Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label: Setting A New Standard For Luxury SUVs

Highlights: The Lincoln Navigator includes a rearview camera, with a washer system, to keep it clean. The exterior designer, Earl Lucas, was also responsible for reviving the 2010 Ford Taurus.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $98,320 (Base Model: $73,250)

Seating Capacity: 7

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; an automatic brake hold feature; a perimeter alarm system; a rearview camera with a washer; a Blindspot system with cross traffic alert and trailer tow monitoring; a forward sensing system; rain sensing front wipers; a variety of drive modes (slippery, deep conditions, slow climb); a tire pressure monitoring system; and an automatic dimming rearview mirror

Standard Equipment (Base Model): 20-inch wheels; a 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters; a push button ignition starter system; a remote keyless entry system; active grille shutters; fixed, non illuminated running boards; hands-free foot activated liftgate; illuminated door handles; a trailer tow prep package; an automatic dimming rearview mirror; a concierge dealership drop off and pick up service; power adjustable brake and accelerator pedals; leather seats; four heated captain/bucket chairs in the first two rows; power folding split bench seat; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a tri- zone automatic temperature control system; a remote keyless entry system;  SYNC 3 system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; an in-vehicle hotspot system; a navigation system; a trailer tow package; a remote start system; a personalization driver system which programs the audio, climate, seat mirror and pedal)

The Chief Exterior Designer, Earl Lucas, is demonstrating the infotainment system.

Standard Equipment (Black Label): 22-inch wheels; a forward sensing system; an electric parking brake; high gloss black nameplate badge; an approaching lighting detection system; illuminated door handles; a welcome mat with a logo; an oversized sunroof with a power sunshade; an illuminated running board; a windshield wiper de-icer; winged armrests for the first and second row seats; a piano key like push button gear shifter; heated and cooled front seats; 24-power operated front seats; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel with memory; a heated steering wheel; a roll stability control system; a keyless entry pad system; a hill decent control system (4x4); a 20-speaker audio system with a single CD player; electric power assist steering; a 360-degree camera;  a heavy duty trailer tow package; a wireless charging pad; pre-collision assist pedestrian collision system; an automated parking system; a lane departure warning system; a full range radar-activated cruise control system; a pick-up and delivery service with a loaner vehicle; and a lifetime of car washes

Options: 30-way positioning seats with active motion, power thigh extender and head restraints; dual heated second row captain chairs; cargo package; and Crystal blue paint

Other Trim Level:

Lincoln Navigator
Lincoln Navigator L (long wheel base)
Lincoln Navigator L Black Label (long wheel base)

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 14-speaker audio system AM/FM/HD with satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder/450-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:

What’s New:  For the 2018 model year, the Lincoln Navigator wears an all-new design both inside and out. The current body style has been around since 2007.

Why: The freshly crafted 2018 Navigator, with its Bentley-like grille and  jewel-like LED headlights, is available in both a rear wheel drive and a four wheel drive configuration. The contemporary-style, fullsize, luxury SUV is available in either a short wheel or long wheel base model.  Ironically, the short wheel base model is longer than the base model Cadillac Escalade, which is the segment leader.

The all-new Navigator, which is powered by Ford’s fuel-efficient, 3.5-liter, six-cylinder engine spews out 450-horsepower. Even more important, Lincoln’s powertrain was able to do this with a smaller engine that produces more horsepower and better fuel economy than all of the competitors in the class. We must note all of the competitors are powered by eight-cylinder engines.

As it relates to fuel-efficiency, Lincoln placed a few obvious measures in place. For one, they added a start/stop system, which turns the vehicle off when it is stopping in traffic or at a traffic light. Unlike most vehicles, this system can be activated or deactivated by the driver. Also the new Lincoln is dressed out with grille shutters. All of these elements coupled with the 10-speed transmission aid the twin-turbo to inch out as much mpg as possible.  

The new Navigator continues to offer one of the best suspension systems in the industry. It’s not too harsh and it’s not floaty. Like with Ford’s best-selling F-series trucks, which the SUV is based off, it is tuned just right. Many of Lincoln competitors can take a page or two from the Navigator in terms of the ride quality.

Not only does this well-balanced road warrior offer great road manners, Lincoln has managed to enhance this experience by offering a variety of driving modes to adjust toward any road condition. With just a flicker of the rotary dials, this seven passenger SUV can conquer most road conditions. From slippery roads to deep mud conditions to sand, this do-it-all vehicle is playing in the same territory as Range Rover. Unlike the Range Rover, the Navigator can do almost everything except climb rocks or drive through water streams. Oh yes, the big body luxury SUV, with its precise steering, also offers a performance-oriented setting for those seeking a more engaging driving experience, especially when facing corners and curves.

Moreover, once inside the vehicle, all of the occupants will notice that literally everything is supersized and the theme center-around elegance. Like a private airpalne, the jet-inspired instrument panel, the first row massaging bucket seats, the second row center fixed storage area and the cabin lighting makes one feel as though they’ve come aboard a world-class luxury aircraft, as opposed to a SUV. Lincoln pulled out all of the stops to best all of the competitors.

Furthermore, Lincoln went a different direction with its infotainment screen and Ford’s sync system. The supersized infotainment screen can be operated with redundant buttons and knobs. There is no need for the users to merely rely on the touchscreen to adjust such items as the interior temperature, the ventilated seats or the audio system. Lincoln has even managed to push the vehicle to the next level with its smartphone-like infotainment screen. The screen can swipe right or left, just to showcase all of the available Apps.

Added to that, the short wheel base Navigator is designed to comfortably carry seven occupants. The third row can accommodate large adults for a cross country trip. Lincoln did not cut corners in terms of headroom, legroom and most of all seat comfort. The rear seats actually reclines slightly too, offering additional comfort to the occupants. There are also outlets in the rear for occupants to stay charged and wired. Room is also available to store some cargo, when the third row is in use.

Lastly, for those yearning to be spoiled and/or seeking more personalized service, they can step up to the Black Label edition. This concierge service includes such features as complimentary car washes for a lifetime and a pick up and delivery service for those who don't have time to take the vehicle in for service. With the pick up and drop off service, a loaner car is included. 

But: Lincoln has managed to throw in everything but the kitchen sink, while keeping the price tag under the $100,000 mark on the regular wheel base. While the Lincoln was outfitted with 20 speakers, the audio quality should have been more aligned with what we would expect from a high-quality studio sound concert. Ironically, we were testing Lexus’ flagship LC500 coupe, which was outfitted with a premium class audio system. So, like the Lexus, we expect the same in terms of audio quality with this premium class SUV.

And with the fixed second-row center console and sliding buckets, it requires an additional effort for occupants to enter the third row.

Verdict: The reimagined Lincoln Navigator bests the competition in terms of every area: ride quality, drivability, space, comfort, easy use of technology, power and fuel efficiency. After being an after-thought for many luxury SUV buyers for well over a decade, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator has zoomed to the top of the segment. The fresh, contemporary design and optional 21-inch wheels are going to force all of its competitors back to the drawing board. The Lincoln is back and its leading the pack!

Competition: Cadillac Escalade; GMC Yukon Denali; Infiniti QX80; Land Rover Range Rover and Lexus LX 570


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