Review: 2010 Lincoln Navigator L

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
review 2010 lincoln navigator l

As a recent family reunion proved, there are times when nothing less than a Lincoln Navigator L will do. In theory: I relied on inferior modes of transportation during my time of need, and the little voice in my head never stopped reminding me of that fact. What wouldn’t I do for a fully independent suspension with air ride, three rows of seating and a suitcase- swallowing 42.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row? Yes, this vehicle is everything that’s wrong with America. It’s the rolling embodiment of Wall Street greed and “easy credit” arrogance. But the guys getting bailout dollars and megabuck bonuses can afford a fleet of Navigators: I just want one, dammit!

If it’s painted black. The Navigator wears a face so contrived that even P-Diddy couldn’t sample it for a remix. While the hood’s extra chrome is an option, there’s no escaping the door-mounted spizzarkle and Anime smile at the rear. Even without the twin plankton filters found on other Lincolns, the Navigator’s Mojo-Jojo is a hulking, sour-faced beast ready to battle the Power Puff Girls.

Yet, as Lincoln’s own website admits, the interior has “as much presence as its imposing exterior.” But shock and awe makes way for surprise and delight: the number of servo-assisted gadgets and electronic distractions boggle the mind. Yet somehow it transcends into a high-dollar urban lounge of gathered leather with contrast piping, decent polymers, ebony-toned oak and the obligatory faux aluminum paint.

Combined with the overwrought door handles (a constant reminder of why people vilify this vehicle) the retro Ford Econoline gauges and the shameful lack of wood trim on the rear doors, this is still the place to be. Well done, Mr. Jeff Sanders.

The F-150 Platinum has nicer touches than the outdated ’Gator, but there isn’t a bad seat in the house: even the power-fold third row has bountiful padding, never feeling like a penalty box. If the cooled seats don’t take the edge off a summer’s Heatwave, plug your iPod into the THX-infused SYNC audio system and those Boogie Nights will get Too Hot to Handle. This has been the Navigator’s promise since the beginning, Always and Forever.

And it stays that way, even when it moves. The Navigator is a rolling library, a blank canvas for your funky music, a child’s DVD, or an enlightened conversation on what non-SUVs the government shall build with the remains of General Motors. Or perhaps discussing what idiotic alphanumeric name Lincoln should apply to the Navigator to screw up their last bastion of American luxury?

Still, everyone stays happy. But more importantly, the driver never falls asleep. The latest Navigator sports firmer steering and better controlled body motions than its predecessor. If taking a sweeper in a Boxster is like Dancing with the Stars, the Navigator L is akin to a warm hug from Santa Claus: it still feels good.

While improved dynamics compromise the ever-important highway waft, emergency maneuvers don’t require a diaper for adult-sized accidents. The optional 20″ wheels may help turn-in, but their banging on pavement joints say the 18″ hoops are better for this rig’s modus operandi.

Which is like living amongst Lotus Eaters: always suspended in a state of bliss. Relative to the Escalade’s small block beast, the Lincoln’s 5.4L V8 fails to impress. But with 310 horsepower and a reassuring 365lb·ft of torque mated to a buttery smooth 6-speed autobox, this SUV never runs out of breath. While great for stoplight launches, the short first gear translates into effortless SeaRay retrievals from any boat ramp. And towing? Yeah, it’s got that too.

Load up the Navigator and let the air suspension equalize the load. Prodigious disc brakes keep an overloaded Navigator in check, but fuel economy in the double digits is not a foregone conclusion. At the other extreme, I hyper-miled my way to 22 mpg with the cruise control on, the A/C off, and the cooled seat in super-chill mode.

So Lincoln’s premier SUV is still exactly “what a luxury car should be.” And given the tumultuous times, that might be enough: a post Chapter 11 GM won’t have the stones to make a Cadillac Escalade in this political climate. Maybe the full size SUV is a low volume niche that will be filled by the last man standing?

Surprise! If Ford’s (silent) commitment to the unbelievably profitable Panther chassis is any indication, will the Navigator own this niche like the Town Car after the Cadillac Fleetwood bit the dust in 1996?

If so, I’m down. The Lincoln Navigator L is an eminently comfortable, capable and unbelievably luxurious machine. Both Lincoln and Cadillac survived The Great Depression, so maybe our current recession is no match for one of America’s best examples of automotive escapism.

