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Lincoln Navigator Performance

Test drivers say the 2015 Lincoln Navigator has a powerful engine and a comfortable ride, but they think its handling is poor compared with its rivals’.

  • "‘Big and imprecise’ is about all I can say about the Navigator that will translate into conditions the majority of its owners will use it in - cities, suburbs and highways." -- Autoblog
  • "Granted, no one in their right mind expects an SUV of this size to drive like a sport sedan, but the Navigator simply feels more ponderous in turns than competitors like the Infiniti QX80 and the Magnetic Ride Control-equipped Escalade." -- Left Lane News
  • "If your need for good fuel economy, maneuverability or casting a smaller shadow trump your needs for towing and hauling, a smaller SUV like the Audi Q7 or Infiniti QX60 makes a better choice." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Lincoln Navigator has a new twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 380 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. According to the EPA, the 2015 Navigator gets up to 16/22 mpg city/highway with rear-wheel drive, which is fairly high for the class. The four-wheel drive Navigator gets 15/20 mpg, which is also fairly good for a luxury large SUV. The 2015 Navigator can tow up to 9,000 pounds, which is more than what most rivals can tow.

Reviewers agree that the Navigator’s new twin-turbo V6 engine delivers strong acceleration and great passing power, even in the larger Navigator L model. However, a few remark that the engine is too noisy.

  • "Even when saddled with three tons worth of Navigator L, we never found the EcoBoost V6 feeling overburdened. Whether accelerating from a stop light or overtaking on the freeway, calls to the engine room were met with a smooth, linear surge of grunt that rarely left us wanting more." -- Left Lane News
  • "Sure, on paper the Caddy's got more power (420 hp compared to 380 hp) and the same amount of torque. From behind the wheel, however, the Lincoln's more gutsy." -- Motor Trend
  • "Coupled to a 6-speed automatic, the Navigator proves surprisingly quick, with excellent throttle response and plenty of torque delivered to the wheels around the 2,500-2,750 rpm range." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Dip into the throttle, and you're going to get way more engine noise than is acceptable in this sort of luxury application." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Lincoln Navigator comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive is optional. Models with the Reserve equipment group come with Lincoln Drive Control, an adaptive suspension system with Normal, Comfort and Sport settings. Test drivers say the Navigator has clumsy handling, even when equipped with Lincoln Drive Control, though some note that the new steering system provides nice feedback. They write that the differences between the Drive Control ride settings are noticeable, with Comfort providing a softer ride and Sport providing a firmer (though still comfortable) ride and more composed handling.

  • "Even with fully independent suspension acted upon by continuously controlled dampers - they offer three different suspension settings and can monitor the road 46 times in just two milliseconds - the Navigator delivers imprecise handling." -- Autoblog
  • "In Comfort mode we found the system to be quite effective, delivering an ultra smooth ride but with a bit too much float for our taste. Those seeking a firmer ride with better cornering will likely find the Sport setting the best choice." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Sport setting makes the truck feel more athletic. It's soft enough to dampen out even the largest potholes and yet helps the Navigator corner more flatly. The Comfort setting is perhaps best suited to straight rough roads because when the road bends, the setting allows the suspension to gently roll - like Lincolns did decades ago." -- Edmunds
  • "Electrically assisted power steering, new for 2015, supplied good feedback." -- Automobile Magazine
Review Last Updated: 3/31/15

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