Lincoln is bringing a host of luxurious features to the next-generation Navigator, which will make its official debut Wednesday at the kickoff to the 2017 New York International Auto Show.
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The Navigator is getting its first top-to-bottom redesign in a decade, giving Lincoln a stronger competitor in a business dominated by General Motors’ (GM) stable of full-size SUVs. Lincoln has experienced rapid sales growth, yet the Navigator has lagged behind. Lincoln’s most recognizable nameplate was outsold by the Cadillac Escalade two-to-one in 2016.
The 2018 Navigator is aimed at buyers looking for plush luxury vehicles. Lincoln will drop a 3.5-liter, twin turbocharged V6 under the hood, generating a projected 450 horsepower. But executives and designers emphasized creature comforts fitting Lincoln’s “quiet luxury” strategy, such as massaging seats and wireless video streaming to built-in TV screens.
Lincoln also switched the Navigator to an aluminum body, cutting nearly 200 pounds from the vehicle’s weight.
Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra touted the Navigator’s best-in-class leg room and tech-friendly cabin, with USB ports accompanying all three rows. The Navigator is equipped with a 12-inch instrument cluster, Ford’s SYNC 3 system with Apple (AAPL) CarPlay and Android Auto, and an optional wireless phone charger located in the center console. A brighter heads-up display is designed to be viewable while wearing sunglasses.
Elsewhere, the Navigator’s leather seats include built-in massage, heating and cooling functions for front passengers, while seats in the third row are power-reclining. The panoramic roof is the largest in any SUV, Galhotra noted.
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Other high-end features available in the Navigator include rear-seat entertainment, a 20-speaker sound system and trailer backup assist, which Ford has offered in its F-Series trucks. Lincoln will also offer a Black Label Yacht Club trim, plus two other Black Label options on the Navigator.
“When designing the Navigator, we put an emphasis on ultra-luxury touch points,” said David Woodhouse, Lincoln’s design director.
Molly Cosgrove, brand manager for the Navigator, said Lincoln believes the 2018 Navigator will appeal to families with combined household income of $200,000 per year.
The Navigator will continue to be built in Kentucky. Sales are expected to begin in the fall of 2017.
Automakers are showcasing a number of new luxury SUVs and crossovers at the New York auto show, capitalizing on robust demand. As such, Lincoln sees the Navigator accelerating the brand’s sales growth once it hits showrooms. Lincoln’s U.S. sales were up 8.7% in the first quarter of 2017. In China, Lincoln has more than doubled its volume through March.
In addition to the Navigator, Lincoln is investing in new perks aimed at winning over luxury buyers.
Lincoln said its at-home test drive service will expand beyond the Dallas area. Another service, dubbed Lincoln Chauffeur, allows Lincoln owners to book a personal driver for their own vehicles. Lincoln Chauffeur recently launched as a pilot program in Miami, and it will arrive in San Diego in the next few weeks.
With the revival of the Continental, Lincoln started a pick-up and delivery program that comes standard with new models.
This summer, Lincoln will begin a partnership with The Surf Lodge in the Hamptons, the exclusive New York hotspot.