Cadillac’s all-important Escalade SUV is facing fresh competition from crosstown rival Lincoln Motor Company, which today introduced an all-new Lincoln Navigator SUV at the 2017 New York International Auto Show.
Perhaps the biggest change between the 2018 Lincoln Navigator and the outgoing model is the jump to an aluminum-alloy body, which contributed to a 200-pound reduction in curb weight while permitting engineers to reinvest some of the savings into other areas, such as sound-killing laminated glass. That ought to put it in approximately the same territory heft-wise as the 2017 Cadillac Escalade. A long-wheelbase “Navigator L” will continue to be offered alongside the standard model, too, competing against the Escalade ESV.
Think the Escalade’s brawny, 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V8 is enough to keep it safe? Think again; output from the Lincoln Navigator’s twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 has been bumped up to 450 horsepower, which is 30 ponies more than the Ecotec puts out. Its smaller displacement and forced induction mean that it ought to deliver better fuel economy, too – in EPA test cycles, at least, if not the real world. The new 10-speed automatic transmission, co-developed by Ford and GM, ought to help with that.
Of course, previous iterations of the Lincoln Navigator got points off for interior quality and materials selection. We’ve yet to sit in the all-new SUV, but early indicators are promising, with high-quality leather and wood veneers deployed sparingly throughout. It’s hard to find much to complain about there.
By this point, the current-generation Cadillac Escalade is just a tad over three years old – hardly elderly by anyone’s standards – but the completely-redesigned Lincoln Navigator has all the makings of a far stronger contender than its predecessor. Cadillac, for whom the Escalade is inexpressibly important, might have cause for concern.