Amazing. Seriously amazing.
I love big trucks as much as the next girl. They give you capability, security and they (should) have storage so you don’t need to constantly rotate things through your garage or mud room. They also should enhance family time, fostering conversation, singing or simply, downtime. And, they should add efficiency to your errands and journeys.
The newly redesigned 2018 Lincoln Navigator luxury SUV does all that with a stylish, elegant flair. Yes, most large trucks have a renewed sense of style these days. The Navigator takes design to another level.
Further Reading: Thinking an older Navigator is the right choice? This is what we thought on our test drive
Second row leg room is more than ample: Photo: Scotty Reiss
Who This Car is For
- Families, especially large ones
- Buyers who want a luxury SUV
- Limo drivers who want their passengers to have a premium experience
- Drivers who regularly need a third row
- Buyers who are driven by style and design
- Buyers who need capability including 4 wheel drive, high ground clearance and cargo space
- Buyers who are not put off by the large price tag and fluctuating fuel prices
What This Car Costs
This is a luxury SUV after all, so even the base model is well equipped. Here is how costs break down:
- Premiere edition base model with 3.5 L twin turbo V6 450 horsepower engine, Revel sound system, multiple drive modes, blind spot monitors, backup sensors, smart key, household outlet, heated seats and steering wheel, heated second row seats, customizable settings for multiple drivers, 10” center infotainment screen, surround view camera, adjustable steering wheel and foot pedals, motion activated lift gate, wifi, power running boards and Lincoln Concierge, $72,550
- Select Edition intermediate model adds lane departure warning, rain sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control and more upgrade options including center row captains chairs and panoramic sun roof, $76,555
- Reserve Edition model adds upgraded 22 inch wheels, panoramic sun roof, second row captains chairs with center console and more options: $81,705
- Add Technology package with auto park assist, adaptive cruise control, head up display and lane keep assist: $2640
- Add 30 way front seats with massage, $1250
- Add cargo management system with shelf: $420
- Rear entertainment system (screens mounted on the back of front seat headrests) $1,995
- Upgraded Revel Ultima sound system, $995
- Second row heated captains chairs and center console,
- Price of the model we test drove, about $88,555
First Things First: A Brilliant Home for My Handbag
I can’t tell you how much I LOVE THIS. Seriously love. The center console—gorgeous in its own right for an innovative design capped by luscious details— is cantilevered into the center space from its base between the front seats. At the end it curves and tilts to make controls easy to see and reach. And underneath is tons of glorious space and a three-compartment tray.
From the driver’s seat I could slide my handbag into the space where it sat neatly, easy to reach but out of the way. I could reach in and grab my wallet when I needed to, and the location was so sublime I wasn’t afraid to leave it there when I ran into the store for milk. I would never leave my handbag on the passenger seat when running into a store. That’s just an invitation for a break in.
Further Reading: Dreaming of a summer road trip? Don’t skimp on tech to stay connected as you wander
The trays under the console are also great for a laptop, phones or other small gear, as is the center console, which wasn’t big enough for my handbag but my laptop fit just fine.
For the handbag space alone I love this car. But it does so much more. So much. So much so that I made this little video, but keep reading for all the details:
Form + Function = Oh Yes PLEASE!!!
I never wanted to get out of this car. Ever. The whole week I test drove it I felt like I was where I’m supposed to be: comfortable, cared for and uncompromising with everything I need at at my fingertips. That is how life in the car should be. Everything was thought of including:
- Pop out running boards that make getting in and out of the car not just easy, but comfortable. Anyone with back issues would appreciate this: Step up onto the running board, then up into the cab, then take your seat in the driver’s seat. The height of the Navigator necessitates the running boards, but stepping up and sitting is a much more natural and comfortable way to take your seat. No bending, folding and wrenching to get into your seat. And, running boards are great for smaller passengers and dogs; this gives everyone better access to the car.
- Multi-function lift gate: first, it’s motion activated, so kick your foot under the back bumper and chirp chirp chirp, the lights flash and the gate opens. However, you can open only the window by clicking the button under the tail lights on the left, or open the entire lift gate with a key fob button or the button on the right side under the tail lights (there are subtle icons that indicate where these buttons are).
- Head up display: this projects key driver information such as speed, speed limit and navigation onto the windshield so you don’t have to look away while you’re driving.
- Telescoping steering wheel and foot pedals: Just because you’re short doesn’t mean you can’t be completely in control.
- Cargo management system with bins for milk and melons! The cargo floor cover lifts up easily to reveal storage bins and can be be positioned in place as a shelf. This made getting things out of the car through the rear window easy, and I was able to double the room for groceries. And, the milk and a watermelon didn’t roll around while driving. This is brilliant.
- 30 Way seats. Ok, I don’t really need 30 way seats, do I? Are they worth $1250? Yes, and yes. These seats are simply amazing.The head rest retracts and extends to accommodate a pony tail and the seats massage while you’re driving. This may be an indulgence but it’s a good one.
