NEW YORK -- Ford Motor Co.’s redesigned 2018 Lincoln Navigator will be lighter, faster, more spacious and more luxurious to help the brand recapture lost ground in the profitable full-size luxury SUV market.
The re-engineered Navigator sheds 200 pounds with a new aluminum body and features a new 3.5-liter V-6 engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that gets 70 more horsepower and about 40 more pound-feet of torque than the outgoing model.
The front end and interior have been completely redesigned.
The Navigator -- which hasn’t received a major redesign in a decade and was freshened for 2014 -- was one of the industry’s first big luxury SUVs, and helped Lincoln capture the U.S. luxury sales crown in 1998. It prompted rivals, including GM’s Cadillac, to introduce their own large, upscale SUVs.
But U.S. sales have fallen from 43,859 in 1998 to 10,421 last year, trailing competitors such as the Cadillac Escalade and Infiniti QX80. Lincoln is banking on the 2018 redesign to change that.
“Our view is that within the large premium utility segment, there are several sub-segments and people with different aesthetic ideas,” Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra told Automotive News. “There are customers out there looking for elegance in design and a great marriage of form and functionality. We certainly expect to increase our share of the segment substantially with this vehicle.”
Ford believes crossover and SUV demand will continue to grow and outpace the overall U.S. light-vehicle market, which has expanded for seven straight years but is down in the first quarter. Ford executives said earlier this week that utilities -- crossovers and SUVs -- could represent 45 percent of the industry's light-vehicle volume in the next five to seven years.
“We recognize there’s a lot of opportunity for us here,” said Molly Cosgrove, brand manager for the Navigator. “We have a really compelling product now.”