New for 2015

The Lincoln Navigator received a major update and gets updated exterior styling, a new interior, and more customer focused technology. A twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 replaces the 5.4-liter V-8, but power and torque are up significantly over the old V-8, and towing capacity remains the same.

Vehicle Overview

The Lincoln Navigator is a body-on-frame full-size SUV that offers seating for up to eight passengers, premium luxury features, and competes mainly with the Cadillac Escalade. The Navigator sits above the MKT as the largest and most capacious people-hauler in the Lincoln lineup. The pickup truck roots mean the Navigator retains its towing capacity, while an independent rear suspension means the third row and cargo capacity are more generous than the competition from General Motors.

Summary

The 2015 Lincoln Navigator drops the 5.4-liter V-8 in favor of a 370-hp twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that produces 430 lb-ft of torque, which gets paired with a six-speed automatic that can be paired with an all-wheel-drive system or the standard rear-wheel drive. Power is up 60 hp and 65 lb-ft over the replaced V-8, towing capacity stays at 9,000 pounds, and fuel economy goes up two mpg to 16/22 mpg (city/highway) in RWD models. The 4WD standard wheelbase models and RWD long wheelbase models are rated for 15/20 mpg, while 4WD long wheelbase models net 15/19 mpg. More power, more fuel efficient, and no loss of capability? There’s little to complain about with the powertrain changes. The Lincoln Navigator maintains its luxury SUV status by offering premium features such as power-deployable running boards, a power liftgate, heated/cooled front seats, a power folding third-row, wood inlays, dual 7-inch LCD rear entertainment screens, passive-entry with push-button start, and a THX II certified premium audio system.

A blind spot warning system with a cross traffic alert combined with six airbags and a robust design help the 2015 Lincoln Navigator to earn a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, the highest possible rating. The Navigator has not yet been tested by the IIHS.

What We Think

The 2015 Lincoln Navigator brings significant changes, but is it enough to entice buyers from the entirely new Cadillac Escalade? The Lincoln, which is sometimes as much as $10,000-$15,000 less than the Cadillac when similarly equipped, beats its rival in towing capacity (9,000 pounds versus 8,300 pounds), passenger space (the Lincoln claims almost 13 more inches of legroom in the third row), and more cargo capacity when the seats are folded (the advantage is due to packaging afforded by the independent rear suspension on the Lincoln over the live-axle on the Cadillac). Where the Navigator doesn’t shine with fuel economy, as we’ve found with Ford’s and Lincoln’s new turbocharged EcoBoost engines you can have Eco and Boost, but not usually at the same time. the Escalade, with a more powerful 6.2-liter V-8, manages 15/22 mpg in standard or extended wheelbase models, just one-mpg below the Navigator and even in the extended wheelbase models. In a Driven Review of a 2015 Lincoln Navigator we were elated to note that “the new version of MyLincoln Touch is vastly improved, as it junks the annoying slider touch bars in favor of, yes, actual knobs. Big, easy-to-use knobs control volume and tuning, and there are also physical buttons for seek, fan speed, temperature, and seat heating/cooling.” The continuously controlled suspension damping helps to smooth out the ride, but we noted, “Regular life with the 22-inch wheels is another question, after we found their rebounding barely suppressed on harsh impacts.” The standard 20-inch wheels look good enough, we think, to justify the improvement to handling and ride quality it what ought to be a supremely comfortable vehicle. Is the 2015 Lincoln Navigator better than the Cadillac Escalade? There are trade-offs and the Lincoln is definitely cheaper, but it will likely come down to preferred styling and just how important the status is that comes with the Escalade nameplate.

You’ll Like

  • More power than before, but no EPA fuel economy penalty
  • Saving $10,000 or more by not buying a Cadillac Escalade
  • Buttons for MyLincoln Touch

You Won’t Like

  • Ride with available 22-inch wheels
  • Fuel economy is only good relative to body-on-frame SUVs
  • No Wi-Fi hotspot option like the Escalade

Key Competitors

  • Cadillac Escalade
  • GMC Yukon Denali
  • Lexus LX 570
  • Infiniti QX80

Rating

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