2017 NYIAS: Lincoln's 2018 Navigator Tries Harder to Be Itself

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
2017 nyias lincoln s 2018 navigator tries harder to be itself

There has always been something distinctively inelegant about Lincoln’s Navigator. It never felt nearly as special as the Cadillac Escalade and it was difficult to see its owners as people worthy of emulating. Lincoln made some positive headway in its third generation, but Navigator ownership still felt like you received a bum deal on an well-equipped Ford Expedition. It was working-class utility embellished with the lies of premium luxury and sold for more than it was worth.

While the 2018 Navigator still shares its platform with the Expedition, it has done away with that sense of unsavory sameness. They’re both hulking SUVs and fit for similar duties, but the Lincoln now feels prestigious. You can soon say that you drive one while raising your eyebrows in a suggestively triumphant manner. People might even envy you. The 2018 Navigator finally matches the Escalade in both kitschy flair and genuine class. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better than the Expedition, but it does — for the first time in history — provide a real reason to covet one over the other.

As this is the first time anyone has seen it in person, we haven’t driven it yet. However, unless it handles like a broken shopping cart, all of the above praise still stands.

Lincoln seems to be experiencing a return to form as of late and is becoming, dare I say, stylish again. The bodywork is just rounded enough to give the illusion of being sleek and boxy enough to further enhance its imposing stature. The Navigator has serious presence and uses a 450 horsepower/500 lb-ft twin-turbo V6 to move all that curb appeal around. Odds are good that it will be the same 3.5-liter that’s in Ford Raptor. Lincoln also borrowed a page from the F-Series’ book by implementing an aluminum-alloy body that shaves 200 pounds from the Navigator.

According to the manufacturer, those weight savings been reinvested into sound deadening and plusher amenities. While we cannot vouch for how incredible the sound system is or how effectively the laminated glass eliminates noise until we’ve driven one, oh boy, are those some nice seats. Even if they weren’t thirty-way adjustable with heating and cooling functionality, they would still be the single best looking seats to be installed on a late-model production car.

The interior is littered with USB, SD, and HDMI ports and the standard in-car wi-fi can support up to ten devices simultaneously. An available rear-seat entertainment system allows passengers to stream content wirelessly via a smart device to one of the 10-inch adjustable screens mounted on the rear of the front seats. No matter where you’re sitting in Lincoln’s flagship SUV, the odds are good that it will be much nicer than where you sitting beforehand.

If you’re worried it might be too much vehicle for you to handle, don’t be. The Navigator now has adaptive cruise control, Ford Motor Co.’s next generation of parking assist, and 360 degrees worth of cameras — if you want to try to park the giant yourself.

Again, we don’t yet know how well it drives, but — assuming Lincoln hasn’t managed to severely muck up the suspension — the Navigator will still look good parked in the driveway and make a fine substitute for your La-Z-Boy recliner.

[Images: Matt Posky/The Truth About Cars; Ford Motor Company]

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  • Jerome10 Jerome10 on Apr 16, 2017

    I'm shocked by the love for this thing. I am a fan of big and blocky and "American" design in cars but this thing is way over the top. Way too overdone. Wheels are hideous. Awful. You can be flashy and classy and this misses both. I prefer the Escalade far more. Though that color and those wheels on the Navigator aren't helping. Interior looks very good.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Apr 17, 2017

    Is this designed for the Chinese market? The new Nissan Patrol is fugly, but when questioned on the aesthetics, Nissan confessed it was targeting the Arabian consumer. What's Ford excuse for this Lincoln? What an ugly vehicle. I think the Europeans and Japanese (external to the Japanese, US creations like that fugly Scoobie Do above) are designing not only superior looking SUVs, but also superior performing SUVs. I saw a new Land Rover Discovery yesterday. A very good looking SUV. AND it will have this Lincoln for dinner off road and it's cheaper. Just because a vehicle is big doesn't translate into better. Week before last I had an XLT Expedition in Hawaii dor a few days. A cattle truck of a vehicle, complete with turbo lag. I hope the Lincoln's interior quality of materials and fit is better than the Expedition's worse than a Chinese finish. An embarassment to Ford. As an aside. I had a choice between a Hemi Ram and a Ford aluminium wonder truck. I took the Ram. It's interior was also better than the Ford. Plus I drove the aluminium Ford at work. It seems Ford is trying to produce crappier interiors than Chev. If the exterior is a gauge to go by, expect it to be laden with massive bling in an attempt to pass it off as a luxury vehicle to the unassuming.

  • Tassos BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".
  • Tassos I have a first cousin with same first and last name as my own, 17 years my junior even tho he is the son of my father's older brother, who has a summer home in the same country I do, and has bought a local A3 5-door hatch kinds thing, quite old by now.Last year he told me the thing broke down and he had to do major major repairs, replace the whole engine and other stuff, and had to rent a car for two weeks in a touristy location, and amazingly he paid more for the rental ( Euro1,500, or $1,650-$1,700) than for all the repairs, which of course were not done at the dealer (I doubt there was a dealer there anyway)
  • Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing by leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
  • Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.
  • Inside Looking Out I did not notice, did they mention climate change? How they are going to fight climate change, racism and gender discrimination. I mean collective Big 3.