The Lincoln Navigator was wildly popular when the nameplate first hit the streets back in 1997. Then the product got a little long in the tooth, with no major upgrades in the past 10 years. But when the new version debuted at the New York Auto Show, the crowd reaction was spectacular. We could only hope that the SUV we saw at the show was going to be brought to the street in a similar form. And it has.
The first thing you notice are the gorgeous wheels that resemble the classiest looking table saw blade ever created. They are two-tone with a tasteful silver-and-black finish. Then you open the door and motorized running boards welcome you into the lush interior, set off by the Black Label door sill. By the way, if your vehicle does not have motorized boards, they can be added in the aftermarket by reliable companies such as AMP Research and your local mobile electronics retailer. The Black Label seats are adjustable in ways no other manufacturer has ever come up with, including the ability to move each leg bolster independently of the other. When you hop up, you know you are getting into something special. David Woodhouse, Lincoln’s design director, notes, “When designing the Navigator, we put an emphasis on ultra-luxury touch points. We took everything the client would see and touch, and made sure it would look and feel a little more exuberant, a little more indulgent and incredibly beautiful.”
The engine and transmission are perfect together. Although some may say that a full-size SUV requires a full-size V8 engine, the Ford twin-turbo EcoBoost 6 cylinder is more than up to the task, especially when coupled to the 10-speed automatic transmission that was developed with conjunction with GM. In the Navigator, the V6 is tuned to 450 horsepower. Fuel economy during my tenure was a surprising 18 MPG.
Another surprise is for third-row passengers: It ain’t bad at all to sit back in steerage class! Even the third row is commodious with a low floor, so your knees are not in your chest. Additionally, the angle of the third-row seats is power-adjustable so you can get comfy easily. Six USB ports are strewn about the cabin, including outlets in the third row. An available rear-seat entertainment system allows passengers to stream content wirelessly with an Android device to one of the adjustable 10-inch screens mounted on the rear of the front seats. Adults can even link up the system to Ford’s SYNC AppLink, which permits the front-seat passenger to monitor and select viewing content. Sometimes for appropriateness, sometimes for sanity…. Each screen can display different content. To take it a step further, Lincoln has an agreement with Sling Media so Slingbox content can be accessed on the go.
All this multimedia comes through a Revel Ultima audio system with 20 speakers. For those splurging for the Revel system, there is little work to be done. However, audiophiles may wish to add a touch more bass with a subwoofer behind the third row. A good aftermarket audio retailer will be able to integrate it without taking up precious cargo space.
Are there any drawbacks to the super-comfy behemoth that seems to be able to do it all? Well, only the base price coming in at $95,000, making it the most expensive base price for a Ford Motor Co. product, except for the Ford GT supercar. Other than that, the Lincoln exudes class and comfort. The Black Label Lincoln Navigator makes an interesting case for those with a Ford Expedition. With an Expedition base price of $52,000, the Black Label Navigator is nearly double. If there are features from the Navigator you absolutely love, your local mobile enhancement specialist can integrate them from the aftermarket. I found those motorized running boards to be a necessity. Moreover, infotainment upgrades can easily be achieved. If you have the money from the get-go, go for it! However, look to the Black Label as a menu for features for your more pedestrian Expedition or other-brand SUV. Lincoln got it right so no foul in creating an homage if you don’t have the funds at the time of purchase!