2018 Lincoln Navigator Review

Aside from being the first all-new model in quite some time, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator also enjoys the distinction of being the first Lincoln-branded vehicle to command a $100,000 price tag. Yes, the top-line Black Label Navigator cones in at $100,890 in its long wheelbase version.

So, what does 100 grand get you in America’s first luxury SUV?

That’s right, in case you didn’t know, Navigator was the first American SUV to genuinely qualify for the luxury category when it was introduced back in 1997. It also enjoyed runaway success until Cadillac warmed over a GMC Denali and badged it Escalade in 1999.

The crowd promptly abandoned the Lincoln in favor of the pseudo-Cadillac and Navigator has trailed GM’s luxo truck ever since. However, this 2018 Navigator is easily the best-executed version of the Lincoln since the original. And, many pundits have declared it a far better offering than the Escalade.

Power comes from a twin-turbocharged 450-horsepower V6, which is good for 510 ft-lbs of torque.

Those of you in the know will recognize these specs are the same as the fire-breathing Ford F-150 Raptor, with which the engine is shared. Output is routed to the drive wheels through a ten-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, four-wheel drive is an option.

With all of those ratios available, plus a 200-pound weight loss compared to its predecessor, you’d expect the 2018 Navigator to return remarkable fuel economy numbers.  While 16 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway don’t exactly register as stellar, when you consider the Navigator weighs close to 6,000 pounds, they’re a bit more impressive.

Of course, anyone seriously considering a Navigator probably isn’t raptly focused on gas mileage. They’re looking more at the bling factor and that’s where this edition of the Navigator truly shines. The interior treatment can only be described as fabulous. Thoroughly contemporary in execution, it surpasses the look of pretty much everything in the Lincoln’s class, except perhaps the big Range Rover’s. Comfort is excellent at every seating position and scaling “Navigator Heights” for entry is made easier with automated running boards.

Key features include a 12-inch driver-configurable instrument cluster, along with adaptive cruise control and park assist. Which, by the way, is good for both parallel and perpendicular parking.  The full range of comfort and infotainment offerings are made more accessible with audio and climate controls for second-row passengers. Sling capability allows broadcast TV to be viewed on the go. And, the Navigator’s 20-chanel audio system brings a home theater experience to it too.

Quiet over all but the most extreme road surfaces, Navigator isolates you in palatial comfort from the maelstrom of chaos on the road. Laminated windows (a very thoughtful touch) graciously subdue outside noise.Still, we do have a complaint in this area. The lower profile tires fitted to the 22-inch wheels tend to crash over bumps. We like the look of the 22s, but the Navigator would be even more comfortable if it traded some tire sidewall for wheel diameter. The 20s used on the base model look good too and enable the Lincoln to insulate its occupants from road noise even more.

Still, by all accounts, this edition of the Lincoln Navigator is a runaway success.

Pricing starts at $72,555.

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