Watch out, Cadillac... Lincoln is BACK!

The days of a worn-out, aging Navigator are gone. Lincoln has finally given its full-size luxury SUV a proper makeover, complete with a high-horsepower EcoBoost V-6, an upscale appearance and perhaps the classiest interior ever seen in the American SUV segment. Of course, the new Navigator is based on Ford’s all-new Expedition. Both share a new high-strength steel frame, aluminum construction for the body, and Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission. Cadillac has held the luxury SUV torch for years with its well-regarded Escalade, but Lincoln could soon be taking the lead.

“Quiet luxury is both a look and a feeling. The all-new Navigator embodies both.” That’s what Lincoln president Kumar Galhotra said about the Navigator when it debuted at the 2017 New York Auto Show. He continued, saying, “The sleek styling, spacious interior, and technology are all designed to make each trip effortless.”

Lincoln has worked tirelessly to build back its reputation of class, elegance, and that old-school charm. Take those Matthew McConaughey commercials, for example. He’s wearing a suit – tie gone, collar undone – hand sprawled over the steering wheel after a long day at some white-collar position in a successful career built over time. It’s smooth jazz music playing softly with rain falling on an empty city street; it’s a mellow yet engaging game of poker and coming away with the winning hand. “The feeling stays with you,” the commercial says. It’s this modern, minimalistic yet richly decorated idea of luxury Lincoln is attempting to tie to its brand image. Regardless of the advertisements, if Lincoln keeps building vehicles like the Navigator, the idea should stick.

Keep reading for the full run-down of Lincolns’ newest seven-seater.

Exterior

2018 Lincoln Navigator High Resolution Exterior
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Lincoln has certainly stepped up its game. The 2018 Navigator shares a similar theme to the Continental, a sedan that recalls Lincoln’s glory of decades ago. The bright chrome accents, large wheels, and jeweled headlights all convey an air of authority and poise. Like its chassis, the Navigator’s look is all-new, dumping the aesthetics of the bygone model. Lincoln’s designers couldn’t have made a better decision.

Up front, the chrome grille is large and very similar to the Continental’s. A massive Lincoln badge lets everyone know to what lifestyle you subscribe. The badge is even unmistakable at night, thanks to LED backlights that softly illuminate as you walk closer to the parked SUV. The LED treatment continues onto the headlights and fog lights, of course, as with all high-class modern vehicles. The bull-nose face of the Navigator carries authority that’s seen throughout the design, including the sharp bodyline running rearward from the headlights toward the LED taillights. The blacked-out side windows, along with the B- and C-pillars, give a limousine-like feel, giving on-lookers a sense of wonder as to who’s riding inside.

2018 Lincoln Navigator High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2018 Lincoln Navigator High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The 2018 Navigator shares a similar theme to the Continental, a sedan that recalls Lincoln’s glory of decades ago.

Around back, Lincoln’s use of wrap-around taillights makes its return, as seen on all of its current vehicles. The Lincoln block lettering is used on the tailgate quite tastefully, rather than the star badge. This also recalls Lincoln history, as many notable models in the brand’s past uses the star badge in front and block lettering in back. Down low, a removable panel hides the standard trailer hitch receiver. The cover isn’t some cheap plastic piece either, but rather shares the same gloss-black paint color as the lower trim that surrounds the Navigator’s belly. Turbine-style 22-inch wheels look fantastic with their black-painted pockets and machined faces.

All told, the Navigator’s appearance is far more inviting, luxurious, and stately than the last model’s. It goes without saying Lincoln should see a vast jump in Navigator sales.

The Competition’s Exterior

2015 Cadillac Escalade High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Cadillac Escalade High Resolution Exterior
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There’s no doubt as to the Navigator’s biggest competitor. That’s the Cadillac Escalade. The Caddy SUV was introduced just one year after the Navigator broke onto the scene in 1998. The 1999 Escalade, just like today, was based on GM’s full-size SUVs. Fast forward to the current and fourth generation Escalade, and the luxury levels are much higher, the power levels have increased, and the street cred is deeply ingrained into American pop culture. The Escalade is a symbol of wealth and success like no other domestic vehicle.

Much of the Escalade’s success is found in its overstated design. The large grille grabs attention, as do the massive wheels. In the current Escalade, the LED-encrusted headlights, fog lights, and taillights attract even more attention at night. The crisp lines trekking rearward from the front help give the Escalade a longer appearance than it already has, furthering its size and grandeur.

