Thursday, July 23, 2015

Navigator upgrade for 2015 is a crowd-pleaser

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California ­The sizable 2015 Lincoln Navigator 4X4 might just as well be called a rolling hotel room, but that wouldn’t quite say it all.

It’s a rolling LUXURY hotel room.  A five-star special.  Take my word on this.

You can get jaded reviewing pricey motor vehicles over the long haul, but I am not one to ignore the plush glories of this vigorously reworked-for-2015 sport-utility vehicle.

Where to begin?  Well, it’s impressive in size, so big that I felt compelled to step carefully around it, lest it become offended.

Yes, the style is somewhat boxy, but for practical transportation and big-time cargo-carrying purposes, the advantages of practical styling cannot be denied.

Inside, wow, what a blast.

A cavernous interior could easily carry the Golden State Warriors starting five and their gear.  And in comfort too.

My ride had the “Reserve Equipment Group” option package, a $6,850 luxo-fest that included a leather-wrapped instrument panel, armrests and gear shifter; premium Ziricote wood trim; and premium leather on all three rows of seats (22-inch polished aluminum wheels also are part of the deal).

Lincoln kindly points out that Ziricote is a natural-grain wood commonly used as accent material on yachts.  Who knew?  Not me, I’ve yet to own my first yacht.

On top of that, the Navigator experience includes heated/cooled front seats, second-row heated seats, powered third-row seating that can fold flat, power adjustable pedals with memory settings, power/folding/heated exterior mirrors, a power liftgate, power side running boards that automatically deploy to welcome driver and passengers, a voice-activated navigation system and a rear auxiliary climate-control system.

Oh, the usual automatic safety/warning systems also are present.

So, how does it drive?

The tester was surprisingly peppy and smooth for such a big brute.  Power comes from a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine rated at a max 380 horsepower.  That’s more than enough to do the job, although the job gets done with wallet-sapping fuel mileage ratings of 15 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

Still, I was impressed with the Lincoln’s get-up-and-go attitude on hill climbs and freeway entrance ramps.  Also noteworthy: Very little noise reaches the interior cabin, and the vehicle absolutely eats up road imperfections to the point where you begin to think that all the roadways were repaved overnight.

Here’s your warning: The tester’s bottom line came in at $73,395, which should give you a clue as to what income bracket we’re talking about here.

To be honest, I don’t usually get excited about a big, high-end, gas-drinking SUV these days.  But I’m making an exception with the newly upgraded Navigator.  The reworked sport-ute does everything well in the full-size luxury segment.

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