The 2007 Lincoln Navigator Road Test Review
I haven't seen this much chrome slathered onto a vehicle since the late fifties, when each auto manufacturer seemed to be in a competition to see who could build the most ostentatious car (it was a tossup between the '58 Olds and Buick).
Whether Lincoln's attempt is tastefully executed or not will be left up the reader's judgment, but the Lincoln executives that I spoke to told me that they had numerous focus groups of people who gave the design their thumb's up, and judging by the initial sales surge, they got it right..
The chrome cap on the front of the hood just above the main grill is an option for folks who want to embellish the look even further. You can see the way it looks without the chrome cap by clicking on the photo gallery of the standard length Navigator. The vehicle we photographed for that gallery did not have the extra chrome.
Lincoln tells me that there will be a monochrome option in the near future for people who want to tone the glitter down even further. The Monochrome package will have the lower grill section section, mirror caps and the wide chrome panel along the sides painted in body color. With this package, the eggcreate grill between the headlamps will still be bright, but that's about it. The HID projector headlamps are nicely blended into the lines of the grill to present a jewelry-like face to the Navigator.
Bringing up the rear, the tail lamps take their styling cue from the Lincoln MKZ (Formerly Zephyr) with a horizontal layout so that the tail lamps neatly stretch into the liftgate.
Inside the new Navigator, the interior is beautifully done with tasteful wood panels and acres of leather. The optional heated and cooled seats have perforated leather in the center with piping around the edge in a contrasting color.
The instrument cluster looks a bit dated with two square dials that house the speedo and tach and a string of 4 gauges just above. The cluster is not illuminated in the daytime, which gives it a less than elegant appearance compared to the backlit units with glowing pointers found on other high end vehicles in this price class.
The seats were very comfortable in all three rows and all are suitable for full grown adults. The driver and front passenger thrones were large and lavish with 10 way power and two person memory for the driver. The pedals are also power adjustable. Seat and pedal adjustments are designed to accommodate people from 4 foot 10 up to 6 foot 5 and from 90 pounds to 300 pounds in comfort.
The running boards can be equipped to automatically retract into the rocker panel below the doors. In fact, they become the rocker panels. What you are seeing below the door line is actually the edge of the running boards. As soon as you open either side door, the running board silently deploys to assist you in gracefully entering the vehicle. When you close both doors, the running board automatically stows itself back to its hiding place. This optional feature was very nicely executed.
The 2007 Lincoln Navigator now comes in two sizes. The standard length Navigator is about the same as previous years. The super-sized Navigator, called the Navigator L, is a full 15 inches longer with all the extra room going behind the third row seat for an additional 25 cubic feet of cargo space.
Unlike the Cadillac Escalade, which is the Navigator's main competition, the third row seats in the Lincoln can be retracted into the floor. The Cadillac seats would have to be removed to get this much room. The L version will be in dealer showrooms in early 2007. The normal length Navigator is in showrooms now.
As with other Ford SUVs, the third row seats can be equipped to retract into the floor electrically with a pair of buttons on the side of the cargo area. The second row seats will also fold flat to form a large cargo area obstructed only by the second row console if the 7 passenger configuration is ordered. If you opt for the three across second row seat, you will have a fully flat cargo area or room for eight adults.
The Navigator is in its element out on the open road. While it is not as powerful as the 400 horsepower Escalade, It had more than enough power to make driving feel effortless and smooth. One thing that impressed me about the Navigator was how quiet it was, especially on the highway. This Lincoln is as quiet as any luxury car out there. In contrast, the Cadillac Escalade has a sporty exhaust note that sounds rich, but it is nowhere near as silent as the big Lincoln.
Towing is also first rate with up to 8,950 pounds of towing capacity when properly equipped with the heavy duty trailer towing package (Class III/IV). This towing package includes rear load leveling air suspension, four-pin and seven-pin wire connector, heavy-duty flasher and a heavy-duty hitch with a two inch receiver integrated with the rear bumper. Also included in this package is a heavy-duty radiator and transmission cooler. When the hitch is not being used, there is a cover that blends into the rear bumper and hides the receiver from view.
With the standard 300 horsepower, 5.4 liter Triton V8engine and 6 speed automatic that was borrowed from the Ford F150 truck line, acceleration felt much more effortless than the previous Navigator. The shift points in the 6R transmission are well placed and, at light throttle, almost undetectable. Acceleration felt strong and willing right up to highway speeds, but full throttle acceleration showed an engine that was working very hard to get this three ton vehicle to boogie. We expect that there will be larger engines and, possibly, a diesel in the next couple of years.
Handling was respectable for such a large vehicle with good directional stability and responsive steering and brakes. In the past, the Navigator felt like a beached whale which wallowed on any kind of curved road, but the new suspension layout and shock tuning gives this new Navigator a more "planted" feel without sacrificing the comfortable ride that the Navigator is known for.
|Standard safety features on the Lincoln Navigator include: |
Dual-stage front air bags
Seat-mounted front side air bags
Three-row Safety Canopy head air bags
A rollover detection system
AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control)
The AdvanceTrac system uses a gyroscopic roll rate sensor to measure the Navigators yaw and roll angles. If a sensor detects that the vehicle is about to roll over, the system responds by applying brakes to one or more wheels or reducing engine power in order to help the driver maintain control. If the roll goes past the point of no return, the side canopy airbag will deploy in advance of any impact to protect the passengers. Ford has 82 active patents on this system as well as 197 pending patents.
Despite these patents, you may see other vehicles that utilize similar systems. This is because Ford, and other manufacturers tend to share these types of safety innovations.
The Lincoln Navigator is the original Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle. Prior to the Navigator, Large SUVs were mostly utility vehicles that were thinly disguised trucks with extra seating in place of the cargo area. When the Navigator was introduced as a 1998 model in the Lincoln lineup, it was an immediate hit and had other manufacturers scrambling to join the party. The Cadillac Escalade was born about a year later followed by a series of offerings from Japan and Europe.
Both the Navigator and Cadillac Escalade are large, in-your-face luxury SUVs that cater to similar buyers. Both offer first class luxury and gobs of room for people and their stuff. They offer glitzy styling with lots of chrome detailing. There is nothing conservative about these vehicles. They're all about flaunting what you have.
If this type of vehicle is for you, and you want powerful acceleration and flat cornering, the Cadillac Escalade is your ticket. But, if you want versatility, usable cargo space (which is the reason most people buy an SUV in the first place) and supreme comfort, then put on your sunglasses and meet the Lincoln Navigator for 2007.