The redesign of the Lincoln Navigator was a long time coming and man, oh man, did the wait pay off. The beautiful road warrior debuted last year and offers a new level of luxury for the automaker. Is the new Navigator all style and no substance? Let’s take a closer look.
For this review, I drove a pre-production model that had no MSRP on the Monroney. However, a similarly equipped production model of the same SUV would run you upwards of $93,705.
The 2018 Lincoln Navigator is a brute with a large horizontal grille that strongly features the Lincoln logo, as prominent as the carving on Stone Mountain. Its commanding presence is anchored by rather bland headlamps at the sides of the grand grille while hood creases give the Navigator a Rolls Royce-like shape and draw the eye rearward along the SUV’s boxy body.
Abundant black glass gives the Navigator an upscale appearance that is worthy of its hefty price tag.
My tester Navigator’s pale blue paint job is pleasing to the eye and served as a nice contrast with the abundant black glass. The chrome exterior accents looked purposeful and added to the overall luxury level appearance.
Propelling the Navigator is a twin-turbocharged V6 engine that is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, producing 450 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. The system delivers sufficient power and smooth acceleration.
Where the Navigator falters most is in its handling. The SUV is engaging for the driver off the line but upwards of 35 mph, it gets sloppy, making it an effort to keep in its lane. By the time you’re done with a long drive, your arms will be tired, and you’ll likely be annoyed like I was.
The interior leather color of my tester was the automaker’s Marine Blue color, which is similar to Benjamin Moore’s Little Falls paint and features contrasting ivory stitching. It’s not to my taste but the valet I dropped the car off with one day proclaimed how much he liked it as he drove the Navigator away. The ivory-colored headliner was dirty and extended down the A-Pillar far enough that you’d likely touch it during entrance and exit causing it to be even dirtier down the line.
Despite only having 6,500 miles on the SUV, the front seat bolsters had crumpled enough under stress to show a troubling amount of wear and tear. The light seat color made the wrinkles stand out more than they likely would with darker colors. It’s also one of the first things your eye is drawn to when the car’s door opens because of the vehicle’s height.
Additionally, you’ll see the elegant finishes and sculpted lines of the Navigator’s dashboard and center stack. Despite having a 10-inch touch screen display that appears to be stuck on like an afterthought, the Navigator’s interior shines with fresh technology and appropriate sophistication. The font on the screen and the head up display was too thin for my taste, but that’s being nitpicky.
The uncluttered nature of the interior carries over to the supple and comfortable seats. Adults will find themselves with plenty of room to be chauffeured in the second row while the third row is best left to children or small adults.
Second row seating in the model I drove included the ability to open and close the sunroof’s sunshade as well as controls for the sound system. This would be great for when the car is being used for livery service but when you’re tooling around town with the kids, it can start a battle that ends in no one getting dessert.
In my super professional sounding opinion, the cargo capacity of the Navigator is just fine. There’s nothing extraordinary about it one way or the other. There’s a fair amount of in-cabin storage that is enough for most anything you’d want to store. A large hobo-style purse comfortably fits in the center console if you store the pencil tray somewhere else.
The safety features of the Navigator are unobtrusive but work well enough that you never question whether or not the vehicle is actually equipped with them.
Put the handling and the size of the vehicle together and you get a cumbersome experience behind the wheel. You’ll be comfortable during the ride because the SUV absorbs most of the road’s imperfections, but you won’t want to be the one driving it. The Navigator is a SUV best to be chauffeured in, matching luxury styling with a luxurious ride.