By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
Occasionally, one of the new test vehicles catch us totally off guard. The most recent surprise came from the Lincoln Navigator. We’d previously pretty much written it off as being too humongous and ungainly, especially when compared to most of the competitors.
First class travel
Lincoln engineers and designers have since done their homework, and while the Navigator still hints of some of those attributes, they have injected an amazing amount of substance, luxury and technology. In short, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator is a game changer and evokes the very definition of first class travel.
Fourth generation is striking
The fourth-generation Navigator renaissance starts with a striking new design inside and out. The exterior looks precise with clean subtle lines, a lean look and numerous chrome accents that helps mask the fact that it’s still one of the largest SUVs on the market. The face is simple but bold, with a large mesh chrome grille with a large Lincoln badge in the center and LED headlights on the corners.
A top-level interior
The interior is as posh as any we’ve experienced, including some cars in the $150,000 to $250,000 range. Our test vehicle was the top of the Lincoln Navigator’s elegant trim levels, the Black Label. As such, it is filled with high end materials, precise quality-feel controls and outstanding comfort. A big plus is a special level of after purchase services.
Black Label experience
The Black Label experience includes premium maintenance service with pickup and delivery, complimentary car washes on demand and an annual detailing to refresh the elegant accoutrements. It even offers access to Lincoln’s exclusive Culinary Collection of an expertly selected list of notable restaurants along with some other nice perks. (These services are only offered by Lincoln Black Label Dealers.) The interior is designed for seating seven or eight adults in comfort.
Perfect Position Seats
The two first row seats have the available Perfect Position Seat with Active Motion® that adjust 30 ways. They conform to your body by articulating forward to cradle you, and they even have power thigh adjusters that can extend and retract for individual leg comfort. Naturally, they are heated and ventilated for cooling.
Available in two sizes – big and bigger
The Navigator is available in two lengths: the shorter is 210-inches long with a 122.5-inch wheelbase and the Navigator L is 221.9-inches long with a 131.6-inch wheelbase. Lincoln claims the Navigator offers best-in-class legroom in the second and third rows.
All cars seem to have a high level of road noise on the rough surfaced roads where we live in the Northwest, but the Navigator was one of the quietest we’ve had recently thanks to extra layers of insulation and active noise canceling electronics.
Twin turbo V6 power – 450-hp
Gone are the days of big V-8 engines under the hood. Rather the Navigator uses the same 450-hp twin turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission that Ford uses in the famous Raptor pickup. The combination takes the three-ton Navigator from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds with no muss or fuss, and with very little roar. The EPA rates fuel economy at 16 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. We averaged 17.1 mpg. Those who tow will get a capacity from 8,100 to 8,700 pounds, depending on the length and drive configuration, plus it has Ford’s innovative trailer backup system available.
The Navigator elegance is not only in it’s looks and great engine, it also includes some substantive technological goodies to aid the driver. For example, the terrain-management controls that allow the driver to change the vehicle’s configurations (the adaptive suspension, adaptive steering, throttle, transmission and even the engine sounds.) to match the road conditions and the driver’s driving style. The system even sets the Navigator for off-road conditions, but who would want to take this elegant road warrior off the paved track?
The Navigator isn’t going to win any awards for handling prowess or agility, but for its size it performs quite well. Sure, there’s a bit of lean on the corners, but the technology helps keep it feeling solid and balanced.
The Navigator Black Label has everything as standard equipment, except for the 30-way seats and rear entertainment system. That means all the great technologies like head-up display, active park assists, active cruise, wireless charging, blind spot warning, Wi-Fi, remote start, and on and on.
The president speaks
The new Navigator has already been a big success, with strong sales and they’ve won some important awards. “At Lincoln, we’re always thinking about our clients – what they like and what they need,” says Joy Falotico, president, The Lincoln Motor Company. “To have Navigator become the first American vehicle ever to top the J.D. Power APEAL study is a testament to the unwavering dedication by the Lincoln team to create an exceptional and effortless ownership experience.”
The Lincoln Navigator was also named the prestigious 2018 Truck of the Year by the U.S. and Canadian auto writers at 2018 North American International Auto Show.
The 2018 Lincoln Navigator comes in four flavors: Premiere, Select, Reserve and Black Label. Pricing starts at $73,850 for a rear wheel drive Premiere and escalates to the Black Label, which has only minor options available. The base price on the 4×4 Black Label is $94,900. The few options can take the price just to six digits.
As we said earlier, the Lincoln Navigator was a big surprise to us. It may even be the best of the big luxury SUVs.