2015 Lincoln Navigator

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How the mighty have fallen.'15 Nav lead

Lincoln’s Navigator pretty much invented the bling-bling SUV as a cultural archetype and automotive industry phenom that changed everything almost overnight.

Including Cadillac’s position as the country’s number one (in terms of total sales) luxury vehicle line. On the strength of Navigator sales alone, Lincoln – for a few salad years, back in the ’90s – eclipsed Cadillac.

Until Cadillac built a blingier – and (in some respects, such as power/performance) superior uber-SUV. Ever since, it’s been all about the Escalade – with the Navigator (and Lincoln) hardly even mentioned in the same breath.

Something radical needed to be done – because to be blunt, Lincoln hasn’t got much to lose.

Welcome to radical.

The new Navigator not only doesn’t come with a V8, it doesn’t even offer a V8 anymore. It is the only Leviathan Class SUV that’s packing less than eight cylinders under its hood.

But it’s also the only LC SUV that’s packing a twin-turbo V6.

It’s a relatively affordable package, too – as LC Class SUVs go. About $10k less to start than its wreath-and-crested rival, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade. And about $15-20k less when bought loaded.

Will it help? We’ll see!

WHAT IT IS'15 Nav side view

The Navigator is Lincoln’s super-sized, ultra-luxury SUV. It is based on the Ford Expedition – and shares the same basic powertrain – but (being a Lincoln) it is decked to the nines with every available amenity, including power auto-deploying running boards, 20-inch wheels/tires (22s available) configurable LCD gauge package, 14-speaker THX surround sound audio rig, first and second row captain’s chairs and Ford’s Sync voice command system.

Prices start at $61,480 for the regular wheelbase/rear-drive Navigator Select trim. You can upgrade to Reserve status and get tuxedo black/bright stainless trim on the outside and Ziricote wood trim inside, along with upgraded leather and 22-inch polished wheels.

This one lists for $69,975.

A light-duty all-wheel-drive system is available with either trim. Lincoln advertises this as “4WD” and it is technically accurate but be advised that the system does not have a two-speed transfer case and Low range gearing. Base price for the 4WD Select is $66,050; the Reserve stickers for $72,900. '15 Nav composite

Also available is an extended (even longer/bigger) L version. Sticker price is $64,640 for the RWD Select trim and $75,065 for the 4WD Reserve version.

The Nav’s primary rival – the Cadillac Escalade – also offers a light-duty/on-road-intended “4WD” system. But the Cadillac’s base price is $71,695 – while a top-of-the-line Platinum trim lists for $91,875.

Priciness being the prerogative of the reigning King.

WHAT’S NEW

Like its lesser-badged brother, the Ford Expedition, the Navigator loses its formerly standard 5.4 liter V8 and gains a twin-turbo 3.5 liter V6 that makes more horsepower (and much more torque, a deficiency of the retiring V8) and delivers slightly better gas mileage.

WHAT’S GOOD'15 Nav engine close

Much stronger than before – slightly less thirsty than before, too.

V6 LIncoln pulls more than V8 Cadillac (9,200 lbs. vs. 8,300).

A steal of a deal compared with the Escalade.

Easier to use manual knobs and switches (vs. Caddy’s microwave oven-style CUE swipe/tap interface).

A bit less “in your face.”

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD

Some less-than-Lincoln parts (e.g., LCD Instrument cluster looks identical to the one found in the Ford Fusion).

A bit less “in your face” than the unapologetic Escalade.    

UNDER THE HOOD

A V6 in a super-sized SUV?'15 Nav engine 1

The first time you hear it, it’s like hearing you’ll be getting a Diet Coke with your Angus Triple Thickburger and fries. But, it’s not deprivation therapy – or a diminution in any respect.

Well, at least not compared with the V8 it replaces.

Which was a 5.4 liter V8 that made 310 hp, got the ’14 Navigator to 60 in a Corolla-esque 8.2 seconds and gave you 14 city, 20 highway (13 city, 18 highway with the optional 4WD). The new 3.5 liter V-6 makes 380 hp – a 70 hp gain – which cuts the truck’s max-effort zero to 60 run down to 6.6-6.7 seconds and gives you slightly better gas mileage, too: 16 city, 22 highway (15/20 with the optional 4WD/AWD).

Cue Charlie Sheen – winning!

