Recently we borrowed a Lincoln Navigator for a multi-family trip to Golden, BC for a ski weekend at Kicking Horse. I was really excited about trying out the Navigator after having taken a Tahoe to Vancouver. Here are Brian's thoughts as he did the bulk of the driving. I have added my notes in green.
Driving and Ride:
The 3.5L Ecoboost engine provides gobs of power and is very quiet in the cabin. Accelerating onto the freeway was brisk and before I knew it I was at risk of a conversation with a law enforcement official.
The suspension ride select offers 3 settings (Sport, Normal, and Comfort) but felt the Navigator drove like a big boat in anything other than the sport setting.
The throttle response from a stop was non-linear and jumpy. I found that the Navigator was difficult to accelerate smoothly at a moderate rate. It would accelerate smoothly in a slow or fast rate but not a moderate rate.
I found the 6 speed transmission slow to downshift in manual mode when trying to regulate speed down steep roads.
I didn’t get a chance to really test the 4x4 system but in automatic mode it seemed it wasn’t as smooth and seamless as similar vehicles i.e. Chevy Tahoe.
I liked the exterior appearance for the most part and the 22” wheels definitely enhance it, although the appearance from the rear is a bit Robocop like and I don’t really care for the vehicle from this angle.
Retractable and wide side step rails are a nice feature helping you avoid muddying up your pants and getting into the vehicle easily. I love these steps and would probably see them as a must have given I typically step past the step rails on our current vehicle, resulting in lots of dirty marks on my legs.
The rear lift gate release button on the exterior of the vehicle is too small and difficult to find. I agree as well as the button for closing is easily hidden once you have packed your contents.
The hood release hatch is one of the best I’ve ever encountered. Easily accessible and sturdy feeling.
Needs a dead pedal (left foot rest on driver side). My left foot kept falling asleep during driving.
Acres of dash space but very limited storage capacity. Even the glove box seemed unusually small. Everything seemed big for the sake of being big but with little function and storage. For example there is lots of space for phone or sunglasses caddy within easy reach of passenger or driver but instead it is all unused empty space.
The storage slots on the driver and passenger doors are inaccessible with the doors closed. Why not widen them a bit for extra storage or a place for garbage or an extra drink?
Why are the memory seat buttons located where they cannot be reached with the drive door closed?
Excellent outward visibility (front and rear). The windows are amazing, you can really enjoy the drive and all the views beyond.
Very comfortable seats (better than the Chevy Tahoe).
The voice activated Sync system worked well. The more you use it the better it gets as it recognizes your voice and manner of speaking.
A rotary shift knob or steering column lever would free up a ton of space in the driver area for additional storage. The shift knob itself was cheap and plasticy feeling, another place where Lincoln could work on stepping up its luxury game.
Items in the drivers console were difficult to access due to the awkward placement of the USB and power jacks.
The steering wheel should be all leather. The faux wood plastic on the top of the steering wheel feels cheap and cold. Also, driving at 10 and 2 makes for uncomfortable double texture on the steering wheel.
Pedal height adjustment would be nice.
Plasticy feeling interior door release handles.
The rear console feels as if it is from the automotive dollar store. The plastic feels as though it would crack instantly in extreme cold weather and I could imagine someone’s heel going right through it while getting into the vehicle. Not up to a standard I’d expect of a Lincoln.
I was happy that Lincoln didn’t adopt the new turn signal stalk from the Explorer since I recall the lack of positive lock on the Explorer as one of my biggest dislikes of that vehicle.
Some Ford technology questionably absent from the $86k Lincoln such as: Adaptive Cruise Control, Park Assist, Forward Collision Monitoring, Heated steering wheel, Auto-door unlock by key fob, Foot sensor Lift gate opening, etc.
Cargo capacity in the rear seems it could be much larger than is actually provided. The interior paneling encroaches on space needlessly. Again lots of wasted opportunity for useful storage.
I’d be interested in comparing the Navigator with an Expedition which is its mechanical twin to determine if my initial assessment that the Lincoln brand value has been way overestimated. Are people really willing to pay $12,000+ for a Navigator over an Expedition? I’m not sure I see the value. I agree, it is a lot to pay for a name when you end up with a vehicle that is majorly lacking in luxury features.
Here is an idea for a luxury feature to set Lincoln apart…Install a built in dash cam with a two minute buffer to record near misses or actual incidents (like an automotive black box); for near misses, a button in the cabin to stop and save recordings could be used. (Not that I had any in particular during my testing but just an idea)
Although I may seem a bit nit picky of this vehicle, I feel as though the Lincoln brand and price warrant this level of criticism and I genuinely feel as though Lincoln have not delivered a product that justify the cost. I see nothing in this vehicle that sets itself apart from any of its competitors. So would I recommend this vehicle: I'm afraid not. I second that
Thank you to Ford for the opportunity to review this vehicle.I wish we had better things to say. It was a fun ride and a good size but fell short of expectations. As is likely obvious, all opinions are our own and do not reflect those of Ford of Canada.