The full-size luxury SUV market is not what it was a few years ago, when General Motors and Ford had a virtual oligopoly on the segment with the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon Denali, and Lincoln Navigator. Today, there are more competitors, such as the Infiniti QX80 (formerly QX56) and Mercedes-Benz GL. And, of course, the Range Rover has always been a favorite in the ultra-premium SUV class. So perhaps it shouldn't be too much of a shock that it's taken eight years for the Lincoln Navigator to get an extreme, and much-needed, makeover. It's finally here, and the 2015 Lincoln Navigator is sure to appeal to the loyalists who have bought the Navigator over the last 17 years.
Although the 2015 Navigator is definitely fresher inside, outside, and underhood, it is not an all-new platform in the vein of the 2015 Ford F-150. The body is still steel, and key dimensions such as wheelbase and overall length carry over.
Like its predecessor, the 2015 Navigator retains its four-wheel independent suspension, with optional Lincoln Drive Control, which adds continuously controlled adaptive damping. Along with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, which has a preliminary rating of "at least" 370 hp and 430 lb-ft in this application, the Navigator also gets electric power assisted steering.
The most visible update on the 2015 model is the adaption of Lincoln's new "split-wing" grille, although in a more angular form than on the MKZ sedan and other models. Around back, the 2015 Navigator gets a full-width LED light strip and horizontal taillights.
On the inside, leather is used much more extensively as a trim material, and the Reserve package liberally swathes the dashtop, shifter console, steering wheel and third-row seat in the material. The Reserve package also features Ziricote wood trim, a material common in the yachting industry, but new to cars. Like it or not, the 2015 forsakes last year's full analog gauges for an analog center speedometer flanked by driver-configurable auxiliary gauges, including a watch-size tachometer display.
Production of the 2015 Navigator will start summer 2014 at Ford's Louisville Truck assembly, and the vehicle will be in showrooms in fall 2014. Pricing has not yet been announced.