The Lincoln Navigator is the OG “American luxury SUV,” but today it’s kind of an also-ran compared to the prolific Cadillac Escalade. What do you need to know before you buy a Lincoln Navigator? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in our Buyer’s Guide.
The Navigator is based on the Ford Expedition, which is built on old bones but re-powered for 2015 with Ford’s thrustacular 3.5 EcoBoost V6 and some smooth-riding suspension. Despite being overshadowed by the Escalade, the Navigator has its merits.
We haven’t observed better fuel economy in Ford’s turbo-six versus traditional V8s, but you feel a much stronger surge in the smaller engine. And that’s not just in the butt-dyno; Navigator’s V6 hits peak torque at 2,750 RPM while the V8 Escalade doesn’t until 4,100.
Another point for the Lincoln, and it’s a big one, is that it undercuts Escalade on price by about ten thousand dollars. Even if you’re in the market for a $100,000 SUV, that’s a decent percentage of MSRP.
The third generation Lincoln Navigator launched for the 2007 model year at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show. It came equipped with a 300 horsepower 5.4-liter V8 mated to a six speed auto. The third generation brought a new long-wheelbase “Navigator L model,” new styling inside and out, more gadgetry, a new platform shared with the Expedition and improved NVH.
The second model year for the new and improved Navigator brought tons of new standard features: a power tailgate, a power-folding third row, heated and cooled front seats, satellite radio, and a THX 14-speaker audio system. Lincoln also made a rearview camera option for 2008.
In ‘09, Lincoln made some tweaks to their fuel delivery strategy and increased two-wheel drive models’ MPGs from 12 city, 18 highway to 14 city, 20 highway. In addition, some appearance packages and new optional content made their debut and more features like SYNC infotainment, heated rear seats, backup camera and rains-sensing wipers became standard.
The next five years brought some small changes to the navigation and infotainment system, but nothing major.
The major update happened in 2015, when Lincoln plopped a 380 horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 in place of the old V8. With the change to the smaller engine comes a sweet torque curve and the 22 MPG highway in two-wheel drive form, a number that Lincoln calls “best in class.”
In addition to the extra power and MPGs, the ‘15 Navigator got new exterior styling, a revised interior and standard electric power steering. Then in 2016, The Navigator moved to the Sync 3 infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen.
So, despite the Navigator’s aging platform, it’s got lots of new skin and plenty of tech to keep up with the times.
All Navigators come with a short and long-arm independent front suspension and a rear multilink setup. Power steering is electric and brakes are vented discs all the way around.
Standard on all ‘gators is the select 100A package, which includes goodness like heated and cooled 10-way power front seats with driver’s seat memory, leather seating surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate control, forward and reverse sensing, power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, power-deployable running boards, rearview camera, HID projector headlamps, 20-inch alloy wheels, surround sound audio system, eight-inch touchscreen and tons more.
So clearly, the Navigator is nice to sit in as standard-equipped, which runs about $62,000 in short-wheelbase with 4WD. But with the $7,000 “reserve equipment group,” oh baby those premium leather seats will suck you up and never let go.
So spec’d to $70,000 you’ve got a plush and powerful luxury SUV that’s a legitimate rival to much more expensive options from Cadillac, Infiniti and Lexus. Now you’ll just have to decide how you feel about that front bumper.
MSRP: $57,615-$70,705 Top Speed: 120 MPH (estimated)
Acceleration: 6.5s to 60 (estimated)
MPG: 16 city / 22 hwy / 18 combined [2WD Short Wheelbase]
Engines: 3.5L turbo V6
Max Horsepower/Torque: 380 hp/460 lb-ft
Max Advertised Towing Capacity: 9,000 pounds [2WD short wheelbase]
Curb Weight: 5,830- 6,297 IIHS Safety Rating: Not Tested
Transmissions: 6-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front Engine, 2WD/4WD
Photo credit: Lincoln