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Lincoln’s 2015 Navigator drops some bling and its thirsty V8, but can still tow a yacht

Today Lincoln revealed its 2015 Navigator to the world, and it’s aimed squarely at the all-new Cadillac Escalade. It’s been seven years since we’ve seen a new full-size SUV from Lincoln, and many of us have all but forgotten that the Navigator – once a symbol of success and pioneer of the big, luxury ‘ute segment – even existed as a new car anymore.

The folks at Lincoln are looking to right that ship, though, and the 2015 Navigator has been dosed with a bit of the nouveau to play catch up with other big, modern SUVs like the Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz GL, Infiniti QX80, and 2015 Cadillac Escalade

The new Navi remains true to its mission; it’s a truck-based SUV that should be able to tow a boat just as gracefully as it hauls the entire family. From the outside, its proportions remain large, rectangular and masculine, but much of the bling and brightwork as been downplayed for a look that’s a little more understated, rather than garish.

The headlights have been updated with the LEDs we see on so many vehicles today, the meshed grille has been replaced with Lincoln’s current mustache and/or baleen whale chrome bits, and the wrap-around LED taillights look like they’ve been stolen right off the 2014 Dodge Durango. The standard Navigator clocks in at 207.4-inches long, while the extended version is a massive 222.3 inches in length. Both cars sit on 20-inch wheels, unless you opt for the Reserve Package, which includes a set of double-deuces.

While we haven’t been big fans of the Navigators interior materials for a while, it’s never disappointed us when it comes to comfort. The 2015 model aims to improve upon what it was missing with better fits, finishes and trimmings. All three rows of seats are wrapped in leather, as are the steering wheel, shift knob, and upper part of the dash. There’s also Ziricote wood trim, something commonly used in yachts, on the console and steering wheel, which Lincoln prides as an industry-first use of the wood.

We’ve seen similar options in the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé, which covers many of its panels and rear decking in teak. If you’re mentioning the Navigator and a Rolls in the same paragraph, we think Lincoln must be doing something right. The infotainment system gets the newest version of MyLincolnTouch with SYNC, as well as reverse camera and a blind-spot monitoring system.

Under the hood, Lincoln has jettisoned the old V8 in exchange for Ford’s twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. It’s projected that this engine will produce at least 370 horsepower and 430-lb-ft of torque, which should be enough to tow most small boats and trailers. That engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and either rear- or four-wheel drive. The Navigator’s suspension can be adjusted to Normal, Sport and Comfort modes through Lincoln Drive Control, which features a “Continuously Controlled Dampening (CCD)” system, that adjusts ride quality based on the smoothness of the road under the tires.

Pricing hasn’t been announced for the 2015 Lincoln Navigator yet, but we expect to hear more about the SUV (and see it in person) at next month’s Chicago Auto Show.