With the multichannel equalization and digital signal processing match speaker placement with cabin acoustics, you can enjoy concert-quality performance every time. We tried all the setting on the music system, and were enthralled by the music quality. This is certainly one helluva tremendous entertainment system with surround sound for a larger than life experience.
Other standard features that impressed us quite a lot include the rear view camera, Intelligent Access with push-button start, MyKey, an innovative safety feature, and last but not least, BLIS with cross traffic alert to make driving more convenient for you.
You are sure to be impressed by the array of standard luxuries that the 2015 Navigator comes with. With the standard power liftgate, all you need to do is touch a button on your key fob or inside the passenger cabin and the liftgate opens or closes. This conveniently allows you to easily load up luggage, groceries, or anything else. Another great feature we find worthy of a mention is the manual flip-up glass window that gives you quick access when you need to place or retrieve items from the cargo area without having to open the liftgate.
With the standard power-deployable running boards, getting in or out of the Lincoln Navigator is made a whole lot easier. The running board extends when you open your door, and retracts again when you close it. No doubt, Navigator luxury is all about attending to your every need.
However, we have to say that some of the latest style features are not as attractive as we would have liked. For instance, the newest layer of grillwork – it does not look great at all, although it is Lincoln’s way of trying to modernize the SUV’s look. Other Lincoln models and their twin-wing grills look really good, but we found that it just does not work on the Navigator.
2015 Lincoln Navigator 4×2, $62,475
2015 Lincoln Navigator 4×4, $66,050
2015 Lincoln Navigator L 4×2, $64,640
2015 Lincoln Navigator L 4×4, $68,215
The 2013 Lincoln Navigator is significantly better-furnished and more importantly, quicker than before. It is a respectable option if you are looking for a traditional full-size luxury SUV. It is a little short on some tech features and its middle handling definitely diminishes its desirability, but still, it is not an SUV that you should underestimate.
What we liked:
- The powerful EcoBoost powertrain; it is smooth and improves acceleration
- Plenty of cabin room, offering space and comfort
- Exceptional towing capacity
- Good visibility
What we did not like:
- Weak fuel economy
- Interior seems a little cheap
- Poor build quality
- Unrefined ride
All in all, the 2015 Lincoln Navigator looks impressive, especially in light colors and after all these years, the proportions still wear quite well. We just found that when it comes to styling, compared to it is not as bold as say, an Escalade and it is all not as tasteful as other SUVs of the same size, for example, Ford’s Expedition. We like the tech features it does have and we are also impressed with its performance. If you are looking for a luxury SUV that is quick and comfortable, the Lincoln Navigator is a poignant option.
Photo Credit: Copyright 2016 Victor Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog