In its drive to be noticed again, Lincoln’s designers have determined their new grandees should have what they call “a captivating stance.” Indeed, the freshly remade Navigator SUV creates quite the presentation in your driveway with its blockbuster face and stylin’ rims. The looks might dazzle, but what’s amazing is how they made a vehicle of such Alpine size handle so damned well. The Navigator takes a big leap forward in the Big Luxury niche.
As you approach the Navigator with key fob in your pocket, it senses your arrival and lights twinkle hello. A running board emerges to help you step inside, where ambient lighting (of your hue choice) soothes your brow. The interior surfaces are elegant. The dash has real buttons for many critical functions, which makes it easier—not to mention far safer—than the touch-screen controls once in fashion. The nav unit is a snap.
When you move away from the curb, the Navigator just feels, well, nimble. It steers with a creamy ease. The insanely tight turning radius makes braving a crowded parking lot a mere trifle, and the ten-speed transmission is always in the right gear and ready to leap. Don’t ask me how they got a three-ton, 450-hp vehicle to average 20 mpg.
In inclement weather, the Navigator’s various AWD driving modes (such as “slippery”) can be accessed with a quick turn of a dial. Hard braking feels as easy as laying your head on a feather pillow.
On a long drive, you feel as though your salon chair is calmly sailing through space. It’s tall enough that you feel you can peer over the dark side of the moon, but there is none of the top-heaviness that used to bother these big fellows. The second row can be ordered as a bench for three or with two captain’s chairs, a console and video screens. The second- and third-row seats can be flattened with a touch of a button.
In a crowded field of contenders, the new Navigator really steps out. Our tester was the maxed-out Black Label edition, but other versions start in the low $70,000s.
LINCOLN NAVIGATOR BLACK LABEL
Price as Tested: $96,570
Drivetrain: 450-hp 3.5-liter V6 twin turbo
EPA Mileage Ratings: 16 city/24 highway