The redesigned Navigator differentiates itself from its Ford Expedition sibling by piling on the luxury touches on this almost $90,000 behemoth. This hulking SUV can accommodate up to eight people, although it’s so large it’s probably overkill for most buyers -- unless they need to tow upwards of four tons. While the Navigator pampers occupants with power everything and a rich interior ambience, there are some deficiencies that detract from a great experience.
A 3.5-liter V6 turbo makes a healthy 411 horsepower on regular fuel, and it’s mated to a mostly smooth 10-speed automatic transmission. (Lincoln says the engine makes 450 hp when premium fuel is used.) That abundant power scooted our four-wheel-drive Navigator to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds. Its 16 mpg overall is on par with similar large SUVs, but that's nothing to write home about.
The continuously adjustable suspension handles bumps quite well, but the handling feels floaty and disconnected in turns. The SUV’s imposing width means drivers need to take extra care on narrow streets or bridges, lest a side mirror get lopped off.
Passengers climbing up into this rig are helped by powered running boards that help immensely in climbing up or descending from the Navigator’s seats, given how tall the vehicle sits. Those running boards greet occupants automatically upon approach (or exit), then retract back into the body.
The opulent cabin is full of leather, wood, and chrome. We found the modern-looking front seats uncomfortable. Many testers complained about the short bottom cushion, others said the seat created painful pressure points on long journeys. The optional Perfect Position 30-way seat option adds more adjustments and a massage feature. But at this price, we expect a perfect seat from the get-go. At least the second-row captain’s chairs are large and accommodating, with seat heating and individual USB ports. Even the third row is spacious enough for adults. It has convenient power-folding operation, controlled by buttons in the cargo bay.
Beginning any trip in the Navigator requires fiddling with the electronic gear selector, an unintuitive row of chrome buttons on the center dash. It requires the driver to make a long reach, carefully decipher the buttons, and they’ll need the dexterity of a pianist. This unconventional gear selector proved to be a real pain when parking. Most other controls are easy to use, including the vivid and responsive Sync 3 infotainment system.
One reason to buy the Navigator is its impressive, four-ton tow rating. The optional heavy-duty towing package includes a feature that simplifies backing up with a trailer, allowing the driver to direct the vehicle with a knob while the SUV uses the automated parking ability and rearview camera to take care of the actual steering.
Forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are not offered on the base trim, and they are optional on the Reserve and Select. It is odd for these important systems are not standard on a vehicle that starts at more than $72,000.