Navigator provides luxury, comfort and safety on the road

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There may be a consumer trend toward smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles, but for those who are on the road a lot, nothing can beat the luxury, comfort and safety afforded by a big full-sized SUV like the Lincoln Navigator. If you’re coming down I-79 bracketed by 16-wheelers, the Navigator will also give you a sense of added safety. Who doesn’t like a little more metal around you when you’re up against trucks barreling down the highway?

Production of the new 2015 Lincoln Navigator at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville will start soon, with the SUV’s appearance in Pittsburgh area showrooms expected early this fall. With the bad-weather driving season not too far off after that, Ford’s timing couldn’t be better.

Ford just set the price on the 2015 Navigator, with a starting suggested manufacturer’s retail price of $62,475, including destination and delivery charges. So clearly, the Navigator is not in everyone’s price range. But it does offer some very nice appointments for 2015.

“The 2015 Lincoln Navigator has nearly two dozen upgrades over the outgoing model, rewarding current Navigator owners and offering strong reasons for new customers to consider the vehicle that defined the large luxury SUV segment,” said Matt VanDyke, director, Global Lincoln.

According to the vice president of Benson Lincoln, Walt Bronder, one of the new model’s most anticipated features is its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine which is replacing an outgoing 5.4-liter V8. The new twin-turbocharged, direct-injection engine will deliver 380 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque.

This outstanding power also delivers projected best-in-class towing of 9,000 pounds with properly equipped Navigators.

“The heavy duty trailer tow package not only looks great,” said Mr. Bronder. “But is very functional when towing a large boat or camper.”

The new EcoBoost engine is mated to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission – also new for the 2015 model year.

If you’re worried that a full body-on-frame construction might deliver a little more bouncy ride than a unibody, Lincoln engineers have added something called Lincoln Drive Control, a system that offers continuously controlled damping suspension to help provide a smoother ride.

Continuously controlled damping is standard on all 4x4 models and all Navigators equipped with the available 22-inch wheels. Navigator comes standard with 20-inch, machined aluminum wheels. Lincoln Navigator 4x4 models also add hill start assist and hill descent control as standard equipment.

The new Navigator also features electric power-assisted steering that helps deliver responsive handling.

From the curb, you’ll notice immediately that the 2015 Navigator has a sleeker front end that includes a newly designed hood. The re-imagined back end features a power up/down tailgate. On both ends, the vehicle wears jewel-like light-emitting diode (LED) lights, as well as high-intensity discharge (HID) adaptive headlamps with LED accents.

“We knew what our customers wanted,” said Elaine Bannon, chief engineer of the 2015 Navigator. “Navigator has always had great features, and we were able to keep those things. I’m proud that we were able to give our customers so much more.”

As with current-generation models, the 2015 Navigator will be available in standard-length and extended-length versions.

Inside, the new Lincoln Navigator should only build on its reputation for luxury. New for 2015 is a Reserve Package that introduces an updated cabin that extends leather to all three rows of seats as well as the armrests, center console and shifter. Throughout the cabin, natural grain wood accents provide the kind of ambiance you would expect from an upscale SUV. The Wollsdorf leather-wrapped, wood-trimmed steering wheel also features a thicker grip and softer touch for a more dynamic driving experience.

Designed to seat up to eight people, Navigator offers buyers second-row options that include two captain’s chairs, with or without a center console, or a fold-flat bench. Due in part to Navigator’s patented independent rear suspension, which allows for true fold-flat, PowerFold third-row seats, extended-length and standard wheelbase models deliver impressive cargo volume.

Extended-length models provide 128.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row, 86.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, and 42.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Standard wheelbase models deliver 103.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row, 54.4 cubic feet behind the second row, and 18.1 cubic feet behind the third row.

“We have this iconic vehicle with untapped potential,” Bannon added. “Now it’s got more of what our customers want. It’s got the new Lincoln design DNA on the exterior, a redesigned instrument panel, a leather Reserve Package, 22-inch wheels. Once we were able to include all of those elements, I knew we had a winner.”

Mr. Bronder expects most of the buyers of the 2015 Navigator to be loyal Navigator owners who “have been waiting too long for a new Navigator” as well as Cadillac Escalade owners and leasees.

“We've had many Cadillac inquiries since the announcement of the new Navigator,” Mr. Bronder said.

If you’re interested in purchasing this new vehicle, visit a Pittsburgh-area Lincoln dealer soon. It could be in high demand.

“We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the redesigned 2015 Lincoln Navigator in late September,” said Mr. Bronder. “It will be an exciting time and it’s priced right.”

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