EAST LOS ANGELES, California — When the Lincoln Navigator made its debut as a 1998 model it became an instant hit. Celebrates and rap stars loved it, but more importantly—the public did too. The Cadillac Escalade arrived a year later and today SUVs rule the land.
As you can imagine, a giant luxury SUV was and still is a pain in the ass to park in the city, but you could easily haul a soccer team in them in style. Back then, a 1998 model sold for about $39,310 and $42,960 for a Navigator with four-wheel drive.
Today, Lincoln’s top of the line full-size luxury SUV starts at $94,900 for a 4×4 Black Label model and our fully loaded tester retails for $100,315—which seems high, but it easily rivals similar offerings by Mercedes-Benz and other luxury brands in amenities.
For example, the hefty price tag gets a premium maintenance service plan that includes pickup and delivery, complimentary car washes, and annual detailing for the first four years of ownership.
Under the hood, the 2018 Navigator packs a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine that packs 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. Ford’s EcoBoost engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Looks wise, the 15.5-foot-long luxury yacht is big and boxy like its cousin the Ford Expedition on the outside.
Up front its Continental-like grille is not perfect, bit it is definitely a noticeable improvement over the previous generation’s tired wings. The Chroma Molten Gold paint job looks impressive, but also adds $1,750 to the total.
Around back, the Navigator resembles a really wide minivan and features a light kit that stretches across its rear and wraps around its chunky sides.
If you include the weight of the driver, the Navigator easily tips the scales over 6,000 pounds. Still, it can tow up to 8,700 pounds and is the perfect vehicle for towing toys like a boat—especially with trailer backup assist.
Overall the drive is comfortably smooth but it rolls quite a bit on curvier roads—but what do you expect from a truck this big? The heads up display is a nice touch and makes it easier to keep you eyes on the road.
For long road trips, the new Navigator would be a joy to drive across the country if fuel economy was not an issue. Lincoln claims an EPA rating of 16 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, but we only averaged 14 mpg around town and even less in aggressive, mostly stop and go freeway traffic.
Still, if you can afford the price tag, fuel economy isn’t really an issue. Hopefully, the next generation will include some form of hybrid electrification to help improve those fuel numbers.
Our seven-seater rolls on Hankook rubber with good-looking rims in a sun burst style similar to the ones found on the new Continental.
Inside, the comfortable cabin is rich in extras that we now can’t live without. Our Black Label interior offers a creamy, Chalet theme with a Panoramic Vista Roof that stretches from the dash to the second row seats. It’s awesome and you’ll have to pry your passengers from the comforts of its soft Venetian leather seats.
There’s lots of leg room in the second row and the third row is a decent enough size, but lacks the wood trim and doesn’t get seat back monitors and controls like the ones found in the second row.
The Revel sound system with 20 speakers is top shelf with tweeters tastefully integrated into the doors and even two strategically placed subwoofers in the D-pillars. There are six USB ports, four 12-volt ports, and a 110-volt outlet for charging.
To make life and more importantly—shopping easier, the rear seats fold down flat and retract at the push of a button from the rear, which makes it a breeze to load in all of your loot.
Tech goodies include a lane-keeping system, adaptive cruise control, park assist, adaptive headlights, and a 360-degree camera for a bird’s eye view of your behemoth truck—which helps to navigate it in tight parking lots.
The 2018 Navigator has come a long way in the twenty years since its debut. Lincoln recently boosted its production by 25 percent at its Kentucky plant to keep up with the demand.
These days it certainly looks like Lincoln is finally making a strong comeback.
2018 Lincoln Navigator 4×4 Black Label Specifications
|PRICE||$94,900/$100,315 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||3.5L twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6/450 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 510 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 7-passenger, front-engine, 4WD SUV|
|EPA MILEAGE||16/21 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||210.0 x 79.9 x 76.3 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.0 sec (est)|