The boosted (two turbos) V6 puts the Navigator back into contention. It’s not quite as quick as the Escalade – which still comes standard with a V8 (a very potent, 6.2 liter 420 hp V8) but notwithstanding the 40 hp disparity in favor of the Cadillac, the Lincoln’s acceleration is close enough now that a passenger could almost lean out the window and touch the Escalade as the two passed the finish line at the end of a 0-60 drag race.'15 Nav towing

And, check it out: The Lincoln pulls more.

It has a 9,000 lb. max trailer rating vs a fairly weak 8,300 lb. max rating for the Cadillac. The latter can’t be due to a horsepower (or torque) deficit. Both the Lincoln and the Ford offer the same – and very impressive – 460 ft.-lbs. (though the Lincoln’s comes online at just 2,750 RPM vs. 4,100 for the Cadillac).

Which focuses attention on the Escalade’s transmission. It’s a new-design eight-speed automatic. GM may be a little skeered about its long-haul prospects when subjected to heavy hauling duties. Or, it could be the Caddy’s frame. Maybe it’s not as heavy-duty as the Ford … er, Lincoln’s?

Regardless, the fact is the Nav can pull a heavier trailer, despite having less engine under its hood.

Well, technically.'15 Nav details shot

The twin turbo’d V6’s effective displacement is probably in the 6 liter ballpark – in terms of airflow – when the turbos are force-feeding it. This on-demand power thing is the chief reason for going with a turbo. Or two of them. It is why so many new vehicles – of all types – now come with turbocharged (and smaller displacement) engines. Not so much for the performance boost – but to maintain a certain level of performance on-demand along with acceptable gas mileage the rest of the time..

Ford – and so, Lincoln – is heavily invested in turbocharged engines. Even the F150 pick-up now offers a small -and twice-turbocharged – V6 that delivers V8 power/performance with the possibility of EPA numbers closer to those of a V6 than a V8.

A word more about gas mileage. The difference between the new twin-turbo V6 and the old V8 is not much – about 2 MPG overall. Why go to all the trouble? Because while the individual buyer of a $60k-up SUV probably is not going to sweat 2 MPG, it matters a lot in terms of fleet averages. For Ford to be able to continue selling a lunker like this it must reduce its exposure to “gas guzzler” fines, which are levied according to fleet averages. It is likely Cadillac will eventually succumb to the pressure, too.'15 Nav off road 1

V8s are on the endangered species list – even at this level.

Next item: The available “4WD” system does power all four wheels but functionally speaking it is closer kin to the all-wheel-drive (AWD) systems available in many cars and crossover SUVs.

AWD, of course, also sends power to all four wheels. So – what’s the difference between it and 4WD?

Well, for one, most 4WD systems normally route most of the engine’s output to the rear wheels – diverting some (in varying ratios) to the front wheels when the rear wheels break traction. With AWD, it’s (usually) the reverse. Also, most AWD systems do not have a two-speed transfer case and Low range gearing, while the typical truck-type 4WD system does have it.

Low range gearing makes it more feasible to claw through deep mud or heavy snow, on and off-road (assuming proper tires and adequate ground clearance).

The downside – functionally-speaking – is that this type of system is usually a disadvantage on dry, paved roads as it does not enhance handling grip during cornering (engaging 4WD on dry, paved roads may even risk damaging the system, if the axles bind) and it also adds – typically – several hundred pounds of deadweight (that would be the two-speed transfer case) that you’ll be lugging around everywhere you go – sucking lots of extra gas along the way.   '15 Nav in snow

AWD, in contrast, is lighter – no two-speed transfer case – so mileage is better and the vehicle feels less ponderous. It also handles better, because AWD is meant for on-road use – dry or wet pavement. There’s no worry about axles binding up (as with a truck-type 4WD system with a two-speed transfer case). And – assuming decent ground clearance (which the Navigator’s got – 8.1-8.4 inches of it) and decent tires for weather (which the Navigator doesn’t have – but you can remedy that) an AWD-equipped machine can tackle snow on paved roads with impressive tenacity.

The reality check is most SUV buyers (especially most buyers of blingie SUVs like the Navigator and the Escalade) are not rock-crawler types. They just want to not get stuck when it snows, and for them, AWD is the ticket. '15 Nav wheels    

But, “4WD” sounds tougher – which explains the labeling. Even though – historically speaking – when a system was labeled “4WD,” it had a two-speed transfer case and 4WD Low range gearing.

Neither the Navigator nor the Escalade have that.

