It looks like the crossover craze is dead because full-size SUV’s are back with a vengeance. GM has loaded their Suburban, Yukon, and Escalade with the same 460 horsepower engine found in the Camaro and Corvette, but Ford chose a different path.
Using the same frame as the F150 pickup, the latest Expedition and Lincoln Navigator also adopt the truck’s aluminum body technology. Aluminum SUVs are nothing new, the Range Rover has been almost all aluminum since the beginning. Ford chose it to build their new trucks and SUV lineup to save weight and offer better fuel economy. Another benefit for those like us who live on the ocean, you won’t have to worry about rust.
We spent a week with the new model, and it is unlike anything you have driven before. They incorporated the Active Motion front bucket seats from the latest Continental. The Perfect Position system conforms the seat back to your spine, which is a first for this segment. The tooling for aluminum is more precise than steel, so the body panel gaps are much tighter than other American offerings. Sound and heat insulation are top-notch, and the prominent center touch screen is intuitive and quick to respond.
The transfer case and adaptive suspension respond instantly to the drive mode selector. It has six distinct settings depending on your situation. The 10-speed automatic was co-developed with GM, and it is also shared with the Raptor and the Camaro SS. But that brings us to the elephant in the room. Under the hood is a 450 hp version of the Raptor’s twin-turbo V6. It makes 510 lb-ft of torque also, but only when the turbos are spinning.
This is fine in a pickup truck, but in a 3-ton family hauler, you will find it caught in a feedback loop of boost and coast, and repeat. The turbos are either on or off, and when they are working, the Navigator burns fuel like its going out of style. Not offering the 5.0L V8 from the Mustang and F150 was a mistake.
Yes, it is closely related to the V6 that powers the Ford GT, but after a long day at work, the exhaust notes and turbo lag are downright infuriating. For taking the kids to school or running errands it is a comfortable and elegant SUV, but if want a V8 you will need to look elsewhere. The 6.2 from the 1st gen Raptor would have been a great choice, but sadly it has been relegated to the F250. The other issue is the center console for the 2nd row. It is an island of plastic above the folded seats. If you plan to haul bulky items, it is a legitimate obstruction. Pricing starts just over $72,500, and it is a fair amount for the quality of the design and the materials used.