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Lincoln Breathes New Life into Aging Navigator

Full-size luxury ute gets first significant update in half a decade.

by on Jan.23, 2014

The update to the 2015 Lincoln Navigator marks the biggest makeover since 2009 to the full-size ute.

This story has been updated to note the price increase of the Lincoln Navigator’s most direct competitor, the Cadillac Escalade

It helped launch an entirely new market segment and introduced the concept of “bling” to the auto industry, but in recent years, the once-prized Lincoln Navigator has become little more than an after-thought in the luxury car market.

Now, as it sets out to rebuild its struggling Lincoln brand, parent Ford Motor Co. aims to breathe new life into the big Navigator with the most significant update to the full-size luxury sport-utility vehicle in five years.  But a sneak peek at the 2015 Navigator raises questions about whether the planned changes go far enough at a time when the big Lincoln’s most direct competitor, the Cadillac Escalade, is getting a far more extensive makeover.

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The Navigator originally debuted 17 years ago and “helped define the full-size luxury segment,” proclaimed Andrew Frick, Lincoln’s marketing manager, during a media background session on the 2015 SUV – which will be formally unveiled at the Chicago Motor Show next month. The update, he added, “will bolster” a product that had lost a significant amount of ground in recent years as it grew old and faced more competition from players as diverse as Caddy’s Escalade, the Infiniti QX80, the Mercedes-Benz GL and Lexus LX570.


Lincoln Turnaround Riding on Success of New MKZ

"Date Night," anniversaries and a 24/7 concierge.

by on Apr.03, 2012

The production version of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ makes an appearance ahead of the NY Auto Show.

Once one of the dominant players in the luxury market, Lincoln is today little more than an automotive afterthought for most upscale buyers.  But the Ford marque hopes to begin what will admittedly be a lengthy turnaround with the introduction of the new MKZ sedan.

Unveiled in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show, last January, Lincoln will give potential buyers a first look at the production MKZ when the New York Auto Show opens later this week.  It will also be querying potential buyers about the sort of services they’d like that might help set Lincoln apart from other up-market brands like Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac.

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The new MKZ “defines the future of Lincoln,” said the brand’s chief designer Max Woolf, during a sneak preview for automotive media prior to the official opening of the 2012 NY Auto Show.


Is Lincoln Ready for a Remake?

Luxury marque considering compact crossovers, performance models and more.

by on May.03, 2011

Lincoln will likely update the Concept C show car for the L.A. Auto Show, later this year, possibly with a battery drivetrain.

With only two brands to focus on, senior Ford Motor Co. managers are getting itchy to rebuild the long somnambulant Lincoln marque – and are reportedly working on a wide array of new offerings that could eventually turn Lincoln into a truly global brand.

Sources say that Lincoln desperately needs the product infusion if it hopes to survive.  With the elimination of the long-struggling Mercury division the luxury brand needs to be than just a me-too clone of Ford products gussied up with leather seats and fancier electronics.

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A good indication of Lincoln’s global aspirations could be seen in the Concept C, the show car first unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show, last January.  Based off the C-segment architecture used for the 2012 Ford Focus re-make, the Concept C takes aim at one of the fastest-growing segments in the global luxury market.

With a production model under consideration for mid-decade, Automotive News reports an update of the Concept C will make an appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show, next November.


First Drive: 2011 Lincoln MKX

New Lincoln crossover moves further upmarket, adds power and major electronics upgrades.

by on Sep.14, 2010

The 2011 Lincoln MKX undergoes significant changes for the new model-year.

Now that Lincoln has been permanently severed from the Ford-clone Mercury brand, the division will have to claw its way upward a step at a time into the realm of real luxury cars, and for 2011, there are a couple of significant steps, notably including the new MKX crossover.

The 2011 Lincoln MKX, first shown to more than a year ago at a private event during the annual Pebble Beach Concours, has major upgrades that should significantly enhance its appeal.

The restyled MKX has the same doors and roof as the 2010 model, but everything else is new, inside and out.  The grille, hood, fenders, lamps, tailgate, and rear lamps, and a completely new interior, instrument panel, steering wheel and dashboard.

The big crossover now has the same large, toothy, split-wing grille as Lincoln’s sedans and the 7-seat MKT in lieu of the original horizontal mesh grille.  At the rear, the full-width taillamp of the 2010 has been replaced by twin lamps, so, in total, it looks very different from the original MKX.

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All 2011 MKXs will be powered by an upgraded 3.7-liter V-6 engine rated at 305 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque, driving the front tires through a 6-speed automatic transmission.  A computer-controlled all-wheel-drive system will be optional. Ford says the MKX will have best-in-class fuel economy of 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.


No Price Premium For 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Move could drive up demand for gas-electric powertrain.

by on Jul.22, 2010

Lincoln plans to offer the hybrid version of its 2011 MKZ for the same price as a standard powertrain.

Lincoln will launch its new 2011 MKZ Hybrid at the same price as the conventionally-powered version of the luxury sedan, the first time an automaker has decided to forego the normal price premium for a gasoline-electric drivetrain.

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The move, which Ford Motor Co. officials suggest will be repeated on other Lincoln hybrids to come, is part of a plan to re-establish Lincoln as a serious competitor in the luxury market, something that has become all the more critical in light of Ford’s recent decision to abandon the mid-range Mercury brand, with which Lincoln had long been paired.

“We think they (customers) will be even more excited to learn they sacrifice nothing to be able to go green in style,” said John Felice, general manager of Ford and Lincoln Marketing.