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2018 Lincoln Navigator L

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2018 Lincoln Navigator L Expert Review

By Keith Buglewicz

The all-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator isn't just the best Navigator ever, it may be the best vehicle Lincoln currently makes. Why? Because it's completely distinct from its Ford counterpart, the Expedition. While sharing many parts under the skin -- a skin made of aluminum, by the way -- the Navigator sets itself apart with a sense of luxury and style that the Ford can't match, whether you're talking about the standard or long-wheelbase Navigator L, with its additional cargo space. Beyond that, the Navigator can go head-to-head with other high-end 3-row luxury SUVs with its head held high. The Cadillac Escalade is no match, and even vehicles like the Lexus LX 570, Infiniti QX80 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class have a hard time matching this big Lincoln's combination of luxury, style and capability.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a high-end off-road-capable family hauler that offers virtually every luxury you can think of, this big Lincoln fits the bill perfectly. Its powerful twin-turbo V6 engine, plentiful technology, and comfortable and distinctive interior combine to make this the most luxurious Lincoln yet, maybe ever.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Stylistically, the Lincoln Navigator will not be everyone's cup of tea...that is one huge grille, after all. Alternatives include the ever-present Cadillac Escalade, the Lexus LX 570, and the newly refreshed Infiniti QX80. All offer their own distinctive looks, and they also offer V8 engines, although none out-power the Lincoln.

How It Ranks
What's New for 2018

The 2018 Lincoln Navigator is all-new, with virtually nothing carried over from past models. The drivetrain gets a power upgrade, the body uses aluminum panels atop a steel frame, and the interior is as distinct from the Ford Expedition as black is to white.

Driving the Navigator L
Driving Impressions

This is a big, full-size luxury SUV, and as such it's not the happiest city dweller. An available 360-degree camera system, parking sensors and a self-parking feature help, but the...

... short version is more than 17 feet long, the Navigator L is a foot longer, and tight parking lots and low-ceilinged parking structures are a hassle. On the open road, it's a different story. The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine puts out 450 horsepower, plenty to move this big box around, and the 10-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and quickly; we suggest leaving it in Drive and skipping the paddles. The suspension features active shocks for a smooth ride, and the big Lincoln had little issue with the kinds of beat-up roads we encounter here in Los Angeles. Inside it's quiet, with very little wind noise despite the blocky shape, an exception being the constant growl of the exhaust.

DISTINCTIVE STYLE
The Navigator shares a lot of its mechanical bits with the Ford Expedition and always has. That's true this time as well, but with an important twist: The 2018 Navigator never lets you know it. The interior is unique, right down to the window switches, with virtually nothing shared between the two.

REVEL ULTIMA
The Revel Ultima audio system by Harman that's available in the new Navigator should be reason enough for audiophiles to buy this full-size SUV. With 20 speakers there's good separation, and the sound quality was superb whether you're listening to rock, classical or anything in between.

2018 Lincoln Navigator L Details
Interior

Far and away the most distinctive part of the new Navigator, the interior looks and feels even more high end than the Navigator's price demands. The dash is dominated by a 10-inch touch screen with enormous, easy-to-see-and-use icons, especially when using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The dash itself is classy and elegant, and we like the center console "island" that doesn't quite reach the dash. Second-row seats can be a bench for three, two captain's chairs with an aisle down the middle, or with a huge center console with independent entertainment and climate controls. The third row can seat three adults.

Exterior

Yes, the grille is enormous and inescapable. If you don't like it, then this luxury SUV isn't for you. But there's no denying it makes a statement, whatever that statement is. Get past that and there are cool touches, like the LED-backed Lincoln badge in the middle of the grille, or the cool way the dual LED accents under the headlights scroll on and off. In back, there's Lincoln's signature LED taillights spanning the hatch, and LINCOLN spelled out in giant letters. The silhouette may be the same as a Ford Expedition, but the Navigator has enough detail work to make it distinctive.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base-model Navigator Premiere comes standard with all the luxury trim you'd expect, like leather seats, plush carpeting, a rearview camera, and so on. It also adds unexpected touches like a foot-operated power liftgate, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, power-folding 2nd- and 3rd-row seats, and 3-zone automatic climate control. Also standard is the 10-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Note that if you want the long-wheelbase Navigator L, you'll have to move up to the Select trim level, which also adds a wireless charging pad and more. Note that Reserve and Black Label models get 4-wheel drive standard.

Optional Equipment

Beyond choosing overall length and rear- or 4-wheel drive (4x2, 4x4), the Lincoln Navigator offers a number of upgrades to its luxury experience. Lincoln's 30-way-adjustable front seats are available in Reserve and Black Label models, and there's a panoramic sunroof, captain's chairs with a center console in the second row, and cool touches like the LED-lit Lincoln badge as well. Safety upgrades include active cruise control, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, and a 360-degree-view camera system. The Black Label models offer unique touches, like "themed" interior treatments that include blue-on-white Yacht Club, or brown-on-brown Destination.

Under the Hood

The only available engine is a 450-horsepower version of Ford's excellent 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6. It's a lot of power, more than the Expedition, and the Lincoln puts it to good use through a 10-speed automatic transmission. While not exactly sports-car quick, the powerful V6 makes short work of acceleration from a dead stop, or zipping around slower traffic on the freeway. It can even tow up to 8,700 pounds when properly equipped. Unlike a lot of high-end engines, this one doesn't require premium fuel. For a full-size SUV, fuel economy is also pretty solid, ranging from 21-23 mpg on the highway, depending on model.

3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
450 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
510 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg (Navigator 4x2); 16/21 mpg (Navigator 4x4); 16/22 mpg (Navigator L 4x2); 16/21 mpg (Navigator L 4x4)

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the base 2018 Lincoln Navigator Premiere starts at $73,250, including the $1,195 destination charge. If you want 4-wheel drive, add $2,655 to that sum. Select models start at $77,250 for a 4x2 short-wheelbase model, and is the jump-off point for the Navigator L long-wheelbase model, which starts just below the $82,000 mark; again, add $2,655 if you want 4-wheel drive. The Reserve and Black Label models come only with 4-wheel drive, with the Reserve starting at $82,400 or $85,600 for the short or long version, respectively; a Black Label and Black Label L will run you $94,900 or $98,100. That's in line with other high-end luxury SUVs. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid, and note that historically the Navigator hasn't held its price so well, but it's too soon to say for this substantially revised model.

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