If you need that, you’ll want to check out something like the Land Rover Range Rover (which is smaller but definitely has rock-crawler capability) or the Infiniti QX80 (formerly Q56) which is also huge (though not quite as huge as a Navigator L or Escalade ESV) and does offer a heavy-duty (and real-deal) 4WD system with a two-speed transfer case.

ON THE ROAD

Very few people who write a check for $60k and upwards appreciate being outrun by $18k economy cars. But the old Navigator was vulnerable on that account – and it was a huge liability. The Escalade may be on OPEC’s Christmas card list, but at least the thing moves out. Getting 15 MPG – and taking 8 (or more) seconds to get to 60, as the previous V8 Nav did… sucked.

Consider that problem fixed.'15 Nav road 1

The turbo’d twice V6 behaves like a big V8 in every way but one – the sound. There is virtually none. Not even turbo whistle. Push the accelerator and the Nav accelerates; the more you press, the faster it goes. Almost silently. Lincoln has done some impressive sound containment here. It’s almost electric motor-like. Which is probably what people want who shop a vehicle like this.

Well, maybe – and maybe not.

There is a conflict – or at least, divergent philosophies. These bling-mobiles are about dominance rituals and part of that is an engine that feels – and sounds – dominating. The Escalade’s Corvette-sourced 420 hp V8 bellows like a Scottish berserker when called on. It feels and sounds like a V8.

A big V8.

On the other hand – and this may be the smart move for Lincoln – the Navigator’s as quiet, as calm-feeling, as a Pullman Sleeper car.'15 Navigator interior 2

And that is luxurious.

Not just the engine, either. The whole thing – all 6,000-plus pounds – has a demeanor that’s strikingly different from that of the incandescently obstreperous Cadillac. That one’s still the go-to ride for rap moguls, NBA forwards – and people who want to emulate The Lifestyle.

The Nav is a counterpoint to that. It has the relaxed aura of the big guy who knows he’s big –  and isn’t worried about having to prove it to anyone. You know those commercials about “the most interesting man in the world” The Navigator is that guy’s ride.

It is, however, a big beast. Seventeen feet long. A nearly 40 foot turning circle. The distance between the front and rear axle centerlines is about ten feet. A Toyota Corolla would almost fit in between.'15 Nav L 2

And that’s the standard wheelbase model. The L is a true ship of the line. 222.3 inches, stem to stern. All that’s missing are the fore and aft turrets and the 18 inch guns.

Maybe next year.

Such hugeness comes with unavoidable liabilities, though. It is not a vehicle for the less-than-adept at parallel parking – and weaving it through tight traffic takes an expert’s sense of spatial relationships and timing. Same goes for the Escalade. Same goes for every vehicle in this class – any vehicle that’s this size. You will want to take an extended test drive that includes your driveway – and your garage – before you commit.

AT THE CURB'15 Nav curb 1

The ’15 Nav gets a new front clip with a split grille theme – bringing it in line with the “new” Lincoln look. This is the most obvious difference (other than what’s under the hood and what happens when you push on the gas pedal) last year vs. this year.

Interior real estate is as generous as it gets – short of an actual bus or RV. Including 43 inches of legroom in the first row and 39.1 inches in the second row.

However, the standard equipment second row captain’s chairs do not have forward and aft adjustment, which means if the front seat people slide their seats back, the second row people can’t compensate – make up the lost legroom – by sliding theirs back, too.'15 Navigator interior 1

The also-standard auto-deploying running boards are helpful if you’re short but they actually make getting in and out a bit more awkward if you’re taller. The upside is you can program them to not deploy.

Lincoln still uses a keypad entry system – vs. the “sensing” system more common today (and used by Cadillac) that automatically unlocks the door as you approach or when you touch the door handle. The Lincoln’s system is a bit clunkier, but the upside is if you lose your keys – and remember your punch code – you’ll still be able to unlock/access your Navigator.'15 Nav keypad

The lift gate is power actuated but – as is the case generally with such – opens reeeaaaallly slowly. For “safety.” Closing also happens slowly – and the button is located somewhat awkwardly on the left side interior panel, which forces the taller (like me) to crouch, push the button – and then retreat as the thing begins its slow-motion close. Taller/stronger/younger people would probably prefer a manual grab  handle.

The main gauge cluster is LCD – and configurable. You can use steering wheel-mounted arrow buttons to change the display to show a tachometer, transmission oil temperature, current mileage/range and (when off-road) degrees of incline and decline. The sharp-eyed will notice the cluster’s similarity to the ones used in other Ford vehicles, including the Fusion. The Caddy’s LCD gauge cluster is larger and bolder-looking and also unique to that model.'15 Nav dash detail

Or at least, unique to Cadillacs.

