The all-new third-generation Lincoln Navigator replaces its ten-year old predecessor and arrives with a thundering a 450-horsepower twin-turbo V6, a raft of technological improvements, and one of the finest cabins to ever grace an American vehicle.
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2018 Lincoln Navigator Overview
What's New for 2018
The 2018 Lincoln Navigator is a clean-sheet redesign.
Choosing Your Lincoln Navigator
There’s only one engine available in the Navigator, a 3.5-liter 450-hp, twin-turbo V6 packing 510 pound-feet of torque. Connected to a 10-speed transmission, the V6 returns an EPA-estimated 16 miles per gallon city, 23 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined (adding the optional all-wheel-drive system drops the highway figure by a point and the combined rating by two points). Rear-wheel drive is standard on Premiere and Select models, while a four-wheel-drive system is optional – the Navigator's two higher-end trims come with four-wheel-drive.
Based on the Ford Expedition, the 2018 Navigator boasts similarly impressive towing figures. It can hitch up and move up to 8,700 pounds with a short-wheelbase and two-wheel-drive, while the long-wheelbase and four-wheel-drive's maximum drops to 8,100 pounds. That second figure ties the long-wheelbase Escalade ESV, while the standard model is only capable of hauling 8,300 pounds.
To better compete with the biggest version of the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln offers the Navigator Select, Reserve, and Black Label trims with a long-wheelbase body that adds nearly a foot to the overall length and boosting the cargo volume from a minimum of 19.3 cubic feet to to 34.3 cubic feet. Maximum cargo volume moves from 103.3 cubes to 120.2.
The Reserve and Black Label are fantastic vehicles, but not so good that we can ignore the value of the mid-range Select trim. Grab the Technology Package and 30-way seats and enjoy the good life for just over $84,000.
2018 Lincoln Navigator Review
The 2018 Lincoln Navigator announces the brand's return to big SUV swagger with a powerful twin-turbo V6, an unabashedly extravagant interior, and spacious back rows with live TV streaming capability. But it's bigger, heavier, and, fully optioned, even a standard wheelbase model can top six figures.
Pricing for the 2018 Navigator begins at $73,250 for the two-wheel-drive Premiere trim, but can soar to over $104,000 for an optioned-up, extended L variant, all-wheel-drive Black Label model. Standard exterior features include 20-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights, fog lights, signature lighting, rear lights, and daytime running lights. The interior cossets with wood trim, ambient lighting, three-zone automatic climate control, heated first- and second-row seats, power-adjustable pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 12-inch LCD instrument cluster, and a hands-free, foot-activated liftgate. Rain-sensing wipers, push-button start and shift, power folding second and third rows, a 4G modem with Wi-Fi hotspot capability, remote start, and a power tilt/telescoping steering column are also standard.
Standard safety items include a rearview camera with washer, forward and reverse sensing systems, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. A $2,640 Technology Package on Select and Reserve models – standard on Black Label – adds a number of advanced safety features.
With a single engine and transmission and an extensive standard feature set, it comes down to how much further you want to stretch the premium envelope. We'd opt for the Select trim which adds the adaptive suspension, power running boards, 22-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, wireless device charging, second row captain chairs, and its access to advanced safety features.
Here’s how we’d build it:
- Model: 2018 Lincoln Navigator Select
- Engine: 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
- Output: 381 hp / 401 lb-ft
- Transmission: 10-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: Four-wheel drive
- MPG: 13 City / 17 Hwy
- Options: Four-wheel drive ($2,655), Technology Package ($2,640, head up display, active park assist, pre-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning with driver impairment monitor and lane keeping assist), Panoramic Vista Roof ($1,995).
- Base Price:$77,250 (including the $1,195 destination charge)
- Best Value Price:$84,540
The twin-turbo V6, with plenty of low-end torque, pairs nicely with the 10-speed automatic for decent off-the-line acceleration, while the adaptive electronic steering system does a nice job dealing with the Navigator's mass. The ride is equally smooth, courtesy of a fully-independent suspension (Select and above trims get an even silkier variable air suspension) and massive 22-inch wheels that manage to filter out the even the harshest of road surfaces.
At the same time, there's no getting around the Navigator's prodigious mass – a number that can clear three tons in top trim. As such, transmission downshifts are frequent, road imperfections are often smothered rather than absorbed, and the turning circle is a very urban-unfriendly 40 feet. Finally, despite a new powertrain and the use of aluminum body panels, fuel economy is down from last year.
In a tip of the hat to Navigators past, the all-new model features bold corners and side creases while taking a page from Land Rover's playbook with a slim, pillar-free greenhouse. It begins up front with a massive mesh grille sporting Lincoln's vertical-gunsight badge that's backlit by LEDs on upper trims. Along the sides, a chiseled character line tapers off toward the back, where it meets big taillights that stretch across the entire rear gate.
Ensconced inside the sheetmetal is a voluminous interior that features 19.3 cubic feet of storage behind the third row, 57.5 cubic feet with that row down, and 103.1 cubic feet with the second row folded. The interior thrives on sensory overload. High-definition displays dominate the wide horizontal dash, with a 12-inch configurable cluster in front of the driver and a 10-inch touchscreen above the center console.
Even base front seats are soft and supportive, with optional 30-way chairs available on upper trims. The middle row is equally comfortable, with power running boards making ingress and egress effortless, while the third row offers more room than the back seat of the MKZ. All this is surrounded by trim that ranges from the merely sumptuous to Bentley levels of opulence.
While there are few nits, a couple should be mentioned: storage behind the third row on standard models is on the tight side, while six-footers sitting back there may have to recline the seat back for enough headroom.
The Best and Worst Things
The Navigator's excellent V6, smooth ride, and luxurious interior are offset by its sheer mass and exceedingly expensive upper trim levels.
Right For? Wrong For?
With a smooth ride and a massive, spectacularly opulent interior, the Navigator should find a home with luxury-conscious buyers.
At the same time, the Navigator's mediocre fuel economy is sure to be a turn off for eco-conscious buyers.
The Bottom Line
Despite being bigger, heavier, and extravagantly expensive in upper trims, the back-in-the-game 2018 Lincoln Navigator marks a return to the brand's luxury SUV swagger, making it a top pick in its class.
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