Cadillac

Navi vs. ‘Slade: (Navigator vs. Escalade) Battle of the Ballers

With GM rolling out new versions of all of its full-sized trucks this year, it’s only rational that Cadillac would have a new iteration of the hugely popular Escalade. The 2015 Cadillac Escalade made its debut in Los Angeles. GM has given the icon more power, greater luxury and more efficiency. All the while, keeping current customers blanketed in the luxury accouterments to which they are accustomed.

The new car is imposing, as always. A huge grille flanked by two large but slim headlights, which lead into a squarer, more modern side profile and rear view. You will definitely recognize an Escalade when you see one. How much Escalade you see is determined by whether you are looking at the standard length or extended-wheelbase model. Both are available for the 2015 version.  In standard length, four inches of legroom and an inch of headroom give the Cadillac Escalade enough space for Platinum-selling artists and Million-dollar moguls.

In place of the traditional gauge cluster, the Escalade features a 12.3-inch screen with a customizable display. The driver can choose to have it show navigation details, trip data, or audio info in whatever way is most pleasing to him or her. It can even be set up to show gauges. Real wood trim, improved build, more room, greater refinement, baby-soft leather, and the Cadillac CUE entertainment system are all featured.

A new 6.2-liter V-8 (shared with the Chevy Silverado High Country and GMC Sierra Denali) produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque; 5-percent and 10-percent gains (respectively) over the vehicle it replaces.

Lincoln’s Navigator was born in 2007, freshly facelifted and hitting showrooms in the fall as a 2015 sign of success, we will get our first glimpse at Chicago’s Auto Show. Personally, I think the Navigator’s styling is similar in delivery to the Infiniti QX80. Either you like it or you hate it. I will reserve judgment for the show. The body is much the same with Lincoln’s new design language in the grille, flanked by LED elements. Bigger 20-inch wheels are now standard instead of the 18-inch wheels on last year’s model, and even larger 22-inch wheels are also available on the SUV. The 2015 Navigator will be available in standard-length (207.4 inches) and extended-length (222.3 inches) versions. Just like the current model, both come with third-row seating.

A new dash highlights a completely revamped cabin, with premium touches such as hand-wrapped leather surfaces, real wood trim and brushed metal accents all on offer. The car can be opened and started without taking the key fob out of one’s pocket, and upon opening the doors they are greeted with illuminated floor mats. SYNC with MyLincoln Touch is the interface and includes a 4.2-inch LCD display in the instrument cluster, an 8.0-inch touch screen in the center stack and traditional knob controls for easy operation of popular functions. A rearview camera is standard, and Lincoln is offering a blind spot detection system as an option.

Ford’s new 3.5-liter EcoBost is doing sole engine duty in the Navigator for 2015. Turbocharging and direct-injection technologies help the engine deliver 370 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque, which is a healthy boost over the 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet delivered by the 5.4-liter V-8 in last year’s model.

A six-speed automatic remains standard, but now features Lincoln’s SelectShift pseudo manual control. The vehicle is also still available in both four-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive configurations. An available Control Trac Four-Wheel-Drive system enhances traction on slippery surfaces, and works together with an electronic power steering system to aid handling.

Now that Lincoln has brought out a new iteration of its candidate for ultimate street cred, GM and Ford are back in the ring for another bout. We suspect that buyers will try out both. The two are luxurious, powerful and impressive. Leave out contenders like the aforementioned Infiniti, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Series and the chassis that provides Land Cruisers and Lexus LX570’s, and we have an epic battle — Navigator vs. Escalade: A Battle of the Ballers.

What’s your choice: Lincoln Navigator or Cadillac Escalade?

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