The upside to this is that – probably – the Lincoln’s shared-in-common instrument cluster will cost you less to replace if it ever goes dark, post warranty. And it is absolutely certain you will have at least $10k more in your pocket (or not added to your six year loan) if you buy the Nav rather than the Escalade – which starts at $71,695 vs. $61,480 for the Nav.     

THE REST'15 Nav. vs. ES 2

Lincoln is working hard to re-establish itself in a low-key kind of way. Unlike Cadillac – which (to the accompaniment of Led Zeppelin soundtracks) cut loose from its old self like a snake shedding its skin – Lincoln is quietly making a comeback. There is a new Continental on deck and here’s this new Navigator, which is actually very appealing… once you notice it’s out there.

Lincoln hasn’t  made much of it – and the car press hasn’t, either. The Escalade gets all the attention.

Which may be just what Lincoln wants.

Because there may be people out there who want everything the Escalade has except the attention it gets. And the rep it has.

Let’s face it. The Caddy is as polarizing as Rush Limbaugh – or Ed Shultz. You’re on one side – or the other. Love it – or despise it. The problem for those who love it is there are lots of people who despise it. This makes for uneasy leave-it-on-the-street parking and recurrent hassles on the road when outraged proles see you coming and close gaps to prevent you from passing or merging.

2015 Lincoln Navigator
2015 Lincoln Navigator

The Navigator does not carry this baggage, which makes for a more relaxed on-road (and parking on street) experience, in spite of its largeness (which as it turns out is larger than the Escalade; the regular wheelbase Nav is several inches longer overall than the regular wheelbase Escalade).

This more relaxed vibe carries through to the cabin, which has some retro Continental themes (dual breadbox dashpad) and physical knobs and buttons for many functions – vs. the Caddy’s almost 100 percent LCD touchscreen interface. The former looks “high tech” but provides much less (zero, actually) in the way of  tactile feedback. It’s hard to know without looking what your finger is about to tap or swipe and even if you point and touch accurately, the system sometimes gives you too much – or too little – of such things as fan speed and radio volume.

In the Nav, you can adjust such things without looking – and by feel.

All the while gliding by, under the proverbial radar.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If something a bit lower profile is what you’re after, Lincoln may have just what you need.

And for less, too.

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32 COMMENTS

  1. I’m of a mixed mindset on the Navigator. I don’t find the exterior repulsive, but it’s just sort of dull. However, the interior is actually nicer than that in the Escalade. I had the opportunity to check out both at the Houston car show some months back, and, as usual, the Escalade interior just felt like a Tahoe interior just ever-so-slightly nicer. Yes, it had more bells and whistles, but the quality of the leather, the wood trim, etc. was not really very impressive. There was more plastic than at the Playboy Mansion.

    The Navigator, however, felt a step above that. Still it wasn’t perfect, but it was nice and luxurious. I also found the seats to be more comfortable, especially the rear third row, which was actually usable in a pinch for a 6’3″ guy like myself (once I got back there). Given that it has an independent rear suspension, I would suspect that the Navigator would ride a lot better than the solid rear axle Escalade and, by the same token, may handle a little better.

    That said, though, if I were going to do any towing, the Escalade is probably the better choice. Yes the tow rating is down, but from what I’ve seen and read online, the big V8 doesn’t struggle at all with heavy loads whereas the Navigator’s turbo-6 works very hard to keep up, especially on long inclines. This may also be helped by the 8-speed tranny in the Escalade giving it more gear ratios. Similarly, the solid rear axle of the Escalade is a much better choice for towing the old horse trailer around any day of the week. And lastly, the gas mileage seems to be hurt less when towing in the Escalade than the Navigator.

    Which brings me to my last issue with the Navigator. Though the EPA rates it as getting better gas mileage, I have heard from far too many folks driving the new Ford EcoBoost turbo V6s that don’t get anywhere near the EPA ratings and usually worse than the old V8s. It doesn’t seem to matter whether they drive aggressively or like their grandmothers, it seems almost impossible to get them out of the teens on the highway, even fully unloaded. However, I know quite a few people with the new GM 6.2L V8s that are getting high-20 mpgs on the highway, far more than they are EPA rated for. I know of at least one guy towing a 2,000 lb trailer from Arkansas to Kentucky who got 24mpg in a 6.2L Chevy (both ways), better than the EPA rating was for the truck unloaded.