- Wireless Qi charge pad: this is the most brilliant one I’ve seen: rather than a flat pad, it’s titled on its side so you pop your phone in and it rests against the pad. Even with a case and a metal ring phone holder on the back of my phone, it charged. Super impressive.
- Panoramic sun roof. Light. Glorious light. Even for passengers in the third row.
Technology Makes Managing This Large SUV Easy and Intuitive
In a car this size anything that makes it easier to manage is a must. It’s not easy to park—I regularly found myself parking at the outskirts of the parking lot to ensure plenty of space.
In a particularly tight parking garage I found the one ideal space at the corner of the lot that was easy to get in and out of. As I was leaving I noticed another Lincoln Navigator driver eying the spot; as soon as I pulled out she took it. We gotta stick together!
At another parking lot I put the auto park feature to work and amazingly, the system pulled the Navigator into a space I would have passed by; the space looked tight but the Navigator was able to pull into it perfectly.
This is the technology I found important while driving the Navigator:
- Touch screen infotainment system, which was easy to use and navigate
- Apple Car Play/Android Auto
- Adaptive cruise control
- Push button gear selector—took me a minute to find these buttons; they are situated neatly below the infotainment screen and not overly prominent
- Plenty of USB ports. There are two up front next to the wireless charge pad, two on the back of the center console and two in the third row. And if you need more charging, there is a household plug as well as two 12V cigarette adapter charge ports (one on the back of the center console and one in the arm rest storage area).
- Park assist, which steers the car into a parking spot for you; you follow prompts for changing gears as needed and control the speed, the Lincoln does the rest
Driving This Beast: Tech Helps You Manage the Road
Driving a car this large can be a challenge. This handsome hunk is 6’3”, a measure you need to know. Remember that parking garage I mentioned? Its clearance is 6’10” and as I pulled in I feared we might get stuck. Luckily we just made it, but I wish I’d thought to look up the Navigator’s height before I ventured into the garage.
The rest of our test drive proved that the Navigator’s size wasn’t as much a challenge as I thought it would be. This is truly a large car, but its assistance systems made driving it much easier. They include:
- A surround view camera
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane departure assist, which nudges you back into your lane if you wander out
- Blind spot monitors
- Active park assist, which steers the car into a parking spot while you control speed and change gears when prompted
The Biggest Surprise? A Small(ish) Engine Means Better MPG
Probably the biggest surprise was the engine: the 3.5 L twin turbo V6 engine was powerful (450 horsepower) and ample. I assumed a car this large would have a V8, but then noticed I was getting nearly 19MPG in the city. As with many cars these days, Lincoln has been able to incorporate a smaller turbo V6 engine and gain some fuel benefits. I got between 18 and 19 MPG during my test drive of mostly city driving. That was impressive, especially considering I’m used to getting 20MPG in the city in my little sedan.
I’ve Been Waiting For This SUV and It Didn’t Disappoint
A few years ago Ford retooled itself, focusing resources and talent on its designs, features and technology. Lincoln ambled along as the silent sister in the family, incorporating great features and competitive prices. Matthew McConaughey’s commercials helped us to see that.
However, Lincoln was due for time in the spotlight, and this is it. The Navigator is designed to capture the hearts and passions of its owners, not just with over the top luxury but, but with design and details that will truly make you love your time in the car.
What We Loved
- So much is standard on the base model!
- A tray under the center console that fits a large handbag
- Wireless charge pad for phones, and 6 USB ports
- Automatic running boards
- Panoramic sun roof
- All the active safety technology including surround view camera, lane departure assist, blind spot monitors
- Park assist auto parking– this comes in really handy in this big SUV
- 30 way adjustable front seats
- Slide and tilt center row seats
- Cargo management system–totally worth $420!
- The redesigned center console–this is really beautiful
- Upgraded Revel sound system
- The twin turbo V6 engine is powerful and confident
- Lincoln’s service agreement is premium too: They will pick it up and deliver it when the Navigator needs service.
What You Need to Know
- This is a big SUV; driving and parking it takes some getting used to
- Seats 7 with center row captains chairs, 8 with a center row bench seat
- Fuel economy is great for a car this size but still not miserly; it’s rated at 16 MPG city/23 MPG highway. We got about 19 MPG in mostly city driving
- Premium gas recommended for maximum performance, though regular gas is fine
- 23 gallon capless fuel tank
- 4 wheel drive is an option, though it’s standard on the Reserve model
- When not using 4 wheel drive the system operates in rear wheel drive (saving you fuel)
- Tow capacity 8,700 lbs
- Starting price about $73,000; fully loaded about $89,000
What We Listened to in the Lincoln Navigator
This large SUV has room for a crew, and when you have that many people together, singing is a great way to spend your time. The Revel sound system enhances that even more. This is what we listened to in the Lincoln Navigator.
Disclosure: The Lincoln Navigator was provided for this review; all opinions are my own.