Luxury SUV sales are up over 6 percent so far in 2017; riding the high created by rapid consumer shifts to trucks and SUVs. Some of this demand has been stimulated by oil prices that have sustained at lower levels, allowing Americans to once again embrace the land yachts they so deeply desire.
Such land yachts include some iconic nameplates like Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. For the first time in nearly 15 years, Lincoln is rolling out an all-new Navigator right now. The timing is nearly perfect for it to seize on luxury SUV sales growth and by all accounts, Lincoln’s execution seems near perfection.
Although we haven’t had the chance to drive the 2018 Navigator just yet, its spec sheet is tough to debate. Despite being bigger than an Escalade or Mercedes-Benz GLS, it’s more powerful and gets respectable fuel economy to boot.
Much like the Escalade, the Navigator comes stacked with standard features for its $73,250 cost of entry. There’s almost an uncanny parity between Navigator and Escalade when it comes to standard features, in fact. Both offer a 12-inch screen as a gauge cluster, 4G LTE WiFi and power-folding third row seats at base price. Escalade offers a few more luxury items, such as heated/cooled front seats to justify its $2,040 price premium.
We’ve thrown the Mercedes-Benz GLS into this spec sheet battle for the sake of discussion. It rightfully offers the lowest base price when equipped with the base 3.0-liter V-6 engine. Opting for the BiTurbo 4.7-liter V-8 sends the Benz into orbit from a price perspective; likely out of reach for those cross-shopping an Escalade or Navigator.
In typical Mercedes fashion, it offers the least in terms of standard features. The boys in Stuttgart are offering copious amounts of options though, which sends the GLS 450 into the six-figure pricing league of the Escalade and Navigator.
While the feature parity between all three is fairly ubiquitous when fully-decked, it’s hard to justify the value proposition of the GLS 450. Of course, buyers will likely factor in some value associated with owning a land yacht that features the prestigious three-pointed star.
For those who can see beyond the star, the Navigator is clearly the full-size luxury SUV king – for now. Both the Escalade and GLS are due for redesigns in the next year or two, which may shift the paradigm yet again.
|2018 Lincoln Navigator||2018 Cadillac Escalade||2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450|
|Base Price (w/ destination)||$73,250||$75,290||$70,545|
|Engine||Twin-Turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6||6.2-liter V-8||Bi-Turbo 3.0-liter V-6|
|Torque||510 lb-ft||460 lb-ft||369 lb-ft|
|Transmission||10-speed automatic||10-speed automatic||9-speed automatic|
|Fuel Type||Regular (Premium for full power output)||Premium||Premium|
|4X4 Fuel Economy (city/highway)||16/21 mpg||14/21 mpg||17/22 mpg|
|4X4 Towing Capacity||8,400 lbs||8,100 lbs||7,500 lbs|
|Cargo Space (behind 3rd row)||19.3 cu ft||15.2 cu ft||16 cu ft|
|Significant Standard Features||Reverse sensing system, blind spot monitoring, 12″ configurable LCD gauge cluster, hands-free liftgate, tri-zone climate control, 4G LTE WiFi, navigation system, power folding 3rd row seats||Wireless device charging, 360 degree camera, 4G LTE WiFi, hands-free liftgate, heated steering wheel, 12″ configurable LCD gauge cluster, park assist, heated/cooled front seats, heated 2nd row seats, tri-zone climate control||Heated front seats, tri-zone climate control, sunroof|
|Optional Features||Adaptive suspension, Panoramic Vista Roof, 360-degree camera, ventilated front seats, power folding 2nd row seats, 24-way power front seats, 14-speaker Revel audio system, heated steering wheel, 22″ wheels, auto high-beams, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, rear seat entertainment||Auto high-beams, 22″ wheels, power running boards, sunroof, automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, heads-up display, lane keep assist, rear-seat entertainment||Illuminated running boards, LED headlights, auto high-beams, Panorama roof, heated steering wheel, massaging front seats, navigation system, ventilated front seats, heated 2nd row seats, heated/cooled cupholders, power 2nd row seat, rear window shades, premium audio system, park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping system, 360-degree camera, speed limit assist, active curve system, off-road package|
|Fully Loaded MSRP||$100,135 (Black Label)||$103,670 (Platinum)||$103,640|