    So the issue is you get a much more complex, and failure-prone, turbo V-6 in the Ford in order to try and approach the mandated mpg figures yet, in the real world, it gets no better and often worse mpg.

    I’m predicting this will become a common theme in the next few years as the CAFE standards get more and more aggressive. We’re already starting to see the beginnings of problems. Just look up the BMW N63 engine recall euphemistically called a “Customer Care Package.”

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/buying-maintenance/a25710/enginerdy-strange-connections-bmw-n63-v8/

    • SojournerMoon, nothing new here. GM has had vehicles of all sorts that have commonly bested the EPA figures while Ford consistently doesn’t make the cut.
      I don’t doubt the interior on the Nav may be better than the Escalade in some ways but probably not in every way, but still, in some ways is good enough to get interested. And IRS is almost always better in handling but “almost” is the key here and not all IRS’s are better than their live axle counterparts.

      I don’t know where they derive their towing capability. I’ve watched it for years and it never made sense. I don’t want to try that maximum though with an IRS while I doubt it would be a big strain on a live axle and I’m one of those guys who’s always tried to figure out a good, reliable IRS for something like a one ton pickup…..but I never have. I’d bet if I could, someone else would have done it by now.

      I don’t think the Escalade needed an 8 speed to be the better trailer jerker since low end torque up the band is probably better.

      But the big thing about the whole comparison is Ford has a high mark to best when it comes to the Escalade. They are strong and very nice and tend to work well for the most part. I’ve spoken with some ecoboost Ford pickup people and while they say there’s plenty of power, a very subjective thing, it may not be enough to compare to the GM V-8. I know a guy who bought a Ford pickup, crewcab, almost no bed thing with 4Wd and the ecoboost engine. He was happy since he had just bought it, said it did well(no figures)on fuel mileage but pulling his 30 ft. travel trailer sucked the tank dry pretty fast, had him wondering about towing mileage. Well hell, people keep wondering about that while comparing oranges and apples. Take that same RV and town it with different vehicles and you’ll have your answer. My friends are often towing these monsters and wondering why, no matter if they use a Dodge or a Ford diesel they can’t break 10 mpg with 9 generally being the closer. I’m guessing setting the cruise on 70 or 75 and poking the same hole with the same weight into the wind is going to yield a certain amount of torque and HP and fuel consumption for that speed. I don’t really hear the GM owners speaking of it much. I doubt they get any better mileage but probably don’t have mechanical troubles so they’re happy. They realize I guess about no free lunches.

      Since I drive a truck every day, I can tell you the height, width, weight and direction the wind is blowing contribute greatly to how that load is pulled. I think we all realize up and down is still up and down with anything you use.

      I’ll take the more conservative way to go since I’m in it for the long haul. If Ford ever made a truly exceptional engine, I’d be more on board for their twin turbo 6 but so far, I haven’t seen anything that would indicate they’re sitting on a winner. With the problems they’ve already had of building moisture in the intercooler and losing power, I’m not betting on the long run for these engines.

      People who simply haul their own butts around in a Nav and don’t stress it too much and do all the regular maintenance and so on might get some decent results for some years. I won’t be looking to see many or any of these alive in 10 years and none in 20 years.

      In the mean time, you have to look at one and like some other SUV’s, they’re just plain ugly to me.

    • Hi SJ,

      I liked the Nav’s interior more as well. It has a softer feel to it, if that makes any sense.

      But – like you – I’d be personally reluctant to buy into the twin-turbo V6 over a naturally aspirated V8. It will be very interesting to see how these Lincolns hold up after about 100,000 miles or so.

      • My guess is most are leased, as is the Escalade and other luxury marquees, and sent to the “certified pre-owned” used car circuit. The original owner only cares about the turbos living to 30k miles, not 100k. Lincoln isn’t concerned either, the used market doesn’t keep the assembly line running.

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  3. The biggest problem with it is the name. Lincoln…….It could be the greatest car on earth and that name would push me away. Add the ugliness factor, sticker price, twin turbo’s, etc., and I wouldn’t put $40,000 out for one.

    If you really wanted one of these, just wait till it’s two years old with 40-50,000 miles on it. They will practically give it away.

    On the twin turbo v-6, how can Ford be trusted? Their diesel engines seem to change displacement every 2 years or so. They had a twin turbo diesel 8-10 years ago that was total garbage. How do they figure longevity on a v-6 with twin turbo’s? Their best engines, as far as longevity goes have always lacked power. But somehow, some way they sell more half ton pickups than anyone.