Exterior Dimensions

Cadillac Escalade Lincoln Navigator
Wheelbase (Inches) 116.0 TBA
Overall length (Inches 203.9 TBA
Overall width (Inches) 80.5 TBA
Overall height (Inches) 74.4 TBA
Track front/rear (Inches) 68.7/68.7 TBA
Approach/Departure angle (deg) 15.7/23.1 TBA

Interior

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Playing off the warmly executed cabin inside the Continental, Lincoln has brought new life into the Navigator. The look and feel of the interior is highly enriched, with real wood and metal accents completing plush leather throughout. And while the center console is similar to the Continental, the overall design is something not seen in the SUV market. The dash is separated into to section, with a fully digital, 12-inch gauge cluster for the driver and a large infotainment screen perched above the center air vents. The driver also gets an available Head-Up Display. The center console doesn’t actually meet the dash, but rather has a separation, just above which is the push-button shifter. Yes, Lincoln is staying true to its love for push-buttons, but this version seems more well done.

The center console itself houses controls for the radio, HVAC system, and drive modes. A wireless phone charger and two cup holders are all hidden under two folding doors, allowing the spaces to be covered for a clean look.

2018 Lincoln Navigator High Resolution Interior AutoShow
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2018 Lincoln Navigator High Resolution Interior
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The look and feel of the interior is highly enriched, with real wood and metal accents completing plush leather throughout.

The console’s theme carries over to the second-row center console, too. Cup holders, deeply padded armrests, controls, and a small display screen give second-row passengers a first-class seat. More USB ports, 12-volt outlets, and a 110-volt plug are found back here, as well. Third row passengers enjoy plenty of room, even with the standard Navigator’s shorter wheelbase compared to the Ford Expedition MAX. We expect Lincoln to also offer an extended version of the Navigator sometime in the near future, too.

In the big picture, the Navigator seats seven people in a 2+2+3 configuration. Lesser models come with a second-row bench seat, pushing the seating capacity to eight. Regardless of the second row, the Navigator still has plenty of room for cargo, both behind the third row and with all the rear seats folded flat. A panoramic moonroof brings extra light into the cabin and rear passengers can enjoy the dual 10-inch TV screens mounted on the front chairs. The entertainment system accepts SD cards, HDMI, USB, and video through the SYNC AppLink system. For those wanting live TV, Lincoln offers that through Sling Media. And of course, the SYNC system runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system also has 4G LTW Wi-Fi hotspot with room for up to 10 devices to connect at once. The optional sound system is from Revel and has 20 speakers said to have been designed with the Navigator’s interior acoustics in mind.

2018 Lincoln Navigator High Resolution Interior
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2018 Lincoln Navigator High Resolution Interior
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2018 Lincoln Navigator High Resolution Interior
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2018 Lincoln Navigator High Resolution Interior
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The Navigator seats seven people in a 2+2+3 configuration. Lesser models come with a second-row bench seat, pushing the seating capacity to eight.

And as for comfort, the front occupants get Lincoln’s new Perfect Position Seats with 30-way adjustment, along with heating, cooling, and massaging. The seats look as if they belong in a Delta Airlines cockpit thanks to their interesting cushion design.

The Competition’s Interior

2015 Cadillac Escalade High Resolution Interior
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2015 Cadillac Escalade High Resolution Interior
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The Cadillac Escalade’s interior was class-leading until the 2018 Navigator showed up. Not that the previous Navigator was hard to trump, but still, the Caddy featured plenty of upgraded content over the other GM full-size SUVs. The 2017 Escalade carries on unchanged, with a fully digital gauge cluster, a highly intuitive infotainment system, yards of leather and honest stitch work, and tons of functionality with plenty of storage space and handy features. Negatives include the CUE interface with the slide controls most folks have trouble using.

The Escalade can easy accommodate seven passengers in a 2+2+3 configuration. The second and third rows power-fold into a flat load floor for storage, of course, giving the Escalade plenty of utility to match its luxury.

Interior Dimensions

Cadillac Escalade Lincoln Navigator
Headroom first/second/third row (Inches) 42.8/38.7/38.1 TBA
Legroom first/second/third row (Inches) 45.3/39.0/24.8 TBA
Shoulder room first/second/third row (Inches) 64.9/64.4/62.6 TBA
Hip room first/second/third row (Inches) 60.9/60.2/49.3 TBA
Cargo volume behind 1st/2nd/3rd row (cu ft) 94.2/51.6/15.2 TBA

Drivetrain

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Powering the 2018 Lincoln Navigator is Ford’s new 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. This second-generation EcoBoost isn’t the garden variety, though – this is the high-output version used in the Ford F-150 Raptor. Yes, this engine produces 450 horsepower thanks to its twin turbochargers and upgraded equipment. Lincoln has not announced official torque specs as of this writing, but we suspect the Navigator will enjoy all 510 pound-feet just like the Raptor.

Powering the 2018 Lincoln Navigator is Ford’s new 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6.

Lincoln has announced the EcoBoost will come standard with the new 10-speed automatic transmission Ford co-developed with General Motors. This new gearbox should help improve the Navigator’s fuel economy despite the added power and performance over the last generation.

Towing and payload number haven’t been announced yet, either, but Lincoln says it expects the 2018 Navigator to out-pull every premium full-size SUV on the market. That includes the Cadillac Escalade, which is rated to tow 8,300 pounds. The Navigator will come standard with rear-wheel drive, while AWD is optional.

The Competition’s Drivetrain

2015 Cadillac Escalade High Resolution Drivetrain
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Perhaps the coolest feature the Escalade possesses is its Corvette-borrowed, 6.2-liter V-8. This engine makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque and comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. That power lets the heavy SUV hit 60 mph in only 5.8 seconds. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but a full-time 4WD system is optional.

The Cadillac uses GM’s advanced Magnetic Ride Suspension to quell bumps. The system uses magnetically charged fluid inside the shock absorbers to vary the damping, giving the Escalade a smooth ride on rough pavement and a firm ride when hustling. It’s the same technology used throughout GM’s performance vehicle lineup, along with the high-end pickups. The Escalade is capable of pulling 8,300 pounds worth of trailer, making it plenty stout for pulling a boat to the docks or enclosed trailer carrying an antique car.

Cadillac Escalade Lincoln Navigator
Engine 6.2-liter V-8 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6
Horsepower 420 HP @ 5,600 RPM 450 HP
Torque 460 LB-FT @ 4,100 RPM 510 LB-FT
Transmission eight-speed automatic 10-speed automatic
Fuel economy city/highway 15/20 TBA
Curb weight (lbs) 2WD: 5520
4WD: 5784
TBA

Pricing

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No doubt the Navigator will increase in price over the current model – the only question is by how much. The 2017 Navigator with the regular wheelbase and in Select trim starts at $63,515. The Reserve trim jumps to $71,580. It wouldn’t be a stretch to see the 2018 Navigator start around $70,000, while the more luxurious trim starts around $80,000. This better places the Navigator against the Cadillac Escalade. Lincoln will likely keep the Select and Reserve trim levels.

The Competition’s Pricing

The 2017 Cadillac Escalade carries a starting price of $73,395. Four trim levels are available and include the standard Escalade trim, the Luxury trim, the Premium Luxury trim, and the Platinum trim. The Luxury trim starts at $79,590, the Premium Luxury trim starts at $84,090, and the Platinum starts at $93,390. Check every box on the Platinum, and you’re looking at $100,000.

Of course, if you need more room, there’s the Cadillac Escalade ESV. It starts at $77,590. Opting for the ESV Luxury trim starts at $82,590, while the ESV Premium Luxury starts at $87,090. The range-topping ESV Platinum carries a $96,390 price tag.

Other Competition

GMC Yukon Denali

2015 GMC Yukon Denali
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2015 GMC Yukon Denali
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Closely related to the Cadillac Escalade is the GMC Yukon Denali. Think of the Denali trim as the middle ground between the standard Yukon and the Escalade. It features more technology and high-end finishes the standard Yukon, but doesn’t have the same clout as the Escalade. Still, the list of similarities is long.

The Yukon Denali is even powered by the same 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 backed by the eight-speed automatic. Likewise, rear-wheel drive is standard, while the full-time 4WD is optional. The standard-length Yukon Denali carries a starting price of $65,965.

Read our full review on the GMC Yukon Denali here.

Conclusion

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Lincoln has done quite well at remaking the Navigator. It was well past time for that though, so no extra credit for missing the latest trends in years past. Still, what Lincoln’s new design language and widespread adoption of technology sure goes a long way into making us forget that previous Navigator. Lincoln is in a far better place to compete with Cadillac, which has unequivocally dominated the full-size luxury category for quite a while thanks to the advancements keeping the Escalade fresh. Caddy had better watch out, but it’s doubtful an updated version of the ‘Slade will launch until GM updates the full lineup of its body-on-frame SUVs. Expect that to happen in 2020 – a year after the Silverado and Sierra pickups move into their next generation. Until then, Lincoln just might be the champ of the American luxury SUV segment.

What do you think of the 2018 Lincoln Navigator? Let us know in the comments below.

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    • * Inevitable increase in price
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Press Release

Lincoln today introduces the 2018 Navigator, an all-new full-size SUV that combines modern luxury with advanced technology – elevating family travel to first class.

Wireless charging and standard Wi-Fi keep everyone connected. Advanced technology allows the driver to effortlessly adjust the vehicle to make driving easier or more enjoyable – in any weather or terrain. With more space for your belongings than any other large SUV*, the all-new Navigator assures almost nothing is left behind.

“Quiet luxury is both a look and a feeling,” says Kumar Galhotra, president, The Lincoln Motor Company. “The all-new Navigator embodies both. The sleek styling, spacious interior and technology are all designed to make each trip effortless.”

2018 Lincoln Navigator High Resolution Exterior
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Modern elegance

Navigator’s elegance is on display before the doors even open. Upon approach, the

chrome Lincoln star logo on the grille softly illuminates**. Then, LED lighting in the lower front body and taillamps subtly engages, and a luminous Lincoln welcome mat

appears beneath the front doors.

At night, interior ambient lights sequentially illuminate each of the SUV’s three rows. During the day, a panoramic roof fills the cabin with natural light.

A twin-turbo V6 engine projected to produce 450 horsepower provides smooth power whenever you need it, delivered through a 10-speed transmission. Navigator’s lighter,

high-strength aluminum-alloy body removes nearly 200 pounds, helping create a more refined ride.

Additional weight savings have been reinvested in features such as towing capability and quietness. For example, laminated front and side glass contributes to the quietest Navigator cabin ever.

2018 Lincoln Navigator High Resolution Exterior
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The all-new Navigator offers speed-dependent adaptive lighting, a new Lincoln technology that provides a wider spread of light at lower speeds for increased visibility – helpful when driving through residential areas. As the vehicle accelerates, the beam of light narrows to help eliminate the glare off signs or other distractions.

Beneath the sleek interior are inclination and intrusion sensors, which trigger an alarm if someone attempts to move or enter the vehicle.

Spacious, luxurious interior

Inside, spaciousness comes in all three rows, including storage in each to keep the cabin clean and organized. The all-new Navigator’s advanced cargo management system offers an adjustable shelf behind the rear seats that allows clients to create storage customized to their needs. Even with the vehicle parked on an incline, the feature ensures groceries won’t roll out when the liftgate is opened.

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The interior layout is clean and uncluttered, with a simple, soothing ambience.

“When designing the Navigator, we put an emphasis on ultra-luxury touch points,” says David Woodhouse, Lincoln design director. “We took everything the client would see and touch, and made sure it would look and feel a little more exuberant, a little more indulgent and incredibly beautiful.”

Staying connected is easy in the all-new Navigator with six USB ports, four 12-volt power outlets and a 110-volt plug. An available wireless phone charger in the first-row center console media bin eliminates tangled cords.

The client experience is further elevated through Lincoln’s new Personal Profile. It uses the key fob to recall individual driver preferences for adapting seat, mirror and pedal positions, as well as climate control and entertainment settings.

For owners desiring a more personalized look, Navigator comes with three Lincoln Black Label options – an exclusive collection of interior design themes and materials, plus a host of membership privileges.

First-class seating for all Even when the all-new Navigator is fully packed, each occupant can sit in comfort. The driver and front-seat passenger enjoy Perfect Position Seats, which offer massage, heating and cooling functionality, and can be adjusted up to 30 different ways.

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Standard SYNC® 3 with both Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ compatibility enables clients to manage audio, phone, navigation and more from the vehicle touch screen or steering wheel-mounted controls. Second-row passengers have their own audio and climate control, while third-row seats feature power recline capability.

An available rear-seat entertainment system allows passengers to stream content wirelessly with an Android device to one of the 10-inch adjustable screens mounted on the rear of the front seats. Content also can be accessed through more traditional devices like an SD card, an HDMI cord or a USB, as well as through SYNC AppLink™, which permits the front-seat passenger to monitor and select viewing content.

Each screen can display different content, allowing a personalized entertainment experience for every passenger. Through Lincoln’s agreement with Sling Media, those who own a Slingbox can access their TV channels on the go. The standard Wi-Fi allows for up to 10 mobile devices at a time to be connected.

Clients can enjoy available Revel® Ultima audio with 20 speakers that work in concert with Navigator’s interior design and acoustics. This transforms the cabin into a personal theater with three distinct listening modes – stereo, audience and on-stage.

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Family-friendly technology

Navigator is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. A 12-inch configurable instrument cluster allows drivers to choose the information they want displayed. An available Head- Up Display can show selected information on the windshield instead of the instrument cluster. This helps drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

It’s also easy to adjust to changing conditions. With the turn of a dial, the driver can adapt the Navigator to changing road or weather, and enjoy a smooth, confident ride.

Additional available technology includes:

Trailer Backup Assist, which automatically steers the vehicle to turn a trailer the desired amount – meaning less time required to perform the task. Navigator is expected to deliver more towing capability than any other premium full-size SUV
360-degree camera and enhanced park assist, which reduce stress from parallel and perpendicular parking. The system integrates views from four cameras to create an overhead image so the driver can see all around the vehicle
Adaptive cruise control, which automatically slows Navigator in stop-and-go traffic– resuming speed when traffic allows

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