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2016 Lincoln Navigator L

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2016 Lincoln Navigator L Review

By Matt Degen

KBB Expert Rating: 6.8

The Lincoln Navigator is a full-size luxury SUV with room for well-heeled families and the muscle to haul their toys. Significantly refreshed last year, the Navigator received much-needed interior and exterior updates, plus a new turbocharged V6 engine that does more with less. The Navigator can tow up to 9,000 pounds and is available in two lengths. While its technology improves this year with the easier-to-use Sync 3 infotainment system, the Navigator still lags competitors such as the Cadillac Escalade and Mercedes-Benz GL in other key technology and safety aspects. Unlike the Navigator, those rivals boast automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, radar-based cruise control, and even have the capability to massage the front-seat occupants.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you crave a big, brawny, premium SUV that can tow up to 9,000 pounds, the 2016 Navigator is worth a look. Its roughly $64,000 starting price also undercuts its American rival the Cadillac Escalade.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Though just off a refresh, the Lincoln Navigator already feels dated when it comes to the latest safety and driver-assistance features: The Escalade and GL handily trump the big Lincoln. If better fuel economy and maneuverability are on your list, look to something slightly smaller, like Audi’s Q7 or Volvo’s XC90.

What's New for 2016

For 2016, the Lincoln Navigator receives the Sync 3 infotainment system. Based around an 8-inch touch screen, this latest version of the Ford/Lincoln communications, entertainment and navigation unit is easier to see and operate.

Driving the Navigator L
Driving Impressions

The Navigator’s new engine, a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, is so good that there isn't much to miss about the old V8. Ample power is available, even at lower rpm. The...

... 380 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, however, come only when using premium fuel. The Navigator’s available 3-mode Drive Control suspension dampening allows the driver to choose among Comfort, Normal and Sport settings. We found the Comfort setting a bit soft, preferring Normal or Sport. An independent rear suspension helps the Navigator feel more planted in turns, but the handling is hardly best in class. Whereas the Mercedes-Benz GL rides like a sedan thanks to its unibody platform, the Navigator is more truck-like because that's the kind of chassis on which it's built. We also found the electric power steering a bit vague. The Navigator's main boast is its ability to tow up to 9,000 pounds, a best-in-class stat.

ECOBOOST V6
"EcoBoost" is this automaker's term for twin-turbocharging. But don't get hung up on names. Just know it works. Boosting this relatively small 3.5-liter V6 engine results in V8-like levels of 380 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque.

PREMIUM MATERIALS
The previous Lincoln Navigator was plenty luxurious...for 2007. Times have changed, though, and the new upscale leather and Ziricote wood trim bring this big SUV into decidedly more modern times.

2016 Lincoln Navigator L Details
2016 Lincoln Navigator L photo Interior

Both standard (SWB) and long-wheelbase (LWB) Navigators come with three rows of seats, featuring 2nd-row captain's chairs, with total seating for seven. As a no-cost option, the Navigator can be had with a 2nd-row bench, increasing seating to eight. As expected in a full-size luxury SUV starting over $64,000, fine materials such as leather and wood are abundant. Legroom is good across all rows. Overall interior space is decent, but not as vast as the Lincoln's big exterior may indicate. The 18.1 cubic feet of storage behind the third row of a SWB Navigator trails the max capacity of the smaller Honda Pilot.

Exterior
2016 Lincoln Navigator L photo

The Navigator's new face and massive split grille have added some freshness to this luxury hauler, but for better or worse the Lincoln remains a giant rolling box. At 207.4 inches in length, even a standard-size model is a potentially cumbersome vehicle to maneuver. The long-wheelbase Navigator L goes even further, coming in at 222.3 inches in length. Loading heavy items into the high cargo area isn't easy, and the available motorized running boards are mandatory if kids will be climbing in and out of your Navigator. If you plan to park in a garage, bring a tape measure.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Both standard Navigator and longer Navigator L are available in two trims: Select and Reserve. Even the base Select model is well equipped with the latest Sync 3 system that includes an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, voice command and 14-speaker THX II-certified audio system. Leather seating covers the first two rows, and both front seats are heated and cooled. Features include power tailgate, adjustable pedals, push-button start and power tilt/telescoping steering wheel. For safety: blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera and front and rear warning sensors. A "welcome mat" puddle light under the outside mirrors illuminates the ground when the unlock button is pressed.

Optional Equipment

In addition to rear-wheel drive (RWD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD), and standard or extended length, the other main choice for 2016 Navigator buyers is the Reserve Package. Available with any model, the package adds premium leather across all three rows and includes Ziricote wood accents, 22-inch wheels, power running boards and upgraded floor mats. These are all nice, but the package's $8,000 price is a big ask. Individual options include a moonroof, while the Lincoln Drive Control is included when 4WD is elected. Absent are adaptive cruise control, foot-activated rear liftgate and parallel-park assist – items offered on other Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

Under the Hood

The 2016 Lincoln Navigator is powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine. With 380 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, it handily outmuscles the outdated 5.4-liter V8 used in past models. The power is transmitted through a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. The SUV's available 4-wheel-drive system uses a 2-speed transfer case. In low range it switches the engine's electronic throttle control to a special off-road calibration for more precise torque management in the worst conditions, such as climbing steep, slippery hills. The system also features hill-descent control and hill-start assist. Towing capability maxes out at 9,000 for a RWD SWB model, and falls to 8,400 pounds for a 4WD Navigator L.

3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
380 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
460 lb-ft of torque @ 2,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg (SWB, RWD), 15/20 mpg (LWB, RWD), 15/20 mpg (SWB, 4WD), 15/19 mpg (LWB, 4WD)

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