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4 of 66 comments
  • Cckorn Cckorn on Apr 12, 2011

    wow nasty comments by those who probably drive the smart car-why bother with your comments, this is for people interested in the navigator or something similiar-i wouldnt drive a tiny crap can if you gave it to me-i want my family in a BIG SAFE CAR...PERIOD...incidently mike, the buick enclave is not a full size suv its considered a cross over, do your homework..while i am not totally in love with the styling of the newer navs, i think the interior beats the escalade hands down...the third row seat folds down unlike many of the suvs...i think the older versions of the nav would look very outdated now...

    • Accs Accs on Apr 13, 2011

      cckorn: It takes a lot of ignorance and isolation to not figure out that ya overpaying for a F-150 shortbed with a cap. For uses that you wont figure out how to operate ANYWAY. Its called BLOWING MONEY. Hate to bust ya little ignorance / safety / peace-of-mind little bubble.. B.O.F SUVS are more prone to rolling over.. than pretty much any other vehicle. Top heavy + narrow design makes it prone to rolling over. A child could figure that out. Ford engineer's figured that out when the Ranger had issues rolling over 25-30yrs ago. But your "safety needs" brought upon the concept of the Exploder and the inability to operate it properly. Its media frenzy put into peoples minds the concept of the BASIC engineering FLAW that a SUV has, narrow + top heavy = bad. The govt answer.. wasnt to fix the design, it was to put a electronic bandaid on it. Put the concept that it doesn't even have suitable tire equipment to do a 4x4 job = no point in having awd if it doesn't have SNOWS / mud tires! On top of any SUV especially Ford F-150 shortbed with a cap = Navigator / Expedition isn't designed to keep you safe. The roof strength was supposed to hold 2.5 times the weight... Ford lobbed (make it CHEAPER) for a LOWERED govt mandate got it lowered to 1.5= (meaning it can hold 1.5 times the weight of the vehicle on its roof). Ya gonna be wishing for that when the roof caves in. Just cause ya bigger.. DOESN'T mean ya ANY safer. Any BASIC driving school accident avoidance maneuver.. will put it RIGHT over. Take the vehicle through a onramp at 50mph.. and dare yaself not to hit the brakes. On top of.. the govt doesn't test like minded sizes, ex: Tahoe V Tahoe, Slade, Pilot, Veracruz, TB, F-150 shortbed with a cap = Expedition. On top of: You aren't any safer and your driver doesn't have the comprehension of being able to operate a larger heavier more UNSTABLE vehicle. Which puts the driver and the passengers ntm the vehicle itself at a loss. On top of.. You dont gain ANY security or safety by being in one. Just the ignorance that thinks.. SIZE matters. While not being in a B class car = SMART Fortwo, I actually HAVE the ability to ACTUALLY AVOID AN ACCIDENT than be the punching bag like anyone in a FULLSIZE SUV. Its too heavy = obese = slow to actually get out of its own way. NOW.. As far as the Lambdas = Enclave go, they are as fullsize in a unit body as the Tahoe is. They are marketed as such. And the highest trades are from GMT900/800 buyers = Tahoe / Burban. The curb gvwr is nearly identical and the market for these bastards is the same as those in a GMT900/800 = Tahoe / Burban for Caddy. Plus.. It would be real nice if ya knew how to make sentences and or form a complete thought. SO why again is a F-150 shortbed with a cap safe again?

  • Cckorn Cckorn on Apr 13, 2011

    thank you so much acc, you truly enlightened me and my ignorant ways, you have a lovely day!

    • Accs Accs on Apr 13, 2011

      cckorn: Now just learn how to type a sentence and ya might even pass grade school.

  • FifaCup Loving both Interior and exterior designs.
  • FifaCup This is not good for the auto industry
  • Jeff S This would be a good commuter vehicle especially for those working in a large metropolitan area. The only thing is that by the time you put airbags, backup cameras, and a few of the other required safety features this car would no longer be simple and the price would be not much cheaper than a subcompact. I like the idea but I doubt a car like this would get marketed in anyplace besides Europe and the 3rd World.
  • ScarecrowRepair That's what I came to say!
  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.