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The 2018 Lincoln Navigator at its New York auto show premier (image: Lincoln).

New York auto show: Lincoln unveils all-new, aluminum-bodied 2018 Navigator

Ford’s Lincoln luxury-vehicle unit revealed the 2018 Navigator fullsize SUV at the 2017 New York auto show by touting its blend of smart basic engineering and smart features.

Like the recently-revealed Ford Expedition, its Lincoln counterpart is fitted with weight-saving aluminum bodywork to cut roughly 200 lb (91 kg) from the curb weight and helping offset the mass of the new Navigator’s copious luxury and advanced driver-assist features.

The new Navigator’s single-spec powertrain is stark evidence that engine downsizing and advanced transmission technology have come fully of age: the body-on-frame Navigator, positioned to be one of the largest and most-spacious 3-row SUVs on the road, isn’t deemed to require a V-8. Instead, Lincoln projects it will reap some 450 hp from a 3.5-L twin-turbocharged V6. And backing the thrusty 6-cylinder engine is Ford’s new 10R80 10-speed automatic transmission.

At the 2018 Navigator’s New York auto show launch, Ford had yet to distribute final specifications, but one company source said the new Navigator is expected to surpass the 17-mpg (13.8 L/100 km) combined fuel-economy rating of the previous-generation Navigator fitted with the twin-turbocharged V6 and all-wheel drive.

Although the new Navigator has Ford’s latest weight-saving and powertrain know-how, the brand is steadfastly focused on the SUV’s occupant-luxury and convenience attributes, as it must do marketplace battle with rival GM’s segment-defining Cadillac Escalade and fresh new European rivals that include large unibody SUVs from Land Rover’s Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz, among others.

The 2018 Navigator has a laminated windshield and side glazing and so-called Perfect Position seats for the front occupants that are 30-way adjustable and offer heating, cooling and massage. Twin 10-in (25-cm) screens on the back of the front seats allow second-row occupants to view separate video sources and the second-row occupants have their own dedicated climate-control sector. The third-row seats offer a power-recline function.

Other electronic features include a head-up display for the driver and Ford’s clever Trailer Backup Assist that greatly simplifies the act of reversing a trailer. A simple pushbutton arrangement on the center console selects transmission gear (there is no “L,” setting, however, so it appears it technically cannot be called a “PRNDL”).

And one unique new function sees the adaptive LED headlights broaden their beam at low speeds to enhance peripheral lighting then narrowing the beams as speed rises to provide better long-range projection and reduce glare from signs and other roadside distractions.

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