There are people carriers, and then there’s the Lincoln Navigator. The large SUV has three-row seating with space for as many as 8 full-size adults, and they get to sit in comfort surrounded with some convenient features to make the drive better. The massive SUV rolls on adaptive suspension that can flatten out many a bumpy road, and it’s retained the powerful twin-turbocharged V6 powerplant too which means that added to the people load, it’s capable of towing up to 8,700 lbs. It’s the Navigator you’ve been waiting for, and it can be had in a longer L body or a more luxurious Black Label trim.
Space is the name of the game in the Lincoln Navigator, there’s an abundance of it all round. There are three seating rows that will accommodate 8 adults with ease, and they get to be very comfortable thanks plush leather. Up front there’s optional 30-way adjustable seats for the perfect driving and viewing position, in the second row you can have either a pair of captain’s chairs or a bench seat for 3, and behind that a 3rd power reclining row. The dash and multifunction steering have a good layout and the large centrally mounted infotainment screen can be seen by all passengers, although just in case there’s 10-inch screens on the front seatbacks for further entertainment. There are many small storage compartments throughout the cabin, and while the trunk space is good, if you leave passengers at home and reconfigure the seating you’ll free up over 100 cu-ft. of cargo space.
The Lincoln Navigator is all about getting you and yours to your chosen destination in comfort and safety and not speed and handling. That said, with that powerful twin-turbocharged V6 up front, the large SUV is rather sprightly – even with the high kerb weight of more than 6,000 lbs. Traction is helped with an electronic limited slip differential, not that the normal rear-wheel drive configuration loses traction often. All-wheel drive is an option but you’d not be able to guess which is in play as they feel the same. The steering is good, there’s not real feedback though, but you shouldn’t expect any in this kind of SUV, and the suspension is form enough so that the chassis never feels wallowy but compliant enough that you won’t wake sleeping passengers on a bumpy road. The 10-speed automatic transmission is a smooth runner too, changes are quick and soft to keep with the rest of the SUV’s driving manners, but you can have a little more control by shifting on steering-mounted paddles – if that’s your thing.
To get such a large SUV going, you need a powerful engine up front, and that’s exactly what the Lincoln Navigator has. While fans of large American SUVs want a V8, the power from this Lincoln’s twin-turbocharged V6 is on par, if not better. This new 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 450 hp with a high 510 lb-ft of torque which is not only enough to cart the whole little league team around, it also affords the Navigator a best-in-class towing capability of 8,700lbs. The 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission is great too, it selects the right gear when needed and doesn’t ever feel like it’s hunting around. It’s so good the paddle shifters will likely remain as ornaments.
There’s a lot bundled into the Lincoln Navigator, as you’d expect. For the driver there’s a configurable 12-inch digital instrument cluster, bigger than the 10-inch screen for the infotainment system that uses Ford’s Sync3 software (with Lincoln logos of course). Safety features include ABD, front and side airbags, emergency brake assist, blind spot information with cross traffic alert and a post crash alert system. Equipment is plentiful with things like a 360-degree camera, a rear-view camera, adaptive cruise control, a heads up display, enhanced park assist, hill descent control, a lane departure warning system and a 14-speaker Revel audio system – among others.
The Lincoln Navigator is one of the best 8-seater SUVs out there, especially when it comes to the amount of standard and optional features. It’s larger, it’s powerful and it’s packed with both comfort and convenience to make trip of any kind a pleasure. Losing out on a V8 powerplant isn’t a concern at all thanks to a brilliant twin-turbocharged V6 coupled to a really good 10-speed auto transmission. The various trim levels on offer will see a Navigator to suit most tastes and many budgets too, but it can get expensive if you get happy with the option list.