2018 Lincoln Navigator: Video Review and Road Test
It’s been a decade since Ford’s luxury division has redesigned its flagship full-size SUV, but with the all-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator, the wait has been worth it. Awarded 2018 North American Truck of the Year honors, the Navigator goes the extra mile in differentiating itself from its stablemate, the equally new 2018 Ford Expedition. The look and interior are totally different, a great attention has been paid to quality materials to give the Cadillac Escalade a run for its money. Micah Muzio explains in this Video Review and Road Test.
2018 Lincoln Navigator Video Transcript
In the past some may have viewed the Lincoln Navigator as little more than a fancied-up Ford Expedition but that is no longer the case. Ok, the Navigator still shares its core structure with the Expedition but it's very much a Lincoln. The Navigator’s chiseled aluminum body and assertive chrome face paints a distinct, audacious picture of opulence. But that full-scale richness really comes alive inside where classic style and spacious quarters combined to deliver old-school Lincoln luxury.
With a scrutinizing eye, you can find details that were shuttled over from the Expedition but that is nitpicking. Taken as a whole the Navigator's cabin is striking. Take a look at these seats and this trim, this deep pile floor mat. Ask any robber baron and they'll tell you, real luxury means plush floor mats. Elevating the interior's luxuriousness is liberal use of chrome and beautiful wood trim. Look close and the dash trim isn't actually one piece, but seriously who's looking back here besides nosey car reviewers.
Elsewhere nearly every surface is covered in soft, swanky materials making the Navigator feel like a properly premium product. Easy for me to say. Luxurious though it may be the cabin is also completely functional with simple push-button controls, countless cupholders, excellent in-door storage, a USB-equipped bin big enough for a console storage hold, though it sure seems like the armrests should lift separately.
Climbing aboard the Navigator is a cinch due to available power running boards, OneTouch second-row seat releases, and a wide pass-through to the power-reclining third row. The second row is as accommodating as the third, and in some 7-passenger models includes a neat cantilevered center console that mirrors the console up front. Perfect for icy, passive-aggressive rides to the airport.
With up to eight seats and outstanding space in all rows, lugging a full load of adults is no problem. While large and plush, I will mention that just like in the Lincoln Continental, the Navigator's optional seat back with separate top and bottom adjustability. That's theoretically neat but that division, for me, creates pressure points right about here and here or this region if you're looking at my back.
If you don't mind the gap the Navigator's front perches offer a lovely massage function and absurd levels of adjustability including 3-zone lumbar support and asymmetrical thigh support. If you prefer your front seats uncomplicated, 10-way heated units come standard.
One interesting interior detail is a conversation mirror that is as tiny as this screen is huge. Regarding the screen, it's a 10-inch unit running the latest version of Sync 3. For navigation, phone, and entertainment functions this is an agreeable interface. I will interface with it...by using my finger. The infotainment system also includes smartphone integration by way of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with icons so large I can leave my Homer-approved dialing wand at home.
For hauling cargo, the Navigator offers 20 cubic feet behind the third row, depending on how the seats are angled. Drop the back two rows and cargo capacity lands at a sizable 103.3 cubic feet. For better managing your cargo there is an optional cargo management system. Or, if you'd just like more space, consider the more cavernous long-wheelbase Navigator L.
Moving this beast around is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that sends its power groundward through a 10-speed, push-button automatic transmission. In operation, the 10-speed largely fades into the background, which is a good thing with almost any transmission but especially within the context of a luxury SUV. Despite having 450 horsepower, acceleration off the line is not as life-altering as you might expect. Nonetheless, with rare exception, if you need to get ahead of traffic the Navigator will get the job done.
The V6's power can also be used to tow up to 8,700 pounds. For best results, we recommend trailer backup assist, an optional system whose knob controlled steering makes backing up a trailer almost foolproof. And FYI, the V6's maximum power is only available when running premium fuel. Speaking of fuel economy, it's good for a large SUV, with optional 4-wheel drive imposing a minor penalty. When stopped an automatic engine start/stop system shuts down the engine to save fuel but the system is defeatable. Captain Planet villains, rejoice!
Rolling down the road the Navigator has a cushy demeanor facilitated by an independent rear suspension and optional adaptive dampers. The navigator suspension does good things for ride quality but for best results the standard 20-inch wheels are a smart bet. Though the optional 22-inch wheels do look cool.
It might be big but the Navigator's steering is light and easy. For close quarters maneuvering it's really not that bad, though partial credit goes to a compelling roster of driver assists. Standouts include optional lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, a 180-degree forward facing camera for safely pulling into traffic, a 360-degree camera system for infinitely easier parking, and a one-button parking system that takes over steering from the no doubt incompetent driver. It deactivated. Now who's the incompetent one? Smug.
Like many cars the Lincoln Navigator offers multiple drive modes that alter vehicle behavior as the occasion requires. But man, those drive modes will blow your mind with their grandiosity. I mean, even normal mode looks like a deleted scene from Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. Deep conditions indeed.
The base Navigator Premier trim has a starting price around $73,000 dollars and includes a standard backup camera, LED head- and taillights, front and rear parking sensors, 3-zone automatic climate control, six USB ports, power adjustable pedals, intelligent access with push button start, and blind spot warning, a welcome feature since the wide b-pillar next to the driver's head impedes the view left.
Also standard are a 4-year 50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and approach detection, which greets the driver with glowing door handles, illuminated welcome mats, and flashy displays from the head- and taillamps. Among the many enticing options are a panoramic roof, a head-up display, and dual 10 inch entertainment screens featuring USB and HDMI inputs, though headrests constantly smacking into them cannot be good.
Get reckless with the option sheet and it's possible to spec in nearly $100,000 Navigator. if you want to live the ultimate Lincoln Life the Navigator is offered in Black Label form, opening a range of customization options along with concierge services like complimentary car washes, vehicle maintenance delivery services, and access to restaurants.
Competitors include the Lexus LX, Infiniti QX80, and Mercedes-Benz GLS, though the Cadillac Escalade remains the Navigator's prime target. It should also be said that you can enjoy most of the Navigator's features and functions for less money with its platform-mate the Ford Expedition. Even so, these days there are good reasons to choose the Lincoln over the Ford.
The Navigator isn't just a fancy SUV, it's a fancy SUV that embodies the grandeur of Lincoln's past. If you want a full-size expression of American indulgence that can also tow a boat, welcome to the Land of Lincoln. No, the car company.