Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Ford's All-New 2018 Lincoln Navigator is a Challenge to Cadillac

By John Rosevear – Apr 15, 2017 at 2:32AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Ford ups its big-luxury-SUV game with the first all-new Navigator in a decade.

Ford Motor Company (F -0.52%) took the wraps off of its all-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator at the New York International Auto Show this past week. It's the first all-new version of Lincoln's big SUV in a decade, and it signals Ford's intention to make a serious effort in a highly profitable niche of the market.

Galhotra stands in front of a light-blue Lincoln Navigator SUV.

Lincoln's brand chief, Kumar Galhotra, presented the all-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator at an event in New York this past week. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

What's new about the 2018 Navigator?

Everything about the 2018 Navigator is new. It's lighter, faster, roomier, and more luxurious than its predecessor, with a full complement of up-to-date technology. Stylistically, it's a close match to the concept version that Ford showed a year ago, minus the flashy (and wildly impractical) gull-wing doors.

The latest iteration of Ford's big luxury SUV is built on the bones of Ford's much-touted F-Series pickups, and the new Navigator includes some of the features pioneered with Ford's latest pickups, most notably aluminum-alloy body panels that shave off about 200 pounds of weight.

The 2018 Navigator viewed from the front quarter

The all-new Navigator's details -- the wheels, the grille -- are not subtle. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

Inside, the Navigator has three rows of seating, with plenty of plush touches and a design view that follows the nautical-inspired themes seen in other recent Lincolns. Ford touts "first-class seating for all" in the new Navigator, and this six-foot-tall Fool's brief time inside one suggests that adults can indeed ride comfortably in all seats.

"When designing the Navigator, we put an emphasis on ultra-luxury touch points," said Lincoln's design chief, David Woodhouse. "We took everything the client would see and touch, and made sure it would look and feel a little more exuberant, a little more indulgent and incredibly beautiful."

The Navigator's front seats and dash

The 2018 Navigator's interior is plush, with clean nautical-themed design details. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

As with other recent Lincolns, technology is a selling point in the new Navigator. Ford's latest SYNC 3 touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, and 360-degree cameras, adaptive cruise control, and Ford's very useful Trailer Backup Assist are all available as options.

There's only one option under the hood, but it's a potent one: a 450-horsepower version of Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Why it's important: Big luxury SUVs mean big profits

Years ago, the Lincoln Navigator was a serious contender in the very (very) profitable big-luxury-SUV segment, giving General Motors' (GM -0.91%) archrival Cadillac Escalade serious competition. But that competition turned into a one-truck show, as GM invested in the Escalade while Ford neglected its big Lincoln. Last year, the Escalade (combining regular and long-wheelbase versions) outsold the Navigator in the U.S. by almost 4 to 1: 39,092 to 10,421.

A rear three-quarter view of the Navigator

The 2018 Navigator's profile has evolved considerably from the current model's. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

Those aren't huge numbers, but again: These are very, very profitable products. With SUVs hot, and luxury SUVs especially hot -- and the Escalade nearing the end of its current model cycle -- this completely new version of Ford's big luxury truck has a chance to gain significant market share.

What will it cost?

Pricing hasn't yet been announced. But expect it to start at a price a bit higher than the $63,515 starting price of the outgoing 2017 Navigator.

When will it go on sale?

The all-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator will begin to arrive at U.S. Lincoln dealers this fall, Ford said.

John Rosevear owns shares of AAPL, Ford, and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AAPL and Ford. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.