    • ancap, we’ve sure given Ford hell but deservedly so. What I feel about Ford trucks comes from working for somebody who has them and trying to get a job done and having to work on them, overheating and all, and it made no difference what year, engine, etc,…..overheating MF’s.

      Back when they came out with the 6.0 diesel a friend(several in fact)bought one and thought it was just fine. He took a friend and his BIL fishing one day and then I did the next. The BIL was driving my old 6.5 Turbo with the transmission that’s a 3 speed with an under drive and overdrive, a 4500 to be exact. After we loaded the boat he remarked how he was beginning to wonder if that Ford was going to get the boat out of the lake with all the revving it had to so. But, he said, your truck was easy, just stuck it in granny and eased off the clutch and never touched the fuel pedal.

      The friend who owned it is a mechanic and buys Ford pickups but nothing else from them and gave up with that pickup when the head gaskets went while nearly brand new and he saw it repaired with the body removed just to do a head job. I always wondered how you’d work on one and found out. Then he went to a Dodge mega cab and then another and finally picked up a ’95 Chevy 4WD halfton pickup that was a great runner and good worker and looked good to boot and that’s still his work vehicle and the Dodge, now a silver one I think, sits in the garage by the fifth wheel RV. Dodge’s don’t have near so many problems sitting in the dark.

      Back when Lincoln had the blinged out pickup version of the Navigator(saw one recently that was brand new, been stored somewhere and sold to a new owner for sure), can’t even recall the name, and a friend was selling Lincoln/Mercury’s(a Caddy guy) in Austin. He called me one day and was laughing like crazy since he knew I wouldn’t buy a Ford product at any price. He says, Come on down and buy one of these Blackwoods and we throw in a loaded Marquis for free. That was along about the end of the Lincoln and Mercury products. I’d have done it if I could have sold the Blackwood for close to what I paid(full sticker). That was about the time the Marquis was as reliable as it ever was and got fairly decent mileage although they didn’t last too long for the most part. It was the last hurray for the Marquis and it was better than it had ever been.

  4. A giant luxo SUV is the 2015 version of a1970 Chrysler T&C wagon clad in vinyl woodgrain bling and fender skirts. Or the Griswold’s Wagon Queen Family Truckster.

    • C C, I’d like to see a comparo of the two. I’m guessing the Queen not only has much more room but is more comfy and will probably outlive this hideous ugliness.

      To this day, I’d buy a Vista Cruiser if I could. A bit of floorboard work and it could be 4WD too……oh wait, no transfer case…..then it could be “4WD” as they refer to it no problem.

      I forgot to add, this buddy of mine who is a very good mechanic and had the 6.0 Ford diesel began to get requests from long time customers when those went out of warranty. He declined to work on them for a couple reasons. He didn’t really have the shop space to waste for setting the body aside and didn’t want to become a body man to make it all look and be right once repaired. I did see him change an alternator on one because it was the only thing he could barely get to and that was on a lift.

      I might work on them if I come back in a second life as a 7 foot tall ET type guy with those real skinny hands and arms……but I’m hoping for better.

      • Morning Eight!

        If the wife does not come back (and with her, the truck) I am thinking El Camino. I have always liked them. I need a bed to haul stuff, but can live without 4WD (I have a 4WD diesel tractor if I really need 4WD).

        I’m thinking late ’70s or early ’80s with a 305 or 350. Nothing fancy. Just a solid knockin’ around ride without a got-damned computer…

        • If your heart is set on an El Camino, look to the Colonnade body. I recall a local body shop grafting a Cutlass Supreme onto a clapped out El of that vintage, the transformation was spectacular. Downsizing El was a step backwards from the Colonnade, it should have shifted to the Impala line.

        • eric, too bad mine doesn’t run. I’d like to sell it anyway. It’s fairly rare as I understand being an SS with a tow package. Nothing from a regular EC fits it mechanically. 7.5″ wheels reverse under it hold some large tires. It would haul a load too. No air shocks, helper springs on big shocks kept it Ranger(upright and level floatation). And it pulled a Ranger a lot with the back and the cab stuffed.

          A thing about EC’s I always liked too was their weight distribution. They made better drag cars than their car counterpart. With that heavier suspension mine would corner well with the TA parts in front. Now of course, you can get the aftermarket bushings for it and that’s the ticket.

