By Nauman Farooq
Most of you might not know, but Lincoln actually invented the large, premium SUV segment when it launched the original Navigator model back in 1998.
Since then, the vehicle that copied the idea, the Cadillac Escalade, has become the benchmark vehicle in its segment – despite not being very good at all!
In the last two-decades, the Navigator has soldiered on, selling in reasonable numbers -enough to convince the manufacturer to keep producing this nameplate- but now it seems like Lincoln doesn’t want to take things easy, they want to take charge of the segment they created! Question is, is the new Navigator good enough to do that?
Styling: From an aesthetics point of view, Lincoln has surely succeeded. The new Navigator looks the business – the perfect vehicle for arriving at any business meeting, or at the yacht or golf club! There are plenty of expensive vehicles that don’t look expensive, but the Navigator isn’t one of those – it looks like a million-bucks, although in reality, it is worth only one-tenth that!
Interior: Walk up to the vehicle, and a step lowers down automatically, open the large door and step inside, and you’re greeted by what is possibly the best interior I have come across in any SUV, ever! Typically, any high-end Lincoln felt like it was built using whatever switches were sitting at the Ford parts bin, but not the new Navigator. Everything you look and touch, feels bespoke – and most of them are.
As you’d expect, there is a lot of room in the Navigator, and it can be configured as a seven or eight passenger vehicle – and no matter where you sit, you’ll be comfortable. Also, most occupants have some sort of technology to keep them occupied, like the individual LCD screens for the middle row passengers; however, most of the goodies are up front!
This is where you’ll find massaging seats, that are also heated and cooled. While on the subject of seats, the front seats have more adjustment than any other vehicle I know of. You get individual adjustment for your thigh support, so if you sit at a tilted angle, these seats can accommodate. The seat also has a mid-section tilt in the backrest, and the headrest moves about electrically, too. I have sat in my cars in my life, and I can honestly say, the new Navigator has the best seats in the world.
But wait, there’s more – mid-dashboard you’ll find the new infotainment system, that not only looks like a tablet, but also works like one.
There are so many features in its infotainment system – such as navigation, stereo, vehicle info, etc. – if I try to list them all, I’d need to write a book! In short, everything you desire, is in there! Powertrain: Remember the Ford F-150 Raptor pickup, the one I raved about last year? Well, the new Navigator is a Raptor in a tuxedo.
So, under the hood is the same twin-turbo 3.5L V6 motor that produces 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all-wheels via a 10-speed automatic gearbox.
Driving Dynamics: There are seven drive modes for you to choose from, depending on the needs of the terrain that you’re in. There is “Conserve” for when you want to save fuel, a “Normal” for everyday driving, there is a setting for “Slippery” condi
tions, and one for “Deep Conditions” for when you’re in heavy snow or mud. “Slow Climb” is to dig you out of trouble, while “Deep Sand” is for dune bashing in Arabia, but the one I liked the most was “Excite” which allowed me to get maximum use of the power under the hood.
Put you foot down, and this over 6,000 lbs of vehicle (which utilizes a lot of aluminium in its construction) will move faster than you expect it to, you’ll love its pace. You’ll love its abilities, too, because it can pull more than itself again in weight – rated to tow 8,400 lbs.
Fuel Economy: You also expect this vehicle to drink a lot of fuel, and it does – I averaged 16.6 L/100km -which is a lot- but since the vehicle is so nice to drive, you won’t even mind filling it up!
Pricing: The 2018 Lincoln Navigator starts from $87,500 – and its available in two sizes, short and long wheelbase. My loaded, long wheelbase tester, which had every option thrown at it -including a Lincoln badge that would light up in the dark- was listed at about $106,000.
Verdict: The 2018 Lincoln Navigator might not be a cheap vehicle, but vehicles of this segment were never meant to be for the masses. If you can afford it, though, then you can rest assured knowing that your money is well spent on this vehicle – and can point and laugh at all those who bought an Escalade instead!