2018 Lincoln Navigator – A Professional Drivers Perspective

2018 Lincoln Navigator
2018 Lincoln Navigator – A Professional Drivers Perspective
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About the Author

R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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The easiest way to describe the 2018 Lincoln Navigator is to say “wow”. The interior of this 7 passenger is actually quite impressive with upgraded materials and styling that will make the competition take notice. In fact, one of the major competitors to the Navigator recently announced a $10,000 price drop – clearly reacting to the better Navigator.

So what’s really changed? To begin, the 2018 Navigator, like Ford’s Expedition, has moved to a lighter aluminum intensive body. The engine is Ford’s 3.5L twin turbo, similar to the Expedition, but redesigned to churn out an additional 75hp to a very impressive 450hp/510 lb-ft of torque, with 93-octane fuel, of course. The transmission is 10-speed with paddle activation. Axle is non-limited slip and 4×4 drive is standard.

Trim Levels

The 2018 Navigator comes in two trim levels, Select and Reserve. Both are also available with an extended body, the “L” option. Base price ranges from $87,650 (Select) to $90,650 (Reserve) with the extended body version “L” adding $3,000 to the base price.

There are only minor differences between these two trims with the Reserve trim getting the CD player, 6 more speakers as well as passenger seat memory, illuminated power running boards, 2nd row dual heated captain chairs with console, illuminated belt buckles and Lincoln star as standard equipment. Also, the Reserve can be upgraded with optional 30-way front seats with massage ($1,000) not available on the Select. After willing to spend $87,650 on a Select, I think most will opt to go right to the Reserve trim for the $3,000 extra.

Both trims come with a number of “package” add-on options including:

  1. Heavy-duty tow package ($2,000) – with traction and trailer back-up assist.
  2. Technology package ($3,000) – providing park assist, adaptive cruise control, auto high beams, heads-up display, lane keeping and pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection.
  3. Rear seat entertainment system ($2,350) – independent wireless streaming to either of the two 10-inch adjustable screens mounted on the rear of front seats.
  4. Cargo management system ($500) – roof rack with cross bars and storage partitions.

My 2018 Lincoln Navigator Reserve L included all of these options, as well as an upgraded exterior color ($700), floor liners ($150), and 22” painted wheels ($1,000) for a total price before HST of $106,300.

Style, Comfort and Practicality

If you are looking for a seven-passenger luxury SUV, the 2018 Lincoln Navigator is definitely one to consider. The exterior design has moved to a more modern flowing design with a smart looking chrome grill that includes the Lincoln emblem in the center. As you approach the vehicle, there are numerous “lights” that appear to welcome you, including that Lincoln emblem and puddle lights.

Driver and passenger are presented with 30-way seats that offer heating, cooling and massage functions. I’ve read some reviews that suggest difficulty to find just the right adjustment to make these truly comfortable.

Like many vehicle enhancements these days, it takes some effort to find and learn about the possible adjustments, and then actually spend the time to try them. I suggest looking at available U-Tube videos is one of the easiest ways to get familiar with what can be done.

2018 Lincoln Navigator

Interior of 2018 Lincoln Navigator; Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company

The driver is greeted with push button start and transmission select buttons on the dashboard. For the driver eager to shift gears, there are properly mounted paddle shifters as well. Driver and passenger have an abundance of well placed storage space.

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Second row rear passengers will enjoy plenty of leg and headroom to go along with the splendid multi function rear entertainment system, personal video screen and wireless headphones. A center console between the captain’s chairs, add practicality and comfort. Your siblings will enjoy these features on a long trip.

There is also reasonable and comfortable third row seating – albeit without the extended entertainment. Finally, the ample storage space available behind the third row seats can be increased to a gargantuan size by auto-folding the third row seats.

Handling characteristics

Despite the large size and weight, I found the Navigator easy to drive and maneuver. With 450hp, there was never a problem getting this SUV up to speed and/or passing others on the highway.

There are a number of drive settings to handle different surface conditions, including:

  1. Normal
  2. Conserve
  3. Excite
  4. Slippery
  5. Deep Conditions
  6. Slow Climb
  7. Deep Sand

In the Normal setting, I especially enjoyed the suspension. I found it softer and more comfortable than with its sibling, the Expedition. The Conserve (Eco) setting is a bit amusing (perhaps redundant) considering the weight, size and power of this vehicle. I did get an opportunity to try out the Excite setting – best experienced using the paddle shifters. I expect that the remaining settings function appropriately given that the technology is now well developed and proven.

This is a large vehicle with a high center of gravity. It is best to remember that taking tight curves at high speeds will induce a level of lean. It can become unsettling for occupants. Other than that, this vehicle is wonderfully stable and an enjoyable drive. If you plan top tow something up to roughly 3,800kg, like perhaps a boat, you can add the tow package with the useful back up assist feature.

Things to consider

Putting this luxurious 2018 Lincoln Navigator Reserve L in your driveway will definitely signal your presence in the neighborhood. This is one of the nicest large SUV’s on the market and one that deserves to be considered if you are looking for something in that category. It may be difficult to hide this SUV in your garage due to its size, so the remote starting capability will come in handy during winter months.

When buying something like the Navigator, fuel economy will likely not be at the top of the decision list. However, the move to a six-cylinder twin turbo will help as compared to the prior 8-cylinder engine. Nevertheless, expect around 14-18L/100km for most common everyday driving. It will run on regular fuel but 93-octane fuel is needed to get the best performance out of the engine.

2018 Lincoln Navigator

2018 Lincoln Navigator interior; Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company

For more automotive reviews and insights, follow me on Twitter @redy2rol.

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