The 2015 Lincoln Navigator received a mild face lift for the 2015 model year, sporting likely the most handsome version of the brand’s dual wing grill design yet. It’s framed by new HID projector headlights with LED signature bars. There’s also LED driving lights down below.
The rear power lift gate gets a less intensive rework with a new tail light panel that looks pasted on at best, but improves the look over the previous model. A single tip exhaust pipe bucks the modern trend of dual exhaust tips.
As ours was fully loaded with the Reserve Package, it featured smartly designed 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, 20-inch wheels come standard. That package includes power folding side mirrors that while nice, look like they belong on an F-150 with their black plastic finish.
Outside the new face and tail lights, the greenhouse design of the doors and side glass actually dates back to 2003, looking pretty dated among its peers who have seen several redesigns since then.
It’s automatic power running boards were a feature that seemed slick at first, but in our week with the Navigator they proved difficult to live with. When extended they stick out quite a bit which is fine for entry, but for exiting they prove clumsy.
It’s easy to scrape your nice shoes or boots on them, as they have to be stepped on or around. And our shins often hit them painfully while standing close and reaching in to grab personal items. Luckily they can be turned off.
Inside, the Reserve Package brought a number of features including the top grain premium leather seating surfaces, genuine Zirocote wood trims, heated and ventilated front and heated rear seats. The dash is wrapped in soft stitched trims this year which brings a new look and sense of luxury.
A newly designed center stack has the MyLincoln Touch infotainment and driver interface, which is essentially MyFord Touch called MyLincoln Touch. It’s just as frustrating and annoying to use here as in a Ford Fusion. Luckily, they added redundant knobs and buttons below it for most commonly used controls.
Speaking of the Ford Fusion, that is exactly where it seems the new dual-screen digital instrument cluster came from. While offering a good deal of helpful and customizable information while on the go, it’s clearly grabbed from the parts bin.
In fact instead of designing its own housing they just created this sort of transition piece from the square opening in the Navigator’s dash to the more rounded trapezoidal shape of the passenger car instrument cluster.
Also from the parts bin is the somewhat cheap feeling steering wheel pushbuttons and console shifter which are virtually identical to those found in base grade F-150’s. Door switch panels also match that of Ford passenger cars from a decade ago.
We hand it to Lincoln for using genuine wood trims here. And you can tell they are real as they don’t match in color or finish from one panel to the next. Running your finger along the joints reveals sharp and roughly finished edges. Fake wood rarely does that.
Missing at $73,000 plus was a sunroof and the latest driver assistance features like radar cruise control and lane keeping. In all, the fit and finish here, the inconsistent material quality and the parts bin nature of the cabin is in no way fitting to a luxury vehicle in this price range.
At least it’s practical. Rear seat space is generous with its manually folding captain’s chairs and they do adjust. The third row seats are power folding in a 60/40 split and all of them can be folded down for a virtually flat cargo floor in pretty short order.
Under the hood is where you will find something new, a 380 horsepower twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission it delivers an impressive 460 pound feet of torque. This helps it achieve a top of class tow rating of 9,000 lbs for the two-wheel drive and 8,600 lbs for the all-wheel drive model
While it has good power, it remains as thirsty as its competitors with V8 engines. The EPA rates our all-wheel drive tester at 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway with a 17 mpg combined rating. And 17 mpg is exactly what we achieved in our week of testing.
The all-wheel drive system in the Navigator is geared toward light-duty use such as slippery roads in winter, muddy dirt roads in the rain and perhaps a slick boat ramp, thus it doesn’t offer a low range or extensive manual controls for heavy-duty off-roading.