I didn’t know what to expect from the 2015 Lincoln Navigator. Truth is, I’ve joked about the Navigator a lot. I considered it a sad relic, built on an old truck platform and sucking gas like it’s going out of style.
While the overall shape has gently evolved, it remains a huge boxy SUV. Lincoln has made small but noticeable changes along the way and have refreshed this big SUV. The Navigator is endowed with the new Lincoln grille and the HID headlights are cradled in a curved strip of LED lights. The slab-sided beast looks confident but remains understated, unlike the Escalade, which still shows up in the dictionary next to “blingy”. But even Lincoln understands the value of some bling, and they fill the wheel wells with it. In this case, 22-inch polished aluminum rims that are shod with massive 285/45-sized tires. I always hated the Navigator’s skinny little chromed exhaust tip – it finally has one that looks like it means business.
While the Navigator doesn’t grab your eyeballs, it does make a statement. And there’s nothing wrong with a bit of understated statement.
A cool touch – when you step up to the vehicle, you’ll find a welcome mat waiting for you. Your Navigator welcomes you by illuminating your path with a pool of white LED light, containing the Lincoln logo.
The high step up into the cabin is made easy thanks to the full-length power-deployable running boards that silently glide down when you open a door, and retract back into the belly of the beast when you close the door. Very slick.
Once in, you’ll find a very spacious interior with ample headroom. Everything feels beautifully made and is sumptuous – even to the touch. Any plastics you’ll find are soft and textured, but there isn’t much plastic. That’s because the dual-bin dash is upholstered in hand-wrapped and -stitched leather. So are the console and the door trim. Add the gorgeous real wood-grain inlays and what appears to be outstanding fit and finish, and you’ve got an interior that truly shines.
The Navigator’s leather seats – heated, cooled and ridiculously adjustable – are exceedingly comfortable. Lincoln says they are clad in Trevino leather, which is absolutely gorgeous. I appreciate the nod to Lee Trevino, since I’ve always thought he looks like he’s made of handsome leather, too.
The steering wheel is a work of art crafted from leather and wood – it’s power-adjustable, as are the pedals. The eight-inch MyLincolnTouch screen that handles media, phone, navigation and climate settings is pretty responsive these days. Thankfully Lincoln has done away with the touch-control-only experiment – those silly slide-your-finger-along-a-capacitive-strip-and-pray-it-will-work days won’t be missed. Unfortunately the volume and tuning knobs feel a tad cheap to the touch, and when rotated, have a grindy, grainy feeling to them, instead of a buttery smooth click that I’d expect from something that represents the pinnacle of a manufacturer’s ‘luxury’ model line. The 14-speaker THX sound system comes through, sounding incredible.