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2020 Lincoln Navigator vs. 2020 Cadillac Escalade: Which Is Better?

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author photo by Eric Brandt January 2020

If you have an appetite for a big luxury SUV that's big on luxury and capability, then there's a good chance that the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator have shown up on your shopping list. These are two of the oldest names in full-size luxury SUVs and they're still among the most competitive and most popular in this segment.

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between the Navigator and the Escalade and see which is better.

Exterior

The Escalade and the Navigator both have a huge size and a distinct aesthetic that refuses to be ignored. They both wear the corporate looks of their respective brands very well and both do a good job looking classy with a bit of ruggedness. See the 2020 Lincoln Navigator models for sale near you

They're both available in two different wheelbases. The longer version of the Navigator is called the Navigator L and the long-wheelbase Escalade is the Escalade ESV. In the standard wheelbase, the Lincoln is a little bigger than the Cadillac, but the Escalade ESV is slightly longer than the Navigator L. See the 2020 Cadillac Escalade models for sale near you

Interior

As you might expect, both of these SUVs are pretty generous with interior space. However, the packaging of the Navigator affords it more interior room. The Lincoln has an independent rear suspension and the Cadillac has a more old-school solid rear axle. That means there are more mechanical components taking up precious space in the back of the Escalade. Unless you find the more truck-like nature of the Escalade appealing, most drivers will benefit from the extra space in the Navigator, which has more room in the third row of seats and more cargo space than its Cadillac rival.

The Navigator is also more impressive when it comes to interior design and materials. A somewhat dated interior design and an out-of-place column shifter make the Escalade feel a bit less premium than its price tag suggests. The inside of the Navigator has a cleaner design and nicer materials, giving it a nicer interior overall.

Mechanicals

The Cadillac has a good old-fashioned V8 under the hood and the Navigator has a twin-turbo V6. They both come standard with rear-wheel drive with four-wheel drive available.

2020 Lincoln Navigator Engine

  • 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6; 450 horsepower, 500 lb-ft of torque; up to 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined

2020 Cadillac Escalade Engine

  • 6.2-liter V8; 420 hp, 460 lb-ft of torque; up to 14 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined

Despite being a much smaller engine with fewer cylinders, the Navigator beats the Escalade in performance numbers while also returning better fuel economy. These two SUVs have an identical maximum towing capacity of 8,300 pounds.

Technology

The standard infotainment system in the Escalade is an 8-inch screen with the CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system. It comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, four USB ports and 16-speaker Bose audio. The standard unit in the Navigator is the SYNC 3 infotainment system with a 10-inch screen, six USB ports, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and 14-speaker audio. They also both come standard with navigation and wireless charging and they both have available rear-seat entertainment systems.

As for safety technology, the Navigator is a bit more loaded than the Escalade. The Navigator comes standard with Lincoln Co-Pilot360, which includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic assist, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection and automatic high beams. A parallel and perpendicular park assist system, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view parking camera system are all optional on the Lincoln.

As for the Cadillac, it comes standard with a park assist system, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view camera and rain-sensing wipers. Forward-collision warning, low-speed automatic emergency braking, full-speed forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, lane change alert, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, a rearview camera mirror, a head-up display and a safety alert seat are all optional.

Pricing

Pricing is quite similar between these two SUVs. The Escalade has a starting MSRP of $75,195 and the Navigator starts at $75,825. If you want a long-wheelbase model, the Escalade ESV starts at $78,195 and the Navigator L starts at $79,025. Both of these SUVs are capable of hitting the $100,000 mark when you get into the top trim of the long-wheelbase variant and add some options.

Conclusion

With better performance, better fuel economy, a roomier, nicer interior and similar pricing, it's easy to make the case for the Navigator over the Escalade. Really, the only reason to go with the Cadillac over the Lincoln is if you're looking for a more trucklike luxury SUV with a standard V8 engine and a solid rear axle. An all-new Escalade is on the way for 2021 and we're optimistic that it will be more modern and more competitive with its Lincoln rival. Find a Lincoln Navigator for sale or Find a Cadillac Escalade for sale

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2020 Lincoln Navigator vs. 2020 Cadillac Escalade: Which Is Better? - Autotrader
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