By KBB.com Editors
When Lincoln launched its original Navigator it was America's first full-size luxury SUV. GM soon retaliated with a Chevy Tahoe-based Cadillac Escalade and has followed with much-improved second- and third-generation versions since then. The battle was resumed last year with the launch of the significantly improved Navigator and long-bodied Navigator L, which still trails the Escalade in power but boasts some advantages, namely the function and operation of its second- and third-row seats. Both rows fold flat into the floor, and the segment-exclusive PowerFold feature flattens the back row at the touch of a button.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a big, roomy, highly capable hauler that's as quiet, comfortable and civilized as most luxury sedans, you have two logical choices. The 2008 Lincoln Navigator competes well with its Cadillac counterpart in most ways and beats it in some.You May Not Like This Car If...
If your needs do not require a large, truck-based SUV (e.g. for heavy hauling and towing), or your tastes and budget don't lead you toward the high-buck luxury-end of this segment or you prefer something smaller and more fuel-efficient, you'll be happier with a car-based "crossover," or CUV.What's Significant About This Car?
With the deletion of the Ultimate trim, the base model receives more standard equipment, including a power rear liftgate, PowerFold third-row seat, heated and cooled front seats, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and the 14-speaker THX II-certified premium audio system. The Rearview Camera is now available on both the standard and L trims.Driving It Driving Impressions
This 2008 Lincoln Navigator boasts a stiff structure and fully independent front and rear suspensions. Monotube shocks all around improve ride and enable more precise tuning, while a variable-boost power steering pump reduces low-speed effort and improves higher-speed feel and feedback. The Navigator is rock-solid yet surprisingly agile and comfortable on the road, even on rough surfaces. Performance is more than adequate, and the new larger brakes haul it down with authority and improved pedal feel thanks to a dual-bore master cylinder. The extra-long L version feels heavier (because it is), yet drives "smaller" than it looks. Both are uncannily quiet inside due to a new acoustic windshield, thicker side glass and increased insulation throughout.Favorite Features
Power Running Boards
This vehicle is tall enough that most folks will find running boards useful for climbing in and out. These optional power-deployable units present themselves when any side door is opened and retreat neatly out of sight when all doors are closed.
PowerFold Third-row Seats
Standard on all models is the handy 60/40 split-back third-row seat that folds flat into the floor at the touch of a button.
The Navigator's ultra-quiet, leather-lined cabin is divided by a "flow-through" center console that sweeps up into rectangular "eyebrows" that frame both sides of the dash. The instrument bezels, "inspired by popular rectangular fashion eyewear," have a '50s retro look. The real wood trim is a choice of dark ebony or light "Anigre," with adjacent panels "bookmatched" to precisely align the grains, while the accents are satin nickel and chrome. The seats are soft but supportive, the fits, finishes and craftsmanship befit a fine luxury automobile and the gorgeous four-spoke leather and wood steering wheel with audio, climate and cruise control buttons on its spokes is shared with Lincoln's MKZ sedan and MKX crossover.Exterior
The 2008 Lincoln Navigator is about as big, bold and flashy as they come. It begins with a large retro (from the 1960s) cross-hatch Lincoln grille between huge high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps. Below it, the pattern is repeated in a second full-width grille with fog lamps near its corners, and you can order a big chrome hood cap above it. Chrome strips highlight the beltlines and wide chrome trim decorates the lower doors. Standard wheels are 18-inch machined aluminum, with chrome wheels optional. New Lincoln sedan-like taillamps wrap around the rear corners and well into the liftgate. Step-in height is noticeably high, as is the reach to gain roof access.Notable Standard Equipment
The 2008 Navigator's standard feature list is generous. Among the major items are automatic high-intensity discharge headlamps, leather-covered seats with 10-way front power adjustment and memory, PowerFold 60/40-split third-row seat that folds flat, dual-zone automatic air conditioning with rear controls, remote keyless entry with illuminated driver's-door keypad, power heated and folding outside mirrors, power-adjustable pedals, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, power liftgate, heated and cooled front seats, THX II-certified audio with six-disc in-dash CD player and MP3 jack, reverse sensing system, power rear quarter windows, running boards and a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety features include AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control (RSC), four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), dual-stage front air bags, seat-mounted side airbags and three-row side-curtain airbags with roll-over protection.Notable Optional Equipment
Popular options include a power moonroof, voice-activated DVD navigation, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, 40/20/40 split-bench second seat, a cargo management system, Rearview Camera, power-deployable running boards, Class IV trailer towing package and chrome aluminum wheels.Under the Hood
The 2008 Navigator is powered by a SOHC 5.4-liter V8 that delivers a smooth 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission. The available four-wheel drive uses a two-speed transfer case with optional electronic shift-on-the-fly capability. In low range it shifts the engine's electronic throttle control to a special off-road calibration for more precise torque management in the worst conditions, such as climbing hills under slippery conditions.
300 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
365 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/18 (2WD), N/A (4WD)
The 2008 Lincoln Navigator's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $48,500, while the 15-inch longer L model starts just over $51,500. Four-wheel drive adds about $3,000 to the bottom line. Both Navigator models are nearly $7,000 less than the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, but Kelley Blue Book projects the standard and stretched Navigators' five-year residual values to fall below those expected of the pricier Escalades. Navigator transaction prices may vary, so be sure to check Fair Purchase Prices to see what people are actually paying in your area.