It makes sense to compare yourself to the best.
If you want the best American-made luxury SUV, the Cadillac Escalade has to be on your radar. It's one of the best-looking and most advanced full-size SUVs out there, which makes it no surprise that it continues to dominate the sales charts year after year. Ford is well aware of this and knows that its Lincoln Navigator needs work to get to the same level as the Caddy. Sure, part of the problem is that the Navigator is downright ugly next to the Escalade (or just about any other SUV in its class), but there's more to a good vehicle than just styling, which is why Ford has acquired one for benchmarking purposes.
This news comes from GM Authority, which pictured a brand-new 2021 Escalade making its way into Ford's Dearborn Development Center. The only logical reason is for Ford to benchmark the class leader so that the next Navigator can close the sales gap in this high-end niche. Benchmarking is common practice in the industry, and now is the perfect time to carry out tests as the Navigator is expected to get its mid-cycle refresh for the 2022 model year. This isn't the first time this year that Ford has taken its magnifying glass to the Escalade either.
Back in March of this year, we reported that the same thing was being done with the 2020 Escalade, which seemed odd considering that the 2021 model was already out, but with the high demand of the Escalade, it's quite possible that Ford simply couldn't get its hands on the latest model at the time. That issue seems to have since been resolved, and although we doubt that the 2022 Navigator will be quite as pretty as the Escalade, we're hopeful that it will be an improvement on the current model. Currently, the Navigator is rooted to second place in the sales charts ahead of the Infiniti QX80 and Lexus LX, but if it gets better with its next update, the gap could soon close.