          If I ever get it going again which I doubt, I’ll strip the Imron off it back down to the original metallic red with the SS stripes. What I’d really like is to have the ’74 Laguna front end that looked like a Z. Best looking EC made….ever.

          The bad part about mine is I bought all new everything, springs, rear lights, chrome, etc. and it really didn’t need it but there was some rust I needed to take care of in the floorboard at the back that threw me(it wouldn’t now if I could afford to fix it, just needs a couple panels welded into it and it would be fine). We lived 1.6 miles into a ranch with a constantly muddy place across the drive. The old lady never washed it and I never drove it or had time to do much of anything with it.

          A muffler guy removed some hangars from where the floorpan and the body met and it got wet in there under the carpet for a couple years, hell, about 4 years and I didn’t know it. It’s not bad and structurally it’s ok but needs to be sealed. A friend said he could fiberglas it and make it fine. Still have the long block but sold the heads I had rebuilt and they were great heads too. I had port matched them and polished them out around the valves, very nice job, but sold them. A crate motor and and OD transmission and she’d fly again though. Right down your alley, manual windows and a Monte Carlo interior.

          40 miles from me a guy had an EC back body grafted to an Coup de Ville. I did a double take first time I saw it, had to turn around and go back and look it over.

          • I’ve long had a fantasy of an EC body on a 4WD running gear w/a plow on the front – call it the ‘Snow Chevelle.’

            • We lived near Cedar Park, Tx. in ’76. There was a great little beerjoint called the Buckboard for locals mainly. A guy who stopped in had a ’70 model EC and it was 4WD, looked like Blazer running gear. It was a muddy year and wherever he went he obviously needed it and the big tires. That wheelbase that far off the ground was no doubt a good package for those hard to reach places.

              • Speaking of ‘grafting,’ one of, if not THE funniest cars I ever saw was a 61 Plymouth with the twin shark fins on the tail, but the front wrap had been replaced w/a bulgy rounded Dodge. Looked kind of like a whale out of water.

                • Sorta looked that way anyway. I recall having a scale car of a ’60 with that tail. They recommended this funky green so that’s what I painted it. Seems like I re-painted it black. They sure had some bad colors back then.

        • eric, a friend had a ’76 Classic and always wanted the SS like we had. One evening near Possum Kingdom on a lake road they met mid-curve a Vista Cruiser with 9 people. 3 in the EC and those 9 in the VC took all evening of running ambulances to get them all. Nobody killed but everybody hurt, lots of broken everything including two dead vehicles. End of the ’76 so he got a new ’78 or ’79, the small one. He never quit wanting the larger, older model. And, his new one had a computer controlled carb that he threw away with computer. The 305 in the new one was just a laugh compared to the older 350 except nobody was laughing. Some of the campers you used to get for the old ones had a huge amount of room with a spoiler on the end. Hanging one in the garage with quick mounts on the EC was just the ticket for some people. Put it on when you needed it and leave it hanging when not.

          C C is right of course but GM was fighting the CAFE thing at the time. But keeping that old frame and a newer body would have been fine. I think our ’77 has a 1/2 T truck title which is fine and would be for another using something like the Cutlass station wagon frame. I understand why they downsized it but disagreed and so did everyone else since the numbers were never there for it but the numbers had fallen for the old style to the point they felt they had to do something different.

          You always want what you can’t have and wish you had what you gave up and that summed up the EC. Once the new ones were out, then everybody wished they’d have bought one of the old ones. GM probably thought so to since they made them in Mexico and labor was REALLY cheap then.

          • That’s what I found that day in another town. One thing some people, most I reckon, failed to recognize about EC’s were their ability with only 2 WD to go places nothing else without 4WD would go. The Caddy ain’t gonna do that. Back in the day they were used as drag cars a lot since their weight distribution was so good for it.

  5. The new Navigator is going to be a huge FAIL, based on it’s outward appearance. It does not need to be conspicuously extravagent, like the Caddy. But the body looks outdated….. by two generations. And the curvaceous “New Lincoln” style grill does not harmonize with the blocky old lines of the rest of the body.

    Understated elegance might have worked pretty well. But this baby is downright homely. Not what sumo luxo SUV buyers are looking for.

    • MikeP, it is ugly, ain’t it? Typical problem with Ford, second-rate styling. Give em edgy lines and square when everybody else is doing curvy and then when everybody else starts doing the more blocky, edgy kinda thing, go curvy, sorta, like those several years of even more ugly Ford pickups that tried to blend hard square lines on the side with curvy front and rear.

      For my entire life Ford and Chrysler with a few exceptions could have just farmed out the styling to GM and been better off.

      Recall when Chrysler decided to try to make a pickup that didn’t look like something cobbled together from old Dodge luxury car parts and wanted to look like a pickup? What did they do…finally? I see what is obviously a new pickup on the road one day and think that Chevy doesn’t look just right. Good reason too, it was a Dodge, just almost a pure knock-off of a GM. They had that style for many years and it probably served them well, hell, I know it did. When they started putting Cummins engines in them, they got a good rep as a hard working truck, engine wise, if you would keep the rear-end together and the transmission too.

      I had to go to a school in 2000 for a job and got to talking with a guy about my age about TTO. We decided to go to lunch and I was parked close so we climbed into Blackie. He was impressed, said it was sooo much nicer than his Dodge, a pickup I saw right off when he pointed it out. A GM clone thing with a Cummins. He liked it though, said it had 3.52 gears or something and he got 26mpg(probably at not nearly the speeds I drove). We’re cruising the interstate headed to a restaurant and he says Well, there’s one thing you can do in this pickup and not in mine. What’s that says I? Have this conversation he said. A bit loud ask me? Yep, big time loud but it’s sorta good when the wife and I go a long distance pulling our travel trailer, not many arguments.

      So a friend buys one, a dually with a work bed and he likes it. We use it haul cattle on a dual tandem trailer. It brought back the old days of being in a C-50 with a big trailer and 409, loud and slow. It was over a couple hundred miles so it gave us plenty time to scream back and forth. I got out at his house and drove 30 minutes home with my ears still ringing.

      Back to the Nav though, that tow feature should see them flying off the shelves. Up to now, Escalades have dominated the patch and you hardly see anyone pulling big trailers with anything else. They look good on the bad, nasty wet lease roads covered in caliche and the only place you can see out is where the windshield wipers run. Oh wait, I’m thinking of pickups. I’m trying to think of the last time I saw a Nav or Escalade either pulling anything……still thinking.

      Even though that engine, known for it’s flaws and it’s problems(they build up water in the intercooler, something the insiders say Ford was aware of before production but everything had already been made, rush rush rush, you know, and bygod they were gonna use them and tell everybody experiencing problems it wasn’t anything to worry about and the reduced power was all in their head). And they’re doing that countless times a day right now and most of the buyers aren’t “buying” it so to speak. They’re not out there timing 0-60, just trying to get that trailer down the road with the system screwing up.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’d drive one, somebody else was paying for. I just wouldn’t want to be walking away or walk away from MY pickup. This 6 cylinder thing Ford is trying is going to be another setback. They need to sell millions of Pinto’s and use them to boost their CAFE numbers.

      • I don’t mind curvy, I don’t mind boxy, but give me one or the other.
        Remember the early-mid 80s T-Bird, nice and smooth. But to differentiate the Cow-Gar [sic] they took the same basic body and gave it a vertical back window. Yuck!

  6. Does the car park itself? Drive itself?

    I wouldn’t trust a twin turbo V6 manufactured by Ford. Period. Anything manufactured by Ford. I am a big fan of “buy american” and am a trade protectionist except when it comes to this.

    I would hate the repair bills on this Lincoln. May as well have a BMW.

    • Hi Swamp,

      Yeah… it’s a concern.

      My mom had back luck with several Lincolns, including the air suspension used in her Mark VII LSC. She went Lexus…. and never looked back.

      • I bet that air suspension issue on the VII was fun-filled.

        Having owned several Fords myself, I know that the company is notorious for putting out vehicles with known issues and never admitting there is a problem. Sure, they win these initial quality surveys, but after 60,000 miles these cars fall apart. All of them.

        GM has better reliability and most foreign brands do except for high end cars like Mercedes, Jaguar, BMW and Audi.

        • swamprat, you ain’t shittin. Back in the day, no matter what brand of pickup you had, it was common to use GM airbag suspension from Caddy’s and the other big cars. You used the same compressor and bags off the donor car and mounted them between the axle and springs. Most of them were rated for 500# each so that really beefed up the system and allowed you to carry a heavier load with much better suspension. And if you wanted to, take the whole gammutka and use the self-leveling feature.

  7. Being that the point of a Bling-UV is conspicuous consumption, it doesn’t look like Lincoln goes far enough.

    It needs WAY more chrome. And it needs ridiculous features like rear-seat access to the navigation system, so your baller friends can punch in the nearest club selling Cristal champagne.

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