Drive Away 2Day

2015 Lincoln Navigator : Current Models

The Lincoln Navigator is not going away.

Ford has updated the 2015 Lincoln Navigator as part of efforts to breathe new life into its Lincoln luxury brand and executives say longer-term plans are to introduce a next-generation Navigator that will be all new.

The 2015 Navigator has a new look, smaller fuel-efficient engine and nicer features. Keeping the same dimensions pleases loyal customers, said Navigator engineer Elaine Bannon. Using current underpinnings allows Ford to keep costs in check for an 8-passenger vehicle that sells in low volumes but generates nice profits.

Ford sold 8,613 Navigators in 2013, up 3%. That was on top of 38,350 Ford Expeditions. Together, the large SUVs represent less than 1% of market share.

But the Navigator, introduced in 1997, created the large luxury truck segment and has held a loyal following every since. Three-quarters of Navigator owners buy another one, said Andrew Frick, group marketing manager for Lincoln.

“It’s a profitable vehicle,” said Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst with IHS Automotive in Southfield, noting Ford did not go overboard on expensive technologies that might not pay off. “They updated the right things.”

For 2015 there are 20 upgrades including a new front and rear. The Navigator now has the split-wing grille that is now the signature for the Lincoln lineup, as well as a new hood, headlamps and taillamps with greater use of LED lights as well as a power liftgate and optional power moonroof.

It comes in standard or long wheelbase. The upgraded interior has the new and thicker Lincoln steering wheel that is also in the MKC and nicer materials. The Sync system has a larger touchscreen but also brings back knobs for some of the volume controls.

There are big changes under the hood. Gone is the 5.4-liter V8 engine that generated 310 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. It is replaced with the smaller 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost but the twin-turbocharged, direct-injection engine produces 370 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Ford is not releasing fuel efficiency figures but the outgoing model gets about 13 m.p.g. in the city and 20 on the highway while the V6should be in the 16/22 m.p.g. range. Fuel economy is not a main reason for buying a Navigator, Bannon said. Top reasons are looks, power and capability. The 3-row vehicle can tow 9,000 pounds.

Bannon says the availability of Lincoln’s Continuously Controlled Damping adjusts the suspension for a smoother ride, as well as the electric power-assisted steering makes a huge difference in how the vehicle drives. The wheels are now 20-inch with optional 22-inch wheels with the new Reserve package.

Customers won’t be in the dark when they approach their new Navigator. With a press of the key fob, a pool of light with the Lincoln logo appears as a welcome mat on the ground below each front door.

The Navigator is attracting some of Lincoln’s youngest and wealthiest buyers, said Frick, ages 50-55 compared with the overall brand that trends to the late 50s. And while the overall segment is only about 50,000 SUVs a year, it has remained stable in recent years and is projected to increase to about 55,000 in the next few years.

“It’s a segment where buyers are specific about the size they want,” Brinley said. “They could go smaller and choose not to.”

The new SUV will be on display Feb. 6 at the Chicago Auto Show.

Frick said he knows the Navigator must go up against an all-new Cadillac Escalade but he thinks Lincoln’s flagship truck will hold its own.

Production will begin in late summer at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Ky., and the SUV will go on sale this fall. Pricing has not been announced.

Ford has said it will introduce four all-new Lincolns by 2016. It started with the MKZ midsize sedan in 2013 followed by a new entry, the MKC compact crossover coming this summer. Still to come is the MKX midsize crossover and then the MKS full-size sedan and flagship, which will share underpinnings with the MKZ. The lineup also includes the MKT, which is a luxury version of the Ford Flex.

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Sources : 2015 Lincoln Navigator Photo | 2015 Lincoln Navigator Article | 2015 Lincoln Navigator Interior Photo 1 | 2015 Lincoln Navigator Interior Photo 2 | 2015 Lincoln Navigator Interior